ADL Calls on Knesset Member to Retract “Offensive and Unjustified” Comments about Reform Judaism

New York, NY, February 5, 2014…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today decried comments about Reform Judaism attributed to Israeli parliament member David Rotem as “inappropriate, offensive and unjustified,” and called on the Knesset member to retract his statements  “quickly and unequivocally” and apologize to the Reform Movement.

According to news reports, Mr. Rotem, who is the Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, referred to the Reform movement as “not Jewish” and “another religion” during a committee discussion on Tuesday.

In a letter to Mr. Rotem, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, wrote:

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.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.