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Press Release

ADL Denounces Arson Attack Against African Migrants in Jerusalem; Calls for Efforts to Halt the Ongoing Violence

New York, NY, June 4, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today strongly denounced an arson attack on a Jerusalem apartment housing Eritrean migrants, called for efforts to halt the ongoing violence against migrants in Israel and welcomed a statement by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemning the violence.

According to reports, ten Eritrean migrants were inside their Jerusalem apartment when a fire was deliberately set near the front door on June 4 in the latest in a series of assaults directed against African migrants. The victims were subsequently rescued by the Jerusalem fire department but four individuals suffered burn and smoke inhalation injuries. Graffiti reading “leave the neighborhood” was found on a nearby wall.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We strongly denounce the arson attack on a Jerusalem apartment housing Eritreans, the latest in a series of assaults against the African migrant population. The recent spate of vicious attacks and racist rhetoric targeting African migrants is Israel is unacceptable.

This incident follows an attack where an Israeli Ethiopian man, wrongly believed to be an African migrant, was violently assaulted by anti-migrant protesters in Tel-Aviv. The ongoing violence, including a number of attacks that have occurred during recent anti-migrant rallies, is evidence of a disturbing escalation of extremism and hatred directed against the migrant community.

We welcome the strong condemnation issued by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and restate our concern about the inflammatory nature of the public dialogue on this issue, particularly the racially-charged anti-migrant vitriol emanating from some individuals in the political field.

It is critically important for Israel to adopt policies to appropriately deal with the issue of illegal immigration. At the same time, it is imperative for Israeli law enforcement to continue their efforts to apprehend those responsible for these attacks, protect the safety and well-being of African migrants and work to protect the Israeli public from crimes committed by some in the migrant community.

ADL has expressed serious concerns about the growing tensions in Israel over the issue of African migrants, and reported violence against and by the migrants in recent weeks.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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