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ADL Letter to Haaretz Daily

  May 26, 2003
Letter to the Editor
Haaretz Daily Newspaper

To the Editor:

The Anti-Defamation League is indeed deeply concerned over incidents of anti-Semitism in Israel, yet we are equally troubled over the cynical use of anti-Semitism as a means to engage in political dialogue over the status of Israel's Law of Return. Lily Galili (Anti-Semitism, Right Here at Home, May 23) clearly portrays the true intentions of those ostensibly fighting anti-Semitism in Israel.

While we may applaud Mr. Gilichinsky and his counterparts for exposing this disturbing trend, they undermine their very own efforts by approaching this topic politically rather than legally. After all, anti-Semitic acts in Israel are not limited to non-Jewish immigrants lashing out at Jewish-Israeli society, rather they also consists of incidents perpetrated by Jews against Jews - offenses that changes in the Law of Return will not resolve.

Anti-Semitism, like all forms of racism and bigotry, is a serious and insidious form of hatred that demands condemnation from every spectrum of society. However, when anti-Semitism turns criminal, the State of Israel should use every tool at its disposal to prosecute those responsible and hold them accountable for their noxious behavior. Should Mr. Gilichinsky decide that Israel is lacking the appropriate legal mechanisms to effectively address anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, then it would befit him to pursue meaningful hate crime legislation that would tackle criminal manifestations of racism and bigotry towards all of Israel's citizens without regard for religion, sexual orientation, or culture.

Combating anti-Semitism is too serious of an issue to be used to serve narrow political interests and it certainly must not be denigrated to the point where it is allowed to become the cover for which to deal with Israel's immigration and socialization policies.


Aaron J. Goldberg
Assistant Director
ADL Israel Office

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