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Press ReleaseTerrorism-Domestic
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 Bureau’s 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 FBI’s 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 FBI’s 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 Baz’s statement at sentencing that the shooting ‘clearly was an act of terrorism,’ we strongly disagree with the FBI