ADL Lists Top Issues Affecting Jews in 2002
New York, N.Y., December 20, 2002 ... The resurgence of global anti-Semitism, Evangelical Christian support for Jews in Israel, continued Palestinian terrorism and the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl topped the list of issues most affecting the Jewish community in 2002, according to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) annual list.
"Anti-Semitism has moved into an alarming new global phase crossing boundaries of every type -- geographical, national, political, religious and cultural," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Not since the Holocaust has the Jewish community faced such a spike in anti-Semitic incidents, anti-Jewish feeling and age-old canards, as it did in 2002. The "big lie" and the murder of journalist Daniel Pearl compounded this issue, as it showed that terrorists, including Al Qaeda and their sympathizers, use Israel and Jews as scapegoats and excuses for their violent acts."
The resurgence of global anti-Semitism
Extensively within the Arab/Muslim world, but also across Europe, Africa and Asia, anti-Israel sentiments have evolved into blatant displays of anti-Semitism. Official government newspapers and TV stations in many Arab and Muslim nations are engaged in almost daily vitriolic attacks against Jews. Israelis are depicted as Nazis, Jewish leaders as Hitler, and the Israelis' treatment of Palestinians as even worse than the Nazis' treatment of the Jews. Timed to coincide with Ramadan, Egyptian state television aired a 41-part series based on the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, Protocols of the Elders of Zion. ADL opinion surveys in 10 European countries found that a strong majority harbor strong anti-Semitic views, believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country and cling to traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes.
The "big lie"
In many parts of the world, there is widespread acceptance of the "big lie," the myth that claims Jews and Israel were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Spread by the media in the Arab and Muslim world, and prevalent on the Internet, the "big lie" is accepted as truth by millions. It also resonated close to home in a poem by New Jersey's poet laureate, Amiri Baraka. A black activist with a long history of anti-Semitism, Baraka wrote a poem repeating the "big lie" entitled "Somebody Blew Up America"; he then refused to apologize for his anti-Semitism or resign his post and, as a result, the NJ State Legislature is drafting a bill to dissolve the position.
Evangelical Christian support for Israel
Controversy erupted in the Jewish community as a result of the increasingly public support for Israel by Evangelical Christians. A community with commitment to strengthening church-state ties in the U.S. in the face of strong opposition from the Jewish community, Evangelicals extended their support to Israel without any quid pro quo on church-state or other issues.
The kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by terrorists while researching a story in Pakistan. Accused of being a spy for the U.S. and Israel, his kidnappers forced him to proclaim his and his family's Jewishness before murdering him. The act was recorded on videotape to be used as a recruiting tool for terrorists.
Israel under siege
Hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians were killed or injured in 2002 as a result of Palestinian terrorist suicide attacks. Israeli citizens also became targets of Islamic terrorism outside of their own country; in Mombasa, Kenya, several were killed at an Israeli-owned resort when suspected Al Qaeda terrorists drove into the compound and detonated a car bomb. Almost simultaneously, terrorists linked to the same group attempted a surface-to-air missile attack on an Israeli airline leaving Mombasa. Jewish institutions were also the target of Al Qaeda terrorists in Tunisia, where several tourists were killed when a synagogue was destroyed by a truck-bomb.
The Supreme Court rules on school vouchers
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state funds may be given to private religious schools, specifically in Cleveland, Ohio, continuing a local government practice that shared public funds with families seeking to educate their children in private schools. While this decision was extremely limited in its impact, applying only to the specific fact pattern presented in Cleveland, voucher supporters continue to hope that it paves the way for a green light for the use of vouchers in a wide range of contexts.
Anti-Israel action on campus
College administrators in the U.S. faced a growing campaign on campus for the divestment movement. Pro-divestment groups called for universities to stop investing in companies doing business with Israel, and compared Israel to apartheid South Africa. At Harvard University, President Lawrence Summers brought the issue to national prominence when he suggested that the divestment movement was an offshoot of an increased level of anti-Semitism on campuses in America. A number of other college presidents have also spoken out against divestment on campus. In an effort to confront this issue, Jewish college students have initiated a campaign of education and counter-demonstration to better inform other students about Judaism and Israel.
Al Qaeda targets Jews in the U.S.
In June 2002, Jewish organizations and institutions were put on alert by the FBI to be wary of large trucks carrying flammable fuels. Attributed to plans found in the caves of Afghanistan, the FBI took these warnings very seriously and urged Jewish groups and institutions to exercise caution and report any suspicious activity. Also revealed this year was how the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing had originally planned to attack Jewish neighborhoods.
The death of white supremacist William Pierce
The largest and most active anti-Semitic neo-Nazi organization in America, the National Alliance (NA), continues to operate, despite the death of its longtime leader, William Pierce. Now under the leadership of Pierce deputy Erich Gliebe, whose enterprises include Resistance Records, a distributor of hate rock music, the NA mission of targeting Jews and Jewish institutions endures.
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.