ADL Leader Honored as 'Grand Officer' of the Italian Republic at Presidential Reception

New York, NY, December 13, 2010 … At a meeting at the presidential palace in Rome last month, the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was honored for his work countering anti-Semitism and bettering U.S.-Italian and Italian-Israeli relations. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, was presented with the Medal of "Grand Officer" of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by the Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano.

"It is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition from a government and a people that has made great strides in working to combat anti-Semitism and maintain and improve relations with Israel and the Jewish people," Mr. Foxman said. "We greatly appreciate Mr. Napolitano's leadership and his call to undertake proactive efforts to fight the revival of anti-Semitism in Italy and across Europe."

Mr. Foxman had traveled to Rome as part of a leadership delegation led by Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair. The delegation of 22 top ADL leaders met with Vatican leaders, Italian senior law enforcement officials and top Italian government officials from various political parties.

In his remarks to the ADL delegation, President Napolitano denounced anti-Semitism in all forms, including attempts to question and deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel. He also recalled the historic bond between Rome and Jerusalem, recalling the honorary degree he was awarded at the University of Jerusalem in November 2008.

The Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana is the highest honor conferred by the Italian republic.