New York, NY, November 18, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed commitments by the Ford Foundation to cease funding organizations that incite anti-Semitism or challenge Israel's legitimacy. In a meeting with ADL and in a written response to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ford Foundation President Susan V. Berresford outlined a series of measures to ensure that no future grants would go to organizations that in any way support terrorism, bigotry, or the delegitimization of Israel.
Rep. Nadler had made an inquiry following allegations raised in a series of articles in JTA that Ford Foundation grantees were active in the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel campaign at the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and author of the new book Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (HarperSanFrancisco, 2003) issued the following statement:
We welcome Ford's renunciation of the anti-Semitism and delegitimization of Israel at the U.N. World Conference Against Racism in which some of their grantees were involved. The Durban conference reminded us that, even under the rubric of tolerance, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias is a potent force that, when left unchecked, leads to the kind of broad vilification of Jews and the Jewish State that we witnessed in Durban in 2001.
The Ford Foundation has demonstrated courage and conscience in recognizing that foundations can and must take responsibility to see to it that they are not funding incitement. They have used this as an opportunity to deepen their understanding of anti-Semitism and look for ways to counteract and prevent it. Ms. Berresford and the Foundation have charted a course we hope others will follow and we look forward to working with them to follow up on these commitments.
We commend Ms. Berresford for understanding that, just as we call on political and community leaders to take a moral stand against hatred and bigotry, supporters of civil society organizations have a vital role to play in fostering a climate of tolerance and setting standards for fair and equal judgment of all sovereign states.