HomeCommunity IssuesProtesters demand TAAF drop ADL's Greenblatt from board

Protesters demand TAAF drop ADL’s Greenblatt from board

By Randall Yip, Executive Editor

Chanting “hey, hey, ho, ho, Jonathan Greenblatt has got to go” and “drop the ADL,” some 50 Asian American protesters rallied peacefully Thursday outside a gala in New York City for The Asian American Foundation.

The group demanded that TAAF remove from its board the outspoken CEO of the Anti-Defamation League who has been accused of demonizing Palestinian supporters as Nazis.

Two NYPD officers kept a close eye on the rally. Metal barricades surrounded the roped area that led to the benefit at The Glasshouse. Guests passed through private security personnel checking all entrants with wand metal detectors.

The invite-only event featured appearances by Academy Award winner Michelle Yeoh and Rep Andy Kim (D-NJ) who is running for U.S. Senate.

The gala coincided with TAAF’s third annual summit where grantees and others convene to discuss initiatives to advance narrative change, promote the implementation of Asian American Studies in schools and fight anti-Asian hate. (Full disclosure: The non-profit publisher of AsAmNews, Asian American Media Inc, received $15,000 from TAAF for scholarships to support journalism students and to enhance the training of early career journalists).

As one casual observer commented to AsAmNews, this year’s summit definitely had a different feel to it with the controversy about Greenblatt hanging over it. The same tight security greeted attendees at the summit as well.

At least a handful of grantees have returned or refused money from TAAF over disagreements about Greenblatt while others boycotted the gala.

“If we’re doing this work about fighting racism, for Asians, we have to stand up for Western Asians-for Palestinians,” said Sarinya Srisakul of Asians 4 Palestine NYC to AsAmNews. “We have to stand up against this genocide.”

Srisakul who organized the rally along with 18 Million Rising referenced the deaths of 35,000 Palestinians including 14,000 children during Israel’s offensive on Gaza.

TAAF did not directly answer questions from AsAmNews about whether it would consider removing Greenblatt or how it benefitted from his involvement, but it did email a statement from its CEO Norman Chen.

“Our mission is to serve the AAPI community in its pursuit of belonging and prosperity. The community we serve is vast and multifaceted and we are engaging in a productive dialogue about concerns that have been raised to TAAF and our leadership. We are committed to continuing to engage in a productive dialogue with our partners while remaining true to the values that have driven our organization since its founding.”

TAAF said it held a listening session earlier this week with grantees and stakeholders. Since its inception, it says it has received $1.8 billion in donations and pledges to support the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Those pledges do not go through TAAF, but are directed by the corporations, foundations and other donors

Protest organizers recognized the good work TAAF has done but says it must still be held accountable.

“If we’re not doing this, who else will,” asked Srisakul. “Like if the Asian community isn’t calling out our own community, who else is doing that? We can’t abolish any of our core beliefs just because it’s a large organization with a lot of money.”

(An earlier version of this story incorrectly described TAAF’s gala as a ticketed event)

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


  1. Jonathan Greenblatt has to go. He has no business at TAAF or ADL. If either organization is true to their cause of supporting API communities and to stop defamation and hate speech, then they cannot have a leader who defames and attacks people with dangerous hate-filled rhetoric.

    He is a typical extremist. He labels calls to stop a genocide and apartheid as hate speech. He tries to stir political controversy with the label “far left”. He claims people who want a cease fire are anti-Semitic. Jonathan Greenblatt does not represent Asians or Pacific Islanders. He needs to be immediately removed from both organizations.


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