New York, NY, September 23, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the U.N. General Assembly, in which he unequivocally repeated Israel's desire for and commitment to peace with the Palestinians and the creation of a Palestinian state through negotiations. The League said Netanyahu's words stood in stark contrast to those of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose expression of a desire for peace with Israel "rings hollow amid his strident accusations against Israel."
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
Prime Minister Netanyahu carefully and comprehensively set forth the steps Israel has taken over the years to achieve peace and reiterated Israel's readiness to make painful compromises when the Palestinians acknowledge a simple truth -- Israel is the Jewish state.
In stark contrast to Mr. Netanyahu's speech, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' expression of a desire for peace and his claim that his U.N. initiative was not to delegitimize Israel ring hollow amid his strident accusations against Israel, maximalist demands and adamant refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Mr. Abbas peppered his speech with incendiary accusations against Israel and aimed to reposition the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not as a territorial conflict, but a religious and racial conflict.
Mr. Netanyahu effectively made a strong case for an immediate return to negotiations. Mr. Netanyahu's suggestion that he and Mr. Abbas meet "here and now" in New York represents the polar opposite of Mr. Abbas' message to the world. The international community should urge Mr. Abbas to take up this offer.
Just prior to his speech before the General Assembly, Mr. Abbas submitted to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a formal application for "Palestine" to become a full member of the United Nations despite appeals from leading members of the international community to return to negotiations and refrain from unilateral and confrontational action.