Texas: Protesters disrupt speech by ADL president on the TCU campus
Ft. Worth, TX – On the Texas Christian University campus in Fort Worth, December 4, a presentation by Anti-Defamation League (ADL) national director and CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt was disrupted by 20 activists who called out the ADL’s history of political repression, stalking activists and complicity in police violence. One organizer was dragged to the ground by an officer.
The crowd attending the presentation skewed older and white. Before to the disruption, as a protest organizer took her seat, she said she had a bizarre encounter with an older white woman. “The lady said, ‘I guess they just let anyone in here,’ while looking directly at me,” said the organizer, who understood it to be a reference to fact that she’s Black.
During his presentation, Greenblatt defined ant-Zionism as antisemitism, a view that news outlet Jewish Currents reports is controversial even among ADL staff.
Organizers, including from Free Palestine Tarrant, Palestinian Youth Movement, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Progressive Student Union at University of Texas at Arlington, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation began their disruption a half hour into Greenblatt’s presentation. As the group pulled out keffiyehs and signs in support of Palestine, one organizer read a statement condemning the ADL’s policies of stalking organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voices for Peace, sending police to train in Israel, smearing anti Zionists as antisemitic, and illegally obtaining private information from police in service of spying on activists. Others held up signs demanding Texas Christian University drop the ADL.
The crowd reacted violently by shoving and slapping the demonstrators, and a plainclothes police officer yanked Jo Hargis of Freedom Road Socialist Organization onto the ground as they read the statement condemning the ADL. “He gave no warning to disperse and failed to identify himself as an officer before he just started trying to yank my phone out of my hand, and then he jerked me onto the ground,” said Hargis after the fact. “While the police were holding my arms marching me out, an audience member reared his fist back, threatening to punch me in the face.”
As the protesters were marched out of the building by police, they chanted “Every time Greenblatt lies, another kid in Gaza dies!” and “ADL you can’t hide! We charge you with genocide!”
Despite the intense police response, there were o arrests or citations.