Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Keynotes ADL Leadership Meeting
ADL Celebrates Israel at 60
Experts Discuss Catholic-Jewish Relations, Peace Process, Iran
New York, NY, April 17, 2008 … In an address to the Anti-Defamation League's 2008 National Leadership Conference, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen P. Breyer pointed to an Israeli court decision outlawing torture as a commendable ruling that addressed the complicated legal and moral issues surrounding the use of aggressive interrogation with terrorism suspects.
In a country that has dealt with many terrorist attacks, Justice Breyer said, Israel's Supreme Court determined nine years ago that torture was inappropriate, even in situations where a terror attack was imminent. "We can understand why someone might want to engage in this activity, but we are judges and if we are judges, no torture," said Justice Breyer. "Absolutely none." (view video excerpt)
Justice Breyer was the keynote speaker for ADL's Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Conference, held April 13-15, which brought nearly 500 ADL leaders from across the country to Washington, D.C. for a series of briefings from legislators, civil rights leaders, ambassadors and foreign policy experts. The meeting was chaired by Richard D. Barton, ADL National Leadership Chair, and included remarks from Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair.
The ADL delegates were welcomed with a video address from President George W. Bush in which he praised the League as one of America's great civil rights organizations and "a leading voice for freedom and equality."
Israeli Ambassador on Iran: 'Time is Running Out'
"One of the major threats that the world is facing today is from Iran," said Sallai Meridor, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, in an address to the ADL leaders. "We see today a regime that is repressing human rights, a regime that is executing homosexuals. We have a regime that spreads hatred throughout the world, that demonizes the West and spreads hatred of Israel and the U.S."
Ambassador Meridor said Iran is moving closer to obtaining the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons and is a major financier and supporter of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
"The question anymore is not, 'What is the intention of Iran,'" said Ambassador Meridor. "The question today is 'What is the international community going to do.' This is the challenge that the world is facing, and time is running out."
Celebrating Israel at 60: Personal Reflections
In honor of Israel's 60th anniversary year, a panel of distinguished experts on Israel and the Middle East offered personal reflections about key moments in the history of the Jewish State. Ambassador Samuel W. Lewis, the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, shared memories of President Jimmy Carter's attempts to broker a peace between Egypt and Israel in the 1970s, and of Lewis' first encounter with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Shmuel Rosner, Chief U.S. Correspondent for Haaretz, recalled his military service in southern Lebanon and described some of his experiences as a young journalist working in Tel Aviv during the Persian Gulf War. Dr. Haim Shaked, Director of the Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami, recalled what it was like growing up in Israel in the years immediately after independence and the struggles and growing pains faced by the fledgling state. The "Israel at 60" panel was moderated by David Makovsky, Director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Surrogates Speak for the Presidential Candidates
Surrogates for each of the presidential candidates offered perspectives on the issues shaping the race for the presidency and answered questions about their candidates' positions during a special forum on the race to the White House. Participating in the surrogates' forum were Congressman Stephen Cohen, D-TN, representing Senator Barack Obama; R. James Woolsey Jr., the former CIA Director, representing the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain; and Ann Lewis, a Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton for President, representing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Catholic-Jewish Relations on the Eve of the Pope's Visit
On the eve of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S., ADL honored a pioneer in repairing the Catholic Church's relations with the Jewish people. Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore was presented with the ADL Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award in recognition of his enduring work in promoting Catholic-Jewish dialogue and partnerships. The award was part of a special session devoted to Catholic-Jewish relations, which included remarks by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, who discussed his upcoming meetings with the Pope, and Ginger Thompson, the Dean of Student Activities at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, who described her involvement in ADL's Bearing Witness Program.
Perspectives from Inside the Beltway
ADL's leadership conference included an insider's view of some of the major issues facing Congress and the country in this important election year. Offering views from Capitol Hill were Congressman Roy Blunt, R-MO, the House Minority Whip, and Congressman Steny Hoyer, D-MD, the House Majority Leader. A political pundits' forum looking at politics and the presidential campaign included analysis from Ron Brownstein, Political Director of the Atlantic Media Group, and Amy Walter, the Editor in Chief of Hotline.
Spanish Diplomat Honored for Saving Jews
ADL posthumously honored a Spanish diplomat who courageously risked his life to save hundreds of Jews and others during the Holocaust. Eduardo Propper de Callejón was presented with the ADL Courage to Care Award. The award was accepted by Eduardo's son, Felipe Propper de Cajellón. The Spanish Ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Carlos Westendorp, offered remarks about the honor to his fellow countryman.
Issues on ADL's Agenda Discussed
Participants in ADL's Leadership Conference also heard from a broad array of experts on issues at the forefront of ADL's agenda in special workshops:
- "Implosion, Stability or Reform: What's Next in the Middle East?" with remarks from Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy; and Ambassador Edward S. Walker Jr., Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professorship of Global Political Theory, Hamilton College.
- "Advocating for Fair Treatment of Immigrants" with remarks from Cecilia Muñoz, Senior Vice President of the National Council of La Raza; and Adam Taylor, Director of Campaigns and Organizing, Sojourners.
- "Having Faith in Religious Liberty: Differing Views on What's Good for America" with Steven T. McFarland, Director, Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, and Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Executive Director, Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
- "Fighting Terrorism & Protecting Civil Liberties," featuring Jeffrey Breinholt, Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Law, International Assessment and Strategy Center; Elisa Massimino, Washington Director, Human Rights First; and Benjamin Wittes, Fellow and Research Director in Public Law, Brookings Institution.
- "ADL & Law Enforcement: Partnerships to Counter Terrorism and Organized Hate Groups" included a presentation by Assistant Chief Patrick A. Burke of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police's Homeland Security Bureau and David Friedman, ADL Director of Law Enforcement Initiatives.
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.