New York, NY, October 25, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said some groups had distorted its call with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) for a national bipartisan consensus on Israel as an attempt to stifle criticism of the Obama Administration.
The League today made clear that the pledge was "not intended to discourage raising questions about a candidate's support for Israel" as some groups, including the Republican Jewish Coalition and the Emergency Coalition for Israel, have charged. Rather, the purpose of the pledge is "to put Israel ahead of politics" while "avoiding harsh and personal rhetoric or tactics in the form of attacks on political opponents' positions on Israel."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
There has been some distortion of our announcement of the ADL-AJC "National Pledge for Unity on Israel." The pledge is not intended to discourage raising questions about a candidate's support for Israel or the policy decisions of the current administration regarding Israel. In fact, ADL has been outspoken in questioning and even criticizing U.S. policies and positions toward Israel during the last three years. We will continue to raise concerns about those policies and positions when we believe it is warranted, just as we will be supportive when we feel that is appropriate.
In the best tradition of American political debate we strongly encourage measured and thoughtful expressions of different points of view regarding U.S. policy toward Israel. What prompted ADL and AJC to launch this initiative was a desire to ask participants in the political discourse to avoid harsh and personal rhetoric or tactics in the form of attacks on political opponents' positions on Israel.
Our principal concern in calling for the pledge is to put Israel ahead of politics to reinforce the broad-based support of the American people for Israel and to project it as bipartisan whenever possible.