Foxman Fracas
*ADL Finally Recognizes "discrimination, prejudice and anti-Semitism" in CIA...For a Price

Seth Gitell - The Forward - May 14, 1999

Neal Sher, the lawyer who claims that anti-Semitism at the Central Intelligence Agency victimized his client, 28-year-old Adam Ciralsky, is criticizing the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman.

Mr. Sher is objecting to an arrangement whereby the ADL is providing sensitivity training to the CIA for a fee. Mr. Sher said that the counterintelligence group of the CIA will be among those to receive the training. Members of the group penned memos on Mr. Ciralsky, one of which says: "From my experience with rich Jewish friends from college, I would fully expect ... [his] wealthy daddy to support Israeli political/social causes in some form or other, be it Israeli Bonds purchased through the United Jewish Appeal, or outright financial support to the Likud Party," wrote one agency official.

"These are the people who ruined the career in government of a promising attorney," Mr. Sher said. "They don't need sensitivity training. They need to learn to follow the law. Until [Director of Central Intelligence George] Tenet resolves the Ciralsky case, everything else is window dressing.

Mr. Foxman, in turn, lashed out at Mr. Sher. While acknowledging that the ADL receives funds from the CIA to cover the costs of its sensitivity- training program, Mr. Foxman said the CIA's participation in the project would help change the environment that permitted anti-Semitism to fester. "If one is truly concerned about discrimination and prejudice and anti-Semitism, one should be concerned that it be repaired," Mr. Foxman said. "One way to change it is not [only] to settle one lawyer's case. I find it very interesting that a counselor for the [Justice Department's] Office of Special Investigations who was interested not only in the individual cases, but setting a standard, is not interested in our changing the environment."

Another difference between Mr. Foxman and Mr. Sher is Mr. Foxman's attempt to settle the case. "If he is so concerned about his client, I have offered my services in helping to settle the case," Mr. Foxman said. "The CIA was willing to work with me. One of the things that was necessary was that the attorney release me from the privacy act restrictions."

Mr. Sher acknowledges that he did not provide Mr. Foxman with a privacy waiver. "I don't need anybody to negotiate for my client. Mr. Foxman cannot settle the case for Mr. Ciralsky. If Mr. Tenet wants to settle, he can deal directly with me," Mr. Sher said, adding that the details of the sensitivity-training program confirmed for him the wisdom of his decision not to allow Mr. Foxman to become involved with the specific case. "It's clear he had other interests," Mr. Sher said, continuing to attack Mr. Foxman personally. "The concern is not to get invitations to the White House," Mr. Sher said. "Good friends have got to go to their friends in power and make sure they do the right thing."

Mr. Foxman retorted: "I'll stand on my record s a Jewish leader as to where and when I've gone to the White House and whether or not that has compromised my ability or my record of standing up on Jewish issues."

Asked for his reaction to the fray, the executive director of the World Jewish Congress, Elan Steinberg, said, "I think it's more than the CIA that needs sensitivity training."

The ADL charges a nominal fee for supplies, materials and labor used during its sensitivity training, and it often obtains private donors to enable the group to offer the program to schools for free.


Re FOXMAN FRACAS [Forward, May 14 1999]

For fourteen years, the ADL has consistently rejected the possibility that anti-Semitism could have played a role in influencing the CIA's treatment of Jonathan Pollard. Now however, in the Ciralsky case, the ADL has been forced to grudgingly admit there is indeed a problem with the CIA's attitude towards Jews and Israel. Even now that they admit that there is a "Jewish problem" in the agency, rather than confront the problem head-on and address the role that this problem has played in denying justice to Jonathan Pollard and to others over the years, the most the ADL is willing to do is to sell their "hechsher" (kosher seal of approval) to the CIA by providing "sensitivity-training" to the agency - for a price.

The ADL's closely allying itself with the CIA and attempting to extend its mantle of credibility to a government agency with a long history of discrimination towards its Jewish members and Israel - 6 additional cases are pending against the CIA - calls into question the fitness of the ADL as a Jewish defense agency.