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The Anti-Defamation League has brought influential Americans to Israel for decades, recognizing that no amount of study of the Middle East situation could substitute for the experience of seeing Israel firsthand and meeting its citizens and leaders. 

  • Vice President Albert Gore Jr.

  • 45th Vice President of the United States,
    former U.S. Senator (1985-1993)

    1986 Senate Mission Participant (his first visit to Israel)

    “I feel we saw a broad cross section of Israeli life which was very important to my education. Israelis are a marvelously diverse, intellectually vigorous and intense people.  The challenges they face and the internal politics they practice are an integral part of the Middle East equation.  This is something I did not know and could not have known until I came to see it first hand.”

  • Adolfo Carrion Jr.

  • Bronx, New York Borough President
    2004 New York Hispanic & Black Mission Participant   

    “Coming from New York, where we have recently begun to cope with our own threat of terrorism, we were alarmed to see the overwhelming nature of Israel’s war on terror.  At the same time, however, it was reassuring to see Israelis riding buses, shopping, vacationing, and continuing daily life despite the looming threats of terrorist attacks…

    On the last night of our mission, our delegation enjoyed a Shabbat dinner with Bronx residents currently living or studying in Israel.  The sight was beautiful:  Jews and Christian, Israel and American, sitting side-by-side, eating, laughing, and discussing issues dear to their communities.  These are the seeds of change that have been planted.  I look forward to seeing the results.” 
    (excerpted from a Jerusalem Post Op-Ed)

  • James P. Sledge

  • Commissioner, State of Illinois Human Rights Commission
    2006 Cornelius Family Leadership Mission Participant (African-American and Latino Leaders).

    “I found the frank discussions with the different cultures and ethnicities refreshing and I was truly in awe of the old city of Jerusalem.   I found our trip to Yad Vashem, to be the most compelling event of the trip.  I was moved to tears while walking through the exhibits, and I was reminded that the events of the Holocaust occurred in the 20th century.  Allowing such atrocities to occur in our recent past is a testament to why we must be ever vigilant against racism and bigotry.  One of the goals of the Mission is to spread the word about the country of Israel, and share our experiences with as many people as possible.  I have started that process by telling all of my friends and family about the trip and I will continue to talk with whoever will listen.”

  • Police Chief Joseph Estey

  • President, International Association of Chiefs of Police
    2004 Anti-terrorism and Security Training Mission Participant.

    “I found great empathy with the Israelis police, who are a lot like me and my officers, struggling to provide services, keep people safe and do much the same job as cops around the world – with the added burden of dealing with terrorists who strike anytime, anywhere, and with a vengeance to kill and injure as many people as possible… 

    I was moved by my first-hand exposure to some of religion’s very foundations, and the reality that so many events I had read and studied about had happened in the very spots where I stood.  I also felt great sadness at the burden the country endures with such a long history of tragedy and conflict, not to mention the damage to an economy suffering from the loss of tourism largely due to the suicide attacks.”

  • Leslie Griffith

  • Duke University Student and Editorial Page Editor, Duke Chronicle
    2007 Campus Editors Mission to Poland and Israel Participant

    “My seven days in Israel were packed with in-depth discussions with everyone from students to policymakers, and the mission gave me a first-hand knowledge of the complexities of Israeli history, society and politics.  No matter how much you read, you can’t fully understand a country’s role in a conflict until you see the country and meet its people.”

  • Rev. Jim Bankston

  • Senior Minister, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (Houston, TX)
    2006 Interfaith Mission Participant

    “I was greatly honored to be on the trip.  It was a truly enriching experience…It would have been very different without the Muslim and Jewish members of the Mission…I would not want anyone to be naïve about the situation, but neither would I want anyone to be hopeless.  The issues are complex, but there is still possibility for dialogue and from there, greater understanding.” 

  • Wendy Wasserstein

  • Late Writer and Playwright, American Theatre Hall of Fame Inductee
    1991 Theater and Arts Mission Participant

    “Frankly, I signed up neither out of Zionism nor a desire to search for my theatrical roots, but rather out of passivity bordering on ignorance. I never really knew much about Israel except that at Hebrew School we collected money for trees and ambulances there. . . . With such an action-packed history, it is not surprising that Israel and Israelis seem to be at a constant low boil…. It is a country of borders. Look over Jordan and what you see is not, in the words of the spiritual, ‘a band of angels coming after me.’  You’ll see Israeli military bases to the right, Syrian bases to the left, and Lebanese barbed wire directly ahead. It is as if New Jersey, which is approximately the size of Israel, were in a constant state of high anxiety with not only New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, but a score of other like-minded states as well. . . .

    “. . . We visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. I manage to contain myself as we pass through the photos of the ghettos, the trains to nowhere, the atrocities, and finally end up at the Hall of Names, a massive attempt at collation of the names of the six million who died. In the front hall are two sample passports of those registered within. One of them is for Etylda Berkowitz, whose occupation is listed as “child.” In her photo she looks to be around 7 years old. She has been positively identified by her brother of East Seventh Street in Brooklyn. As I look at Etylda, my heart begins to pound, and I can no longer contain my tears. Because of her, I will never again see Israel as a far-off place of Hebrew-school-planted trees and military zealots. I have no answers, but it is impossible for me now to disclaim the connection.”

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    2008 Anti-Defamation League