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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘ADL’

Abe Foxman to Retire Next Year as ADL’s National Director

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

On Monday, Feb. 10, the Anti-Defatmation League announced that its long-time national director Abraham H. Foxman will step down from his position on July 20, 2015.

“For almost five decades, ADL offered me the perfect vehicle to live a life of purpose both in standing up on behalf of the Jewish people to ensure that what happened during World War II would never happen again and in fighting bigotry and all forms of oppression,” Foxman said.

“My years at ADL, particularly the 27 spent as National Director, could not have been more rewarding. ADL continued its growth as a highly respected and influential organization both here in the United States and across the globe.  We have never lost sight of the fact that we are an organization whose first priority is to fight anti-Semitism and protect the Jewish people. I’m proud of all that we have accomplished.”

Foxman, a Holocaust survivor who was hidden as a child during the war, and who later immigrated to America with his parents, began his career with the ADL in 1965 after graduating from the City College of the City University of New York and New York University School of Law.

In 1987, Foxman was tapped as the ADL’s National Director. During his tenure, the ADL grew to include 30 regional offices in the U.S. as well as an office in Israel. The League celebrated its centennial year in 2013.

Foxman announced his retirement to members of the League’s National Executive Committee during its annual meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, and shortly thereafter in a letter to members of ADL’s National Commission.

The ADL has instituted a Succession Committee which will be conducting an extensive nationwide executive search for Foxman’s successor.

The ADL is one of the biggest and most powerful American Jewish organizations.  Its early mandate was fighting discrimination against Jews, but in later years it weighed in on matters pertaining to Israel, and also to other forms of perceived discrimination, including what it calls “Islamophobia.”

Charles Jacobs, another long-time leader of the American Jewish community, expressed his disappointment at the direction in which the ADL, under Foxman, traveled in recent years.

“When Abe Foxman began his career at the ADL, the greatest threats to the Jewish people were neo-Nazis and the unreconstructed Christian anti-Semites. But in more recent years, as Foxman himself would sometimes tell reporters, the greatest threat to the Jewish people is now Islamic anti-Semitism.  This, along with leftist anti-Zionism constitute ‘the new anti-Semitism.’  Tragically, Foxman failed to pivot to meet those threats both in terms of his personal energy as well as the vast resources of his organization,” Jacobs told The Jewish Press by telephone on Monday evening.

“When we started the Boston branch of CAMERA [the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America], we wanted the ADL to take the lead against anti-Israel bias in the media. He declined. Instead, Foxman led the ADL towards a politically correct universalism, using Jewish resources to address general liberal concerns, and waging campaigns against general human nastiness, like bullying, and misleading Jews about the situation we actually are in.

“Rather than leading the largest Jewish defense agency against the most daunting of our adversaries, Foxman frittered on the sidelines despite knowing exactly who and where the dangers lie,” Jacobs added.  “I hope the next national director does a better job,” he concluded.

Effective July 20, 2015, Foxman will become ADL Director Emeritus. He will serve on both the ADL National Commission and the ADL National Executive Committee in addition to serving in a part-time consultancy.

ADL Honors George W. Bush

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

The Anti-Defamation League awarded its highest honor to former President George W. Bush.

The ADL presented its America’s Democratic Legacy Award to the former president during a Thursday night gala dinner that opened the its national executive committee meeting in Palm Beach, Fla.

“We will never forget, Mr. President, how the vision you laid out of ‘two states, living side by side, in peace and security’ still informs our consciousness and our parlance today,” said the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman. “You solidified an unbreakable affinity between two democracies challenged by extremists and terrorists — and an ironclad shared understanding — that security is one of the most important foundations for peace.”

Foxman also hailed Bush’s support for immigration reform and his leadership after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“When you were called on to respond to unspeakable terror, hate and violence, you refused to let America give into stereotypes,” Foxman said. “You answered calls for anti-Muslim revenge with calls for respect and understanding.”

Bush spoke at the dinner, which was held at The Breakers resort and was reportedly closed to the press.

Previous recipients of the award, which the ADL has been giving out for more than half a century, have included American presidents as well as other government, business, literary and religious figures.

MK Who Excluded Reform Jews from Judaism Was ‘Misunderstood’

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Reform Jews really are not another religion after all, says Likuid-Beiteinu Knesset Member David Rotem, who claimed on Thursday that his reported remark to the contrary was “misunderstood.

There is no video available to see and hear what MK Rotem, an Orthodox Jew, really said at the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee that he heads.

He was quoted on Wednesday as having stated, ““The Reform movement is not Jewish … they are another religion,” during a discussion on a bill concerning adoption.

