New York, NY, October 5, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today published a full-page ad (PDF) in The New York Times highlighting how anti-Semitism reared its ugly head in the aftermath of the release of the anti-Islamic film.
With the headline, “All it Takes is One Lie to Reignite anti-Semitism,” the ad appeals to good people to stand up and to journalists “to strive toward the highest standards of reporting and fact-checking.” The ad was made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor.
“It is distressing that more than 60 years after the Holocaust, big lies still have the power to generate anti-Jewish hatred,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “When the lie spread that a Jew was behind the video, anti-Semitism surged in the Islamic world. At the root of it is the continued potency of stereotypes and conspiracy theories about Jews as poisonous and powerful. So when a controversy erupts and a lie is disseminated about Jewish involvement, it confirms in the minds of anti-Semites what they already ‘know.’”
After a trailer to the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” was posted on YouTube, the clip sparked a wave of anti-American protests across the Arab and Muslim world. In media interviews, the individual responsible for the film initially identified himself as a Jewish producer and claimed he had made the film with funds from 100 Jewish investors. Those claims turned out to be false, and the man was later identified as a Coptic Christian who lives in Los Angeles.
But his lies to the news media have continued to circulate on the Internet and around the world, prompting new conspiracy theories about Jewish involvement that have appeared in the Arab media and have been repeated by government and religious leaders of Muslim and Arab nations.
Mr. Foxman said, “This was a seminal moment. In the age of computers and instant communication, the dangers of the big lie take on new meaning. This ad is intended to remind people that the potency of classical anti-Semitism remains at a high and dangerous level. We need good journalism and we need leaders to take seriously the expressions of Jew hatred, particularly those coming out of parts of the Islamic world.”