ADL Supports Soccer Star Ronaldo in Face of Criticism on Engagement With Israel

New York, NY, February 11, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today voiced support for soccer super star Cristiano Ronaldo after he was targeted for criticism on social media for appearing in a commercial for an Israeli cable company.

“We support Cristiano Ronaldo who was unfairly attacked by anti-Israel activists on social media,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Unfortunately, he has fallen prey to an ugly smear campaign which attempts to stigmatize any celebrity who participates in anything Israeli. Here is an athlete who has both Israeli and Palestinian fans and has reached out to all. His appearance in an Israeli commercial has nothing to do with politics or ‘choosing sides’ and we commend him for not succumbing to the campaign which seeks to demonize every aspect of Israeli life.”

Mr. Greenblatt added, “The demand on public figures such as athletes, musicians and artists to refuse engagements with Israel is unfair and wrongly asserts that Israel is solely responsible for the conflict and should be shunned and isolated. This only stifles important interactions and reasonable discourse that lead to greater awareness and understanding.”

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.