ADL Says Pro-Life 'Wailing Wall' Planned for Witchita, Kan. Would Pervert Meaning of Judaism's Holiest Site

New York, NY, July 16, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said an effort led by two pastors to build an international pro-life "memorial" in Wichita, Kansas -- encompassing what is being described as an exact replica of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem – is "an outrageous affront to the Jewish people" and a perversion of Judaism's holiest site.

Wichita-based Pastors Rob Rotola of the Word of Life Church and Mark Holick of the Spirit One Christian Ministry are heading a group that has announced plans for construction of an "International Pro-Life Memorial & National Life Center" in Wichita, describing it as "a place of repentance, meditation and healing."  Holick reportedly said in a press release that the center will include the International Pro Life Institute, whose focus will be preserving, promoting and protecting "the unborn and families against the international Holocaust being promoted by governments and individuals … against the unborn."

The plan calls for construction of an elaborate replica of the Western or "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem, with the addition of 60 Christian crosses symbolizing "60 million abortions" that have allegedly occurred in the United States since 1973.  Pastor Holick is currently raising funds for the project, and has indicated he will seek tax-exempt status for the facility's operations.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Over the years we have seen a number of anti-abortion groups compare abortion to the Holocaust, but this takes the misuse of Jewish symbolism and history to another level.  The Western Wall, this monumental symbol of Jewish grief and redemption, is being co-opted and distorted to promote an anti-abortion agenda and message.

Members of the pro-life movement are entitled to their opinions, but we wish they would not express them at the expense of Judaism's holiest site and the Holocaust.  The use of the Wailing Wall imagery in protest of abortion constitutes an affront to the Jewish people and a terrible perversion of the meaning of Judaism's holiest site.

We strongly urge the planners of the International Pro-Life Memorial & National Life Center to reconsider their inclusion of a "Wailing Wall" in their project and to stop using the word "Holocaust" in reference to abortion.

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.

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