Such comments are par for the course in Israel, where the remark was duly noted as another moment of entertainment for the Israel public between soccer games. The Reform Movement in Israel, of course, was furious, but most secular Israelis have too much respect for Jewish tradition than to consider the Reform idea anything more than a curiosity, if not one of those strange concoctions that could succeed only in the United States and , lest we forget, pre-Nazi Germany.

“I have never said belonging to the Reform Movement makes anyone less Jewish,” Rotem wrote on Facebook Thursday. “While as an Orthodox Jew, I have theological differences with the Reform Movement’s perspective, I maintain the greatest respect for all Jews, regardless of their denomination and background. I apologize for any misunderstanding and all offense generated by the content of my comments yesterday.”

His quick apology was smart, much smarter than his faux pas. Many if not most  Reform Jews indeed are Jews by any definition of the term. But a disturbing number of Reform Jews are far from Jewish under Jewish law, and some of them are even “rabbis.”

The whole question of whether a Reform Jew, or any other person, is  a Jew or not brings into focus the entire problem with the reform Movement, parts of whose theology often appear to be not a stream of Judaism but a stream apart from Judaism.

Like the Biblical Korach, it has decided that their leaders whom they call rabbis can decide just as well as Orthodox Jews who is a Jew and what is Jewish law. It is somewhat like a natural health therapist calling himself a doctor. Why study medicine for six years, and why study Torah for many more years,” when you can take a shortcut through McDonald’s, eat a cheeseburger on the way to Yom Kippur prayers, and call the congregants Jewish because they like being called that?

Regardless of the theological problems with Reform Judaism, Rotem made a big mistake by saying that fellow Jews belong to another religion just because they are Reform.

“I hope that this clarification can generate the necessary debate on how to further unify the Jewish People, both in Israel and the Diaspora, around our shared vital interests and concerns, rather than limiting it to the differences that exist among us,” Rotem added on Facebook.

Israeli politicians like Rotem who are Israeli from top to bottom have no knowledge of the Diaspora. They don’t realize that Jews outside the country, especially in the United States, may be armchair Zionists  if not armchair Jews, but that doesn’t mean they should be shunned as “non-Jews.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called Rotem’s comments, although he later said they were misunderstood, “inappropriate, offensive and unjustified.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, wrote MK Rotem, “We are deeply disturbed by reports of comments attributed to you about the Reform movement ‘not being Jewish.’ Such views are inappropriate, offensive and unjustified. The suggestion that Jews throughout the world who identify with the Reform movement are somehow not a part of the Jewish people is an unacceptable characterization of a proud, highly engaged and committed group of Jews.

“Among many U.S. non-Orthodox Jews, rejectionist rhetoric of this kind fosters divisiveness and feelings of alienation towards elements of Israeli society. As someone who has long been engaged in the issue of Jewish identify, we are surprised and saddened that you expressed these views. For the sake of Jewish unity and in the spirit of the pluralistic ideals of our beloved Israel, we call on you to retract your comments and issue a quick and unequivocal apology for your statements.”

Rotem has apologized, and whether he actually said what was reported makes no difference. The damage was done on two fronts.

He wrongly wrote tens of thousands of Jews out of the pale and he also missed an opportunity to characterize the Reform Movement as one whose roots in the United States are strongly pro-American and blatantly anti-Zionist and which claims an increasingly larger following by redefining the term “Jew.”

ADL Raps Kerry for Boycott Threat

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has sent an open letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry criticizing him for his threat that Israel faces boycotts if the American-backed peace talks with the Palestinian Authority do not succeed.

ADL’s director Abraham H. Foxman also sharply rapped Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas for his “unwillingness to accept Israel’s legitimacy and permanence as a Jewish state.”

Foxman’s open criticism of Kerry may be serve as a warning to the Obama that is has gone too far in pushing its agenda for a peace agreement at all costs to Israel. The ADL previously has stood up for Israel on such issues as dividing Jerusalem, but it is considered a centrist or even center-left group, far from the camp of the AIPAC lobby.

“In speaking about the price Israel will pay if the peace talks break down and Israel is blamed, you may have thought you were merely describing reality. But as the key player in the process, the impact of your comments was to create a reality of its own,” Foxman wrote.

“Describing the potential for expanded boycotts of Israel makes it more, not less, likely that the talks will not succeed; makes it more, not less, likely that Israel will be blamed if the talks fail; and more, not less, likely that boycotts will ensue….

“What is particularly troubling about your comments is the absence of similar tough talk about the consequences for Palestinians should the talks fail. We make this comment not in search of some theoretical balance. Rather, its absence suggests a historical amnesia about why there has been no peace and no solution all these years. Israel always must be willing to compromise for peace and at different times it is not unreasonable to ask Israel to do more”

Foxman told Kerry that the real core issue “remains Palestinian unwillingness to accept Israel’s legitimacy and permanence as a Jewish state. That is why the Palestinians rejected the 1947 partition, that is why they rejected recognizing Israel after the 1967 war, and that is why Israeli offers at Camp David in 2000 and Annapolis in 2008 were rejected or allowed to go unanswered.”

