After protests by human rights activists, the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, will no longer be part of the anti-racial bias training that Starbucks decided to implement across all its stories after two Black men were arrested at one of the company’s stores in the United States.
In a press release late last week Starbucks issued a statement identifying three African American racial justice leaders from the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Demos, those who would lead the anti-racism program training.
The company had initially said ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt would be one of the four people who would lead the program, promoting progressive and pro-Palestinian groups to condemn the move.
Following the announcement by Starbucks, Jewish Voice for Peace started a petition calling for dropping ADL from program, garnering more than 10,000 signatures.
“JVP also welcomes the clear decision by Starbucks to remove the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) from leadership in this initiative, and to seek guidance from organizations who serve directly impacted communities, including Muslims, LGBTQ people, Latinx communities and immigrants, who are under threat in our country,” the group said in a press release Wednesday reacting to Starbucks latest decision.
Rebecca Vilkomerson, the head of the Jewish Voice for Peace, added that “the demotion of the ADL from a leadership role is a clear reflection of the recognition by a wide variety of social justice organizations and individuals that the ADL’s status as a civil rights organization is compromised given its history and practices of anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Black racism.”
The ADL has been criticized by Black activists in the aftermath of the killing of Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri when the organization urged “calm” among demonstrators, stating, “we respect the grand jury's integrity and their commitment to meeting the heavy responsibility thrust upon them.”
The organization also denounced Black U.S. football player Reggie Bush when he shared messages of Palestinian solidarity with the Black community in Ferguson. “Stick to football,” the ADL stated, claiming that there is no connection between racist violence against Black people in the United States and that inflicted by Israeli security forces against Palestinians in their struggle for a homeland.
Also, the ADL has long been accused of taking strong anti-Palestinian positions by treating criticisms of Israeli repression against Palestinians as being anti-Semitic, as well as calling the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, movement as being anti-Jewish.