Did the ADL promote repressive policing practices in Orange County?

On September 12, a group of progressive activists in Orange County hosted a film screening of the PBS Documenter “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville” followed by a discussion on the rise of hate groups in the county.  The event originally listed the ADL (Anti Defamation League) as a co-sponsor, which was then changed to appear as though an ADL representative was simply one of 9 panelists rather than a sponsor.

It is time for resisters and progressives to realize that the ADL is not a progressive group to partner with at events that address equality and racial justice issues because of its long history of spying on American citizens and civil rights organizations.

A 1993 Los Angeles Times article revealed details of over 40 years of spying on groups such as NAACP, ACLU, Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC), the AIDS activist group ACT UP and many more.

To the outside world, Roy Bullock was a small-time art dealer who operated from his house in the Castro District. In reality, he was an undercover spy who picked through garbage and amassed secret files for the Anti-Defamation League for nearly 40 years.

His code name at the prominent Jewish organization was Cal, and he was so successful at infiltrating political groups that he was once chosen to head an Arab-American delegation that visited Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) in her Washington, D.C., office.

For a time, Cal tapped into the phone message system of the White Aryan Resistance to learn of hate crimes. From police sources, he obtained privileged, personal information on at least 1,394 people. And he met surreptitiously with agents of the South African government to trade his knowledge for crisp, new $100 bills.

These are among the secrets that Bullock and David Gurvitz, a former Los Angeles-based operative, divulged in extensive interviews with police and the FBI in a growing scandal over the nationwide intelligence network operated by the Anti-Defamation League.

Read the entire article here.

However, the ADL’s betrayal of our communities isn’t a thing of the past. The organization is heavily involved in a police exchange program championed by the Trump and the Netanyahu government, that according to deadlyexchange.org:

bring together police, ICE, border patrol, and FBI from the US with soldiers, police, border agents, etc from Israel. In these programs, “worst practices” are shared to promote and extend discriminatory and repressive policing practices that already exist in both countries, including extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on human rights defenders.

“These exchanges are organized by a range of governmental and non-governmental actors, but we were disturbed to learn that many are initiated by Jewish organizations, including the neo-conservative Jewish Institute on National Security of America (JINSA), Jewish Federations, the Anti-Defamation League, and even Birthright.

Thousands of the highest ranking police officials and law enforcement executives across the country have participated in the exchange programs, including local police departments right here in Orange County.

According to research done by RAIA (Researching the American Israeli Alliance), a research initiative dedicated to exposing the connections between American and Israeli state violence, the exchange program includes the cities of Garden Grove and Irvine police departments, and the OC Sheriff Department.


Screen shot of a 2016 Anti-Defamation League promotional video for the National Counter-Terrorism Seminar in Israel, a program the group described: “Each year, ADL takes a select group of the most senior United States law enforcement to Israel to learn how their counterparts fight terror.”  [via Mondoweiss]

Sheriff’s Department of Orange County 

The Sheriff’s Department of Orange County, California, is among the departments that have sent delegates to Israel. Brad Virgoe served as Captain and led the Training Division of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department until 2016. Captain Virgoe attended a training in Israel with the ADL. As of 2018, he is the Criminal Justice Academies Director at Santa Ana College.

In 2014, Captain Virgoe gave a presentation on the topic of “Cyber Threats” at a US-Israeli executive leadership program titled Merage Institute’s Business Leadership Training Program, where he was joined by speakers from the Israel National Police cybercrime unit, as well as high-ranking officials of the Israeli military and government.

Garden Grove Police Department

The Police Department of Garden Grove, California, is among the departments that have sent delegates to Israel. Joe Polisar served as Chief of Garden Grove Police Department between 1998 and 2010. Chief Polisar attended a training in Israel with JINSA as a delegate of the LEEP program. Joe Polisar’s training also includes serving as Chief of Albuquerque Police Department between 1977 and 1997, and as the President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Polisar served as a commissioner for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) from 2005 to 2011. CALEA is the “gold standard” accrediting body for police agencies, training academies, communications centers and campus public safety agencies across North America, and establishes the standards that they must meet for accreditation. He now sits on JINSA’s Board of Advisors.

Irvine Police Department 

The Police Department of Irvine, California, is among the departments that have sent delegates to Israel. Michael Berkow served as Chief of Irvine Police Department between 2001 and 2003. Chief Berkow, representing the Police Executive Research Forum, attended a training in Israel with JINSA as a delegate of the first annual LEEP program. His training includes serving as Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department since 2003. His training also includes serving as the Chief of Coachella Police Department and South Pasadena Police Department in California, as well as Chief of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department in Georgia. He also heads the Coast Guard Investigative Service. Chief Berkow now sits on the Board of Advisors of JINSA.

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