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Press ReleaseIsrael/Middle East
ADL Urges World and Religious Leaders to Denounce Syrian Presidentís Anti-Jewish Diatribe Delivered in Presence of the Pope

New York, NY, May 6, 2001ÖThe Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today labeled the President of Syriaís "poisonous accusations" against Jews,

Read the Full Text of President Al-Assad's Speech
in his remarks before the Pope, "outrageous and a new low even for the tyrannical Syrian regime." The League called on the international community and religious leaders around the world "not remain silent in the face of such anti-Jewish incitement."

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:

President Bashar Assad of Syria's anti-Jewish diatribe in the presence of Pope John Paul II, in which he claimed that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus and that they tried to kill Muhammad, are poisonous accusations and a new low even for the tyrannical Syrian regime. This kind of hatred has historically has resulted in great suffering for the Jewish people.

Assad's remarks were particularly jarring as they followed the Pope's message of reconciliation among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Throughout his papacy, Pope John Paul II has worked to enhance relations between people of different faiths.

We urge the international community and religious leaders around the world, especially the Pope, not to remain silent in the face of such anti-Jewish incitement and denounce this dangerous effort to sow discord against the Jews.

In his speech in Damascus welcoming the Pope, President Assad criticized Israel and Jews, saying: "They tried to kill the principles of all religions with the same mentality in which they betrayed Jesus Christ and the same way they tried to betray and kill the Prophet Muhammad."

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.

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