ADL Denounces Vatican Newspaper for Misleading Report on Israeli Disaster Aid
Note: ADL subsequently learned that this report was based on a mistranslation by Catholic World News, which issued a correction and apology. ADL also issued a retraction of this statement.
New York, NY, December 29, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on the official newspaper of the Vatican to apologize for a "spurious and misleading report" that falsely claimed the Israeli government had denied emergency relief for tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.
The official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano singled out Israeli leaders for declining the country's request for emergency help, when in fact the Israeli government's offer to provide a team of medical and security personnel was initially rejected by the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry. However, Israel is providing an airlift of food and medical supplies to Sri Lanka.
"This is a case of wishing to believe the worst about Israel, whether or not it is true," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The editors of L'Osservatore Romano have a history of unfairly portraying Israel as a militaristic aggressor and oppressor of Palestinians, and this is another example of their bias against Israel coming to the fore. Not only do they get the facts wrong, but they use a spurious and misleading report as a basis to criticize Israel and its leadership. L'Osservatore Romano owes Israel an apology. Israel has always been among the first countries to offer aid and expertise in other disaster situations."
Describing a purported decision by Israel to deny relief aid to Sri Lanka, the Vatican newspaper called for "a radical and dramatic change of perspective" among people "too often preoccupied with making war," meaning Israel and its leaders.
On past missions to the Vatican, ADL leaders have sought meetings with the editors of L'Osservatore Romano, but the editors have refused those requests.
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.