ADL Welcomes U.S. Condemnation of Blood Libel Reference Before U.N. Council

New York, NY, June 14, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed appreciation to the United States Mission in Geneva for its condemnation of a Syrian diplomat's statement alluding to the ancient blood libel against Jews. The League voiced outrage, however, that the president of the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) has yet to denounce the hateful remark, which is now part of the body's official record.

In a June 8 speech before the HRC, Syrian representative Rania Al Rifaiy, referring to Israel, declared: "Hatred is widespread, taught to even small children, who are taught to use weapons, and who are taught to sign missiles that will be fired at Arabs…Let me quote a song that a group of children on a school bus in Israel sing merrily as they go to school: 'With my teeth I will rip your flesh, with my mouth I will suck your blood.' "

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva condemned the comments and called on leaders of the UN Human Rights System to do the same.

"The failure to speak out against such vicious and incendiary rhetoric – in this case, referencing a centuries-old, anti-Jewish blood libel – would be shocking if it didn't so perfectly fit the pattern of anti-Israel bias and maltreatment in the HRC," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Not surprisingly, the Human Rights Council President, Alex Van Meeuwen of Belgium– who frequently intervenes to challenge speakers – did not stop the Syrian representative from her diatribe, and has yet to condemn the reprehensible statement.

"While it is difficult to envision the HRC departing from its history of anti-Israel bashing, we are grateful that theU.S.ambassador did not allow such vitriol to go unchallenged."

In a letter to Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council, the League said, "U.S.leadership on condemning this and other anti-Semitic manifestations in the Council is significant and vital."

Earlier this year, the Human Rights Council refused to strike from its official record a statement accusing Israel of harvesting organs of "dead, kidnapped and killed Palestinians" in a conspiracy involving "Israeli physicians, medical centers, rabbis and the Israeli Army." The statement was submitted by EAFORD, a Libyan-funded, non-governmental organization, and was included in the Council's website and permanent record.

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.