Written by Stuart H. Hurlbert
NOTE: This letter with links to major archives of information on the Anti-Defamation League and its programs was sent to the Coronado Unified School District on July 22, 2021. It is published again here verbatim to provide the entire Coronado community and indeed that of San Diego County with a large common information base for future discussions and decisions.
Dear Members of the Coronado Unified School District Governing Board, School Principals & Others:
As a decades-long activist in matters of civil rights and racial discrimination, I have been aware of the gradual transformation of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) from being a civil rights organization strongly focused on antisemitism, the defense of Israel and other issues of specific importance to the Jewish community, to being an organization now more focused on pushing some agendas of the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party. Two events this Spring prompted me to do a deeper dive on ADL. The first was my own university’s (San Diego State) developing a formal collaboration with ADL to help deal with what the SDSU administration paints as rampant antisemitism at SDSU. A longer story for another day.
The second event was, oddly enough, a basketball game with which you are all too familiar. One after which a chain of decisions by the Governing Board and then the California Interscholastic Federation denied the Coronado High basketball team a championship title they had fairly won. Investigating that for the purpose of putting up online comments in support of the team, I came across the video of the May 20, 2021, CUSD board meeting. There I learned of how CUSD had teamed up with ADL and has been pushing the No Place for Hate (NPFH) program on all Coronado students, to the consternation of some board members and many parents. See agenda item 6.3 in the video. (https://coronadousdca.swagit.com/play/05212021-595). I also attended a July 7 rally in Coronado in support of the basketball team where I met many Coronadans concerned also about the NPFH program. I was honored to meet there one of your board members, Stacy Keszei, who had early tried in the Coronado Times to be a voice for reason and against emotion and misinformation on the basketball drama.
My concern caused me to spend several weeks putting together a compilation of information on ADL and its NPFH Program. Californians for Equal Rights has graciously now put this up on its website. It includes links to and excerpts from 59 articles on ADL, and a short summary of problematic aspects of NPFH’s Coordinator Handbook & Resource Guide for 2020-2021. These come to 18-pages, single-spaced, in the pdf accompanying the html version. See:
Anti-Defamation League: A Compilation of Information on Its Political Nature
Stuart H. Hurlbert, San Diego State University, July 20, 2021
For any objective reader, three major conclusions may seem warranted after close perusal of these materials:
— First, ADL, like its CEO, is very ideologically narrow and hyper-partisan and promotes some of the worst ideas of the radical left.
— Second, the NPFH program on the surface has a very nice veneer to its introductory materials that talk about “kindness” and “bullying;” but if you follow link after link down into the abyss, you will find an abundance of the same contentious, ideological, partisan ideas, prescriptions and misinformation that ADL promotes more openly outside its programs for K-12 students.
— Third, it is a betrayal of its fiduciary duty for any administrative or governing entity of a public institution to partner in any way with partisan organizations like ADL or to advocate for imposition of the political preferences and practices of such organizations on public agencies and institutions or, worst malfeasance of all, on students.
That said, persons who volunteer to serve on such governing entities, usually with little compensation, are the ‘salt of the earth.’ They come on as idealists and then get blind-sided by: insufficient staff support to research issues in depth; the bias, misinformation and censorship pervading the legacy press; aggressive, unrelenting pressure from organizations on the far left; ad hominem attacks on themselves; and cowardice of those from the political center who should be speaking out publicly when board members take courageous stands.
There are, of course, thousands of schools and school systems where political content similar to that of ADL’s NPFH program is taught but with differing terminology. Critical Race Theory sensu lato has become sort of a generic label for these. We earlier put up on the California for Equal Rights website a bibliography of 500+ articles (online), videos and books, chronologically arranged, from a wide diversity of authors and sources. The primary criterion for including items was that they, directly or indirectly, supported the letter and spirit of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the California Constitution. It may take you a few days to get through this bibliography, even without reading the books, but it will be worth it.
The Deceptions of “Systemic Racism,” “Antiracism,” and “Critical Race Theory”
A compilation of online resources on the ongoing unpleasant dumbing down and racialization of society
Stuart H. Hurlbert, Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, June 28, 2021
I hope the CUSD Governing Board will study all these materials, see the writing on the wall, hear the horses thundering down the draw, and understand what it should do. Operating on the highest principle, the Board should divorce ADL and send the teachers back to the drawing board without the crutch of any outside political consultants or organizations.
With best regards,
Stuart H. Hurlbert
Hurlbert is professor of biology emeritus at San Diego State University.