ADL Calls on Congress to Take Steps To Punish Nations "Who Traffic in Weaponry of Incitement"
New York, NY, April 18, 2002 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Congress to take steps to expose and counteract the "rhetoric of incitement and hatred" that fuels terrorism and impedes peace negotiations in the Middle East.
In testimony before the House of Representatives International Relations Subcommittee on the Middle East, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued a series of policy recommendations to focus pressure on nations "who traffic in the weaponry of hatred and incitement." The recommendations are aimed at combating the anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism that pervades segments of the Muslim and Arab world.
"Arab anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, if allowed to flourish, could become one of the most destructive forces unleashed in this new century," Mr. Foxman told members of the committee. "We know very well the power of words - hateful, ugly words that can lead to violence and terrorism. Just as we address nations who traffic in weapons of mass destruction, narcotics, or women and children, the United States should focus on nations who traffic in the weaponry of hatred and incitement."
Incitement Against Jews and America
In his testimony, Mr. Foxman identified the major forms of anti-Semitic and anti-American incitement in the Muslim and Arab world. Noting that the September 11 terrorist attacks began with words and "the teaching of contempt," Mr. Foxman said that stereotyping, scapegoating and dehumanization of Jews and Americans has cultivated a nurturing environment for terrorism. Specifically:
Scapegoating. While Jews have been scapegoated and libeled throughout history, the conspiracy-mongers of the Arab world, including leaders of nations such as Syria, took anti-Israel propaganda to a new level in promoting the myth that Israel and Jews were responsible for 9/11. The conspiracy theories found widespread acceptance in nations such as Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Dehumanizing Jews and Israel. Arab media are relentless in solidifying a culture of hatred around Israel and the Jewish religion. In one recent example, a television station in Abu Dhabi aired a comedy skit depicting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon drinking the blood of Arab children.
Equating Jews with Nazis. References to a "new era of Hitleric Zionism" abound in the Arab state-sponsored press. Israel is branded in world forums, such as the recent U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, as "an apartheid regime," while in others, Israel and Jews are equated with the Nazis and "barbaric Hitlerism."
Holocaust Denial.Efforts to deny the Holocaust now regularly occur throughout the Middle East in statements and pronouncements by public figures, in articles and columns by journalists, and in resolutions of professional organizations. The main tenet of Holocaust denial - that Jews invented the Holocaust story in an attempt to advance their own interests - appears to be an increasingly accepted belief for large numbers of people in Arab and Muslim states.
Mr. Foxman testified that existing models, such as those used to punish criminal corruption, can be applied to nations in an effort to combat anti-Jewish and anti-American incitement. ADL offered the following policy recommendations:
No business as usual. Congress and the President should place the issue of incitement squarely on the U.S. diplomatic agenda. America cannot conduct bilateral relations without addressing incitement against America as a threat to U.S. interests.
Craft a long-term strategy. Establish a Presidential Commission to study U.S. policy responses to incitement. The committee could explore the vast array of policy options.
Spotlight the Problem. Congress and the President must work to expose the danger of incitement and report on the performance of governments in responding to incitement.
Anti-Bias Education. Using the existing public diplomacy apparatus, international visitor exchange, professional development and democratization programs must focus on the issue of incitement.
EDITORS NOTE: To arrange an interview with an expert on anti-Semitism in the Arab world, contact ADL Media Relations by e-mail or phone (212) 885-7749.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.