The ADL's Critical Race Theory Curricula Is No Accident | Opinion

The last thing that you'd expect from a group whose historic mission is to monitor and fight anti-Semitism would be to discover that the group is helping to spread woke ideological indoctrination that grants a permission slip for Jew-hatred.

Yet that is exactly what the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has been caught doing in a Fox News Digital exposé that uncovered the fact that the curricula the group gives to schools as part of its widely popular anti-hate programs includes critical race theory (CRT) teachings about "white privilege," the need to address the problems of "whiteness," praise for the anti-Semitic Women's March group and support for the idea of contemporary Americans paying reparations to those whose ancestors were slaves. The curricula also buttresses myths about the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that helped give birth to the noxious Black Lives Matter movement.

This is shocking not merely because it is one more piece of evidence that the liberal gaslighting that CRT in the schools is a figment of the conservative imagination is an obvious lie. It's also important because due to its adherence to intersectional myths about Israelis being "white" oppressors of the "brown" Palestinians who want to destroy the one Jewish state on the planet and American Jews possessing "white privilege," CRT legitimizes anti-Semitism—something the ADL purports to oppose.

Faced with proof that the materials that are distributed in school districts around the nation as part of its anti-hate programs are immersed in these woke leftist ideas that legitimate racialist attitudes linked to Jew-hatred, the ADL was forced to concede that the Fox report was accurate. A statement from the group said, "There is content among our curricular materials that is misaligned with ADL's values and strategy."

Yet the ADL still insisted, "We do not teach Critical Race Theory. Period." Of course, a look at these curricula shows that is exactly what they are doing. But the non-apology was an attempt to pretend that it was all attributable to a simple misunderstanding.

Founded in 1913 to address the threat from anti-Semitism in the wake of the lynching of Leo Frank, an Atlanta Jew who was wrongly accused of the murder of a non-Jewish girl, the ADL was long considered the authoritative voice on hate and an important resource for both Jews and non-Jews.

CEO and National Director of Anti-Defamation League
CEO and National Director of Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt delivers remarks at the National Urban League Fights For You Rally during National Urban League Conference 2022 - Day 1 at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on July 20, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Brian Stukes/Getty Images

But in order to believe that what Fox discovered was merely a one-off blunder, you'd have to ignore what's been happening to the ADL in the seven years since former Clinton and Obama White House staffer Jonathan Greenblatt took over as its CEO, replacing long-time leader Abe Foxman. Greenblatt shifted the ADL from a non-partisan Jewish defense organization to being just another left-wing activist group whose priority is helping the Democratic Party. Rather than being "misaligned" with the ADL's mission, endorsements of CRT teachings are very much aligned with the ADL's decision to latch on to radical ideas about race in order to remain in touch with vogue Democratic sentiment.

There was the ADL's endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement, which had itself endorsed anti-Semitic attacks on the state of Israel, and its misguided "anti-racist" agenda. The ADL even embraced veteran race-baiter Al Sharpton, who helped foment the 1991 Crown Heights pogrom against Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. It defended two anti-Semitic members of Congress—Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)—against criticism from former President Donald Trump largely on the basis that they were "women of color." Then there was the fact that the ADL's website had a definition of racism that invoked CRT teachings about privilege.

The ADL's dubious complicity in Internet censorship with Big Tech allies like Google and PayPal, ostensibly to educate against hatred, also wound up promoting extremism rather than stopping it.

And that's on top of the fact that Greenblatt has allowed the ADL to become entrenched in partisan politics by involving it in issues such as the battle to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Even worse is the ADL's ongoing campaign to falsely smear former President Donald Trump as the main reason for the recent uptick in anti-Semitism or for attacks on Jews, even though he was the greatest friend Israel ever had in the White House, took unprecedented action against anti-Semitism on college campuses, and has closer ties—both in terms of family and close associates—to the Jewish community than any president has ever had.

All this speaks to a pattern of behavior that demonstrates the ADL is mired in leftist ideology and has fully bought into the Black Lives Matter agenda of "equity," as opposed to genuine equality. By emphasizing ideas about race and privilege even though doing so gives a boost to the lies about Israel being an "apartheid state," this behavior undermines the interests and security of the very people the ADL was founded to stand up for.

That's a scandal that illustrates how a once-vital group has betrayed its mission. But it's also an illustration of how woke ideas like CRT can act as a toxic influence and subvert institutions, including the federal government itself, to the point where the institutions become complicit in racism rather than a bulwark against it.

This saga is more proof that rather than being able to dismiss the battle against CRT as a tangential conservative-populist issue, any candidate who wants to be taken seriously as a defender of basic American values must prioritize the struggle to root out wokeism from our schools and the rest of society.

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of, a senior contributor to The Federalist and a columnist for the New York Post. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.