ADL Denounces Russian Award Given To Purveyor Of Anti-Semitic Rhetoric

New York, NY, February 23, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned today the conferring of a Russian state award to a Syrian writer who has expressed anti-Semitic beliefs and publicly welcomed the 9/11 terror attacks.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev awarded the Pushkin Medal, a state decoration honoring literary achievements, to Syrian writer Ali Ukla Ursan on Feb. 17 in Moscow.

"Regardless of his literary contributions, the honoring of a man who cherishes murder and promotes bigotry cannot be justified," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Ursan's expression of anti-Semitic sentiments and praise of the 9/11 terror attacks must be unconditionally and unequivocally rejected."

Mr. Foxman added, "Recently, President Medvedev praised the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia for its work against anti-Semitism, saying that it was 'important for creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and promoting social stability.' And previously, he had told the Russian Jewish community that 'anti-Semitism will simply not be tolerated in the political environment.' This award flies in the face of those commitments."

In a letter to the President Medvedev, ADL said that Russia should rescind the award immediately.

Ursan has repeatedly voiced anti-Semitic beliefs and publicly welcomed the 9/11 terror attacks. One of his most offensive reported anti-Semitic statements is, "The covetous, racist and hated Jew Shylock who cut the flesh from Antonio's chest with the knife of hatred, invades you with his money, his modern airplanes, his missiles and his nuclear bombs."

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism 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 antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.