Israeli TV Personality's 'Arab Look' Remark Deplored
Jerusalem, January 8, 2007 … The Israel office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was "deeply disappointed" by the inappropriate and racist comments made by Anastasia Michaeli, a popular television presenter. ADL also called on Knesset members from the Russian-speaking community to speak out against these statements.
Michaeli, who ran unsuccessfully for a slot in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party, reportedly urged the committee choosing the Israeli representative to the Eurovision song contest not to pick someone "with an Arab look." Michaeli, who was a member of the committee, indicated that a European looking contestant had a better chance of winning. The committee ultimately chose the popular band Tea Packs, which uses traditional oriental music.
ADL's Israel Office issued the following statement:
We are deeply disappointed by Anastasia Michaeli's inappropriate and prejudicial remark that borders on racism. Michaeli should step back from partisanship and use her role as an opinion maker in the Russian-speaking immigrant world to vigorously embrace the diverse character of the state.
ADL also calls on Israeli leaders from the former Soviet Union to speak out against such remarks that ironically besmirch their own community and reinforce prejudicial beliefs that they are bigoted and racists. It is an opportunity to reach the Russian-speaking youth with a message that this country's greatness is its diversity.
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.