ADL Commends FBI Director's Retraction of Statement that Brooklyn Bridge Shooting "Stemmed From Road Rage" Urges It Be Classified as an Act of Terrorism
New York, NY, April 28, 1999
The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) has written the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to acknowledge the Bureaus
mistake in stating the murder of an Hasidic youth on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1994
"stemmed from road rage." The League had expressed its concern over the
FBIs mischaracterization of this vicious hate crime in an April 20 letter, urging it
be classified as an act of terrorism.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said, "I commend Director Louis Freeh
for acknowledging that the Bureau made a mistake when it characterized the attack on a van
of Hasidic youth, in which Ari Halberstam was murdered, a case of road
rage." However, Mr. Foxman said he disagrees with the FBIs conclusion
that the ambush of a van full of Jewish youth by an Arab militant on March 1, 1994, was
not an act of terrorism.
"It is disturbing," Mr. Foxman said, " that the FBI refuses to classify
this vicious crime as an act of terrorism. Virtually every aspect of the attack suggests
it should be properly classified as a ruthless act of terrorist vengeance. The target of
the attack -- a van full of identifiably Jewish youth -- and the timing of the attack --
in the wake of the Hebron massacre in Israel -- compel the conclusion that the shooting
was an act of terrorism." Mr. Foxman noted that, "in light of convicted murderer
Rashid Bazs statement at sentencing that the shooting clearly was an act of
terrorism, we strongly disagree with the FBIs conclusion that the attack was
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.