ADL Accepts Apology from Investor for Kristallnacht Remarks

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

The Anti-Defamation League has accepted the “heartfelt apology” from venture capitalist Thomas Perkins, who likened criticism of the wealthy to Kristallnacht.

“We believe that Mr. Perkins now realizes why his Holocaust comparison was so offensive,” the ADL said in a statement after a long conversation Monday between Perkins and the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman.

“He deeply regrets his words, which he made in the ‘heat of the moment,’ and has assured us that he will make efforts to publicly apologize to all those he offended,” the statement said. “We accept his apology, and now consider the matter closed.”

Perkins, who is based on San Francisco, on Friday wrote a letter published in The Wall Street Journal, drawing parallels between progressives in that city and the Nazis.

“I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich’,” he wrote. “From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent.”

He ended the letter, saying: “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

In a letter to the Journal written before Perkins had called to apologize, Foxman wrote, “He {Perkins] discredits himself and his argument by leaping to the absurd conclusion that class differences in America are stirring up sentiments similar to the virulent anti-Semitism that led to the deaths of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust. This is historical trivialization of the worst kind imaginable.”

Perkins, 82, a founder of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, also apologized Monday evening in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

“I deeply apologize to you and anyone who has mistaken my reference to Kristallnacht as a sign of overt or latent anti-Semitism. This is not the case,” he said.

But he added that while the letter was “a terrible misjudgment, “I do not regret the message at all. Any time the majority starts to demonize any minority, no matter what it is, it is wrong and dangerous.”

ADL Calls Pollard Case Vendetta against American Jews

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, has charged that the continued refusal of American governments to free Jonathan Pollard for prison is a “vendetta’ against the entire American Jewish community.

HaModia reported that in response to a poll by Tablet magazine of leaders of Jewish organizations, Foxman stated, “The fact that Pollard shared information with an ally — Israel — was no reason for him not to be punished. But after this long imprisonment, the fact that it was such a close ally who received his information should have influenced a positive response when the subject of parole arose.

“I am not one to equate what Pollard did, to betray his country, to the recent revelations that the United States has been spying on top Israeli leaders. Here too, however, these revelations add further context to the absurdity of the ongoing vendetta against this one man.

“Yes, I use that word because that’s what it seems like at this point. If it were only a vendetta against one individual it would be bad enough. But it has now become one against the American Jewish community.

“In effect, the continuing imprisonment of this person long after he should have been pardoned on humanitarian grounds can only be read as an effort to intimidate American Jews. And, it is an intimidation that can only be based on an anti-Semitic stereotype about the Jewish community, one that we have seen confirmed in our public opinion polls over the years, the belief that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, the United States….

“Pollard stays in prison as a message to American Jews: don’t even think about doing what he did.”

Tablet wrote in an editorial that “Jonathan Pollard’s continued imprisonment sends a chilling message to American Jews that they are all potential traitors to their country, evincing a distinct odor of political anti-Semitism.”

Polish Prosecutors Clear Auschwitz Soccer Chanters

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Several Jewish organizations have criticized a Polish prosecutor’s decision not to try soccer fans who chanted about Jews and Auschwitz.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office of Poznan in central Poland said last week that no charges would be brought against the fans because they did not mean to offend Jews when they chanted the slogans, according to the Glos Wielkopolski daily.

The spokesperson, Magdalena Mazur-Prus, was referring to chants at a match in September between the Lech Poznań team and Widzew, a club from the city of Lodz whose population was one-third Jewish before the Holocaust.

The Poznan fans shouted to the Lodz fans: “You belong in Auschwitz,” “ride on, Jews,” and “into the ovens,” according to the daily. It also reported the Poznan fans shouted: “Go to the gas, RTS,” an acronym which refers to the team from Lodz.

But the Poznan prosecutor’s office decided to drop charges because the chants were directed at fans, not Jews, and therefore were not intended as incitement to racial hatred, according to Mazur-Prus. “Of course, such cries are reprehensible and unacceptable, but not every wrongful conduct is a crime,” she said.

In a statement Tuesday, the president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor said that he was appalled by the decision.

“Unfortunately, extreme anti-Semitic chants like those in Poznan are regularly heard in many European stadiums, including in England and Holland, and the reaction of the authorities is minimal,” Kantor said, adding that this case and others “demonstrate that anti-Semitism has become the last acceptable prejudice in football.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, urged the Polish government to intervene and overturn the municipal prosecutor’s decision.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/polish-prosecutors-clear-auschwitz-soccer-chanters/2014/01/15/

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