ADL Lists Top 10 Issues Affecting Jews in 2006
New York, NY, December 22, 2006 … Israel fights to protect itself from Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, growing violence among Islamic extremists; the Iranian threat to Israel, Jews and the world; and concerns about global anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias at the United Nations were among the issues most affecting the Jewish community in 2006, according to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) annual list.
"The attacks on Israel this summer demonstrated the country's vulnerability on all sides, and highlighted the urgent problem of support for Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups among rogue leaders in the Middle East," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Islamic extremism reared its ugly head over and over again, leading to violent clashes and the deaths of many innocent victims all over the world. The anti-Israel rhetoric and Holocaust denial of the Iranian president sent chills down the spine of Jews and all right-thinking people, as did the repeated unfounded condemnation of Israel by the U.N."
ADL'S TOP 10 ISSUES
• Israel Under Attack from the North and South
• Israeli Soldiers Remain in Captivity
• The Growing Violence of Islamic Extremism
• The Iranian Threat to Israel, Jews and the World
• The Failure of U.N. Reform
• Rising Concerns about Global Anti-Semitism
• The Anti-Semitic Myth of the "Israel Lobby"
• Anti-Semitism in America
• Church-State Separation
• Divestment and Boycotts Target Israel and Israelis
Israel Under Attack from the North and South
In the North, Hezbollah's unprovoked cross-border raid into Israel and the kidnapping of two Israel Defense Forces reservists triggered a monthlong war in Lebanon, with thousands of Hezbollah rockets raining down on northern Israel. The intense shelling of southern Israeli towns, following the election of Hamas, led Israel to carry out a series of incursions and air strikes in Gaza. The increasingly violent infighting between Hamas and Fatah added to regional instability.
Israeli Soldiers Remain in Captivity
Cpl. Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian terrorists who tunneled under the Gaza-Israel border in June, and IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped by Hezbollah in a cross-border raid in July. To date, no one, including the Red Cross, has been permitted to check on the condition of the three captured soldiers.
The Growing Violence of Islamic Extremism
The problem of violent Jihadist Islamists grew. Following Pope Benedict XVI's comments about Islam, the Muslim world erupted in unprecedented violence; churches were attacked and an Italian nun was murdered. The earlier publication of cartoons in a Danish newspaper depicting Mohammed resulted in rioting across the Muslim world and in Europe.
The Iranian Threat to Israel, Jews and the World
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rants, coupled with his nuclear ambitions, placed him and the Iranian regime among the foremost threats to Jews, Israel and the world. The Iranian regime sponsored anti-Zionism conferences and pseudo-academic lectures and exhibits denying the Holocaust. An encouraging sign, however, was the denunciation of Iran's Holocaust denial conference by many world leaders.
Reform at the U.N. A Failure
Despite hopes that the U.N. might start treating Israel fairly, 2006 featured poor leadership on the issue from Secretary-General Kofi Annan and uncorrected anti-Israel bias in the General Assembly and other U.N. bodies. Annan leveled outrageous accusations against Israel, including that of violating international law, while leaving Israel's extremist enemies relatively unscathed. The new Human Rights Council proved to be no better than its corrupt predecessor by passing a multitude of one-sided resolutions against Israel in regular and special sessions, while ignoring other more pressing problems around the world.
Rising Concerns about Global Anti-Semitism
Despite good-faith efforts by governments and the international community, anti-Semitic acts persisted around the world. In Poland, anti-Semitism rose to new levels since the formation of a coalition government that included two extremist parties. In Moscow, eight worshippers were attacked inside a synagogue by a knife-wielding skinhead. In France, Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man, was kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered by a Muslim gang. Venezuela, under President Hugo Chavez, experienced a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism fostered in part by Chavez's own rhetoric, which included anti-Israel statements, open support for Hamas and Hezbollah and collusion with radical Islamic leaders.
The Anti-Semitic Myth of the "Israel Lobby"
The age-old anti-Semitic canard of Jewish control was re-introduced and re-enforced by two professors who claimed that the "Israel Lobby" (i.e. American Jews) controls U.S. foreign policy. Professors Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago blamed American Jews for promoting the Iraq war. Joining them was former President Jimmy Carter, who, in promoting his book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid," claimed that the power of the Israel lobby stifles debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Anti-Semitism in America
The shooting attack at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle showed the vulnerability of American Jews, especially at a time of crisis in the Middle East. Support for neo-Nazi groups who use Nazi imagery, symbols and rhetoric continued to grow, while anti-Semitic incidents, graffiti and vandalism occurred regularly across the country.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a number of bills that sought to undermine religious freedom, including several that attempted to strip courts of their power to hear cases involving religious freedom. Fortunately, the Senate rejected many of these bills. However, both the House and Senate made a successful last-minute maneuver to restore troubling rules allowing unconstitutional proselytizing at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Also, despite $2.1 billion in government dollars being channeled to faith-based organizations, the Government Accountability Office reported that the federal government does not have procedures to see whether these organizations have adequate procedures to ensure constitutional safeguards against religious coercion. Efforts to coerce children, the homeless, and prisoners into engaging in religious worship continued unabated.
Divestment and Boycotts Target Israel and Israelis
While the Church of Canada rejected anti-Israel divestment resolutions and the Presbyterians overturned theirs, others continued to adopt policies unfairly targeting Israel. The Church of England voted to divest from companies whose products are used by Israel in the Palestinian territories, a move later vetoed by Church leaders. The Church of Scotland General Assembly asked European authorities and the World Council of Churches to identify products made in the West Bank. Britain's National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education called for a boycott of Israeli academics, and British architects urged that Israel be banned from the 10th International Architecture Biennale in Venice.
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.