As 2016 draws to a close, the Anti-Defamation League is counting down the major milestones we accomplished this year in the fight against hate.
2016 saw continued efforts to isolate and demonize Israel, here in the U.S. through campaigns by anti-Israel activists on campus and other venues to problematic rhetoric and resolutions being pushed in international fora. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, ADL has been a strong and outspoken advocate for secure Jewish and democratic state, and 2016 was no different.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt was busy on this front in his ongoing efforts to promote a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and counteract efforts to delegitimize Israel.
On a recent trip to Jerusalem, he addressed a Knesset caucus on Israel-US relations where he reiterated the importance of a strong relationship between the two countries:
“The ties that binds Israel and America are like a thick rope tightly woven with the fibers of common values — values of democracy — including the rule of law, freedom of religion, an open press, freedom of expression and the dignity of every member of our societies, regardless of their faith, race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, level of ability or political affiliation.”
Just at the start of the summer, Greenblatt delivered remarks at the United Nations “Ambassadors Against BDS Summit” and stressed the need to expose and combat the extremists and anti-Semites who are behind the “noxious idea” of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and other efforts to delegitimize Israel:
“Denying only Israel the right to exist and to express Jewish sovereignty and self-determination in its historic home, when all other people either are granted that right de jure or at least their rights are acknowledged de facto – is classic anti-Semitism.”
In his closing remarks, Greenblatt made clear to those in attendance at the U.N. summit that ADL will not sit with those who espouse hatred against the Jewish people. “Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism,” he said. “Both are unacceptable.”
ADL continued to speak out and express concern over a myriad of issues surrounding the Jewish state this year:
- ADL condemned new regulations from France mandating that all Israeli products from the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights be labeled as originating in these areas as a move that will only serve to embolden campaigns to delegitimize and isolate Israel.
- After the UNESCO World Heritage Committee passed a resolution detailing a long litany of biased accusations against Israel, ADL charged the body with manufacturing history with its false depiction of Jerusalem and other holy sites.
- ADL welcomed a decision by Israel’s cabinet to establish a permanent and official space at the Western Wall for mixed gender prayer at Judaism’s holiest site. As conceived, the plan would enable non-Orthodox Jews to perform services in their own manner, including egalitarian male-female prayer services, or all women prayer groups with women chanting the prayers and reading from the Torah, and has urged that the plan be implemented expeditiously.
- ADL strongly condemned the passage of a U.N. Human Rights council resolution calling for the creation of a “blacklist of companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
- In Europe, after Germany’s largest party made a clear linkage between the BDS movement and anti-Semitism, ADL hailed the statement as “highly significant.”
- ADL condemned Israel’s “Mikvah” law, saying it misuses state-funded facilities to discriminate against non-Orthodox Jews.
- Nearly four in every five teenagers living in the State of Israel have encountered anti-Semitism on social media and online, the highest level recorded in three years, according to a new survey of Israeli Jewish teens released by ADL. The poll of 500 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 found that record numbers of Israeli youths are being exposed to hatred online.
- At the start of 2016, ADL voiced its concerns over the United Methodist Church’s aiding of the BDS campaign after it removed five Israeli banks from its investment portfolio. Later in the year, ADL expressed disappointment at a number of problematic Israel-focused motions endorsed by the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, including a report calling on the church to explore alternatives to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and an overture advocating the church study the use of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. At the same time, ADL acknowledged the seeming endorsement of a two-state solution and welcomed their support of the right of both Jews and Palestinians to self-determination.
- ADL continued to push world leaders to denounce Palestinian incitement after several terror attacks on Israeli civilians struck the country, and at the same time, decried conspiratorial anti-Israel allegations from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and highly offensive statements from its U.N. ambassador, Riyad Mansour, who compared Palestinian terrorists to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
- Also on the world, stage the League called on the U.S. to take a strong stand against Palestinian efforts to present a one-sided U.N. Security Council resolution harshly critical of Israel.
- This year was also momentous for both the United States and Israel. The two close allies signed a memorandum of understanding, which was a demonstration of the enduring relationship. In an op-ed in The Hill, Greenblatt argued that agreement sends “the clearest message” not only to Israel, but to moderate countries across the region and highlighted how it will enable Israel to retain its qualitative military edge in a region fraught with hostility.
Here’s to hoping that the anti-Israel temperature across the globe will go down in 2017. If it continues to rear its ugly head, you can expect ADL to be out there on the front lines condemning it while setting the record straight.