Tomorrow – October 8, 2015 – marks the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Leon Klinghoffer.
Leon Klinghoffer was murdered on October 8, 1985 when terrorists associated with the Palestinian Liberation Front hijacked the cruise ship the Achille Lauro on which he was traveling in celebration of his 36th wedding anniversary. Klinghoffer, who was wheelchair bound, was shot in the head by terrorists, who then threw him overboard.
The terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro singled out the Jewish passengers on the ship. Thirty years later, terrorism remains inextricably bound with anti-Semitism. ADL recently released a new report on the link between terrorism and anti-Semitism titled Anti-Semitism: A Pillar of Islamic Extremist Ideology.
The murder of Leon Klinghoffer brought the deadly reality of terrorism home to Jews and Americans. It was not only a tragedy, but also a wake-up call.
The attack was personally devastating to the family of Leon Klinghoffer but, to their lasting credit, his daughters Lisa and Ilsa were determined to ensure that their father did not die in vain. Within months of the attack, they joined with the ADL to found the Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer Memorial Foundation of the Anti-Defamation League, which serves to educate about terrorism and its victims to this day.
ADL will be participating in a panel commemorating the anniversary of the Achille Lauro tragedy on October 8 at 8:30 AM. The panel, Combating Terrorism through American Law: On the Occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Murder of Leon Klinghoffer, is presented by the Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society.