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ADL Accused of Using US Terror Laws Against Pro-Palestinian Activists
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By News
Published 2 months ago on
February 26, 2024

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ADL and Brandeis Center accused of undermining support for Palestinians.

ACLU calls on higher education leaders to protect student free speech rights.

Report suggests U.S. terror laws have anti-Palestinian bias.


The Anti-Defamation League and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law have been accused of using U.S. terror laws to undermine support for Palestinians in the United States.

The two groups recently urged nearly 200 university and college administrators to investigate their students for possibly violating federal law by promoting pro-Hamas, anti-Israel messaging.

The ADL and the Brandeis Center suggested that members of Students for Justice in Palestine may have been violating a law that prohibits people from providing “material support” to U.S.-designated terror groups.

ACLU’s Response

In opposition, the American Civil Liberties Union called on leaders in higher education to “reject baseless calls to investigate or punish student groups for exercising their free speech rights.” The federal material support law has been the most frequently cited law in prosecutions throughout the U.S-led war on terror.

Report on U.S. Terror Laws

A new report reveals that long before 9/11, U.S. terror laws were shaped by a distinctly anti-Palestinian agenda and often promoted by pro-Israel organizations.

“In the history of U.S. terrorism law, Palestine is the elephant in the room,” said Darryl Li, an anthropologist and legal scholar at the University of Chicago and author of the report.

ADL’s Response

Todd Gutnick, a spokesperson for the ADL, disputed the characterization as “false and a complete distortion of our position.” He stated that the group’s advocacy of antiterrorism legislation was aimed at different organizations it was monitoring at the time, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and Hamas.

Criticism of ADL’s Stance

Emma Saltzberg, the U.S. strategic campaigns director for Diaspora Alliance, criticized the ADL’s call for terrorism investigations as contrary to its stated mission as a civil rights group. She said, “Advocating this kind of investigation, criminalization against activists for Palestinian rights, is laying the groundwork for future repressive state activity.”

Read more at The Intercept.

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