ADL Criticizes Jerusalem Cleric Over Pre-Christmas Speech Opposing Jewish State
Jerusalem, December 20, 2007… The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it is deeply disturbed by a pre-Christmas address from the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land in which he rejected Israel as a Jewish state.
Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, a Palestinian, told reporters that "if there's a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against."
In his Christmas 2007 message, Sabbah said: …"A state that would exclude or discriminate against the other religions is not suitable for this land made holy by God for all humanity."
ADL issued the following statement in response to Patriach Sabbah's comments:
We are deeply disturbed that Father Sabbah would politicize the holy season of Christmas by denying the Jewish people's right to a Jewish state. His comments are particularly ironic considering that he represents a Catholic state and a theocratic monarchy.
Patriarch Sabbah ignores the fact that the State of Israel was established as a Jewish state out of the nationalist aspiration of the Jewish people and an international recognition of the rights of Jews to a homeland following 2,000 years of persecution. To expect Israel to subvert its own sovereign existence and nationalist identity is unacceptable on its face.
It is startling that Sabbah would deny a Jewish state when there are many other sovereign religious states. In contrast, all of Israel's citizens -- Jewish and non Jewish -- enjoy the privileges of modern democracy, freely and openly practice their religions, and are afforded equal rights under Israeli law.
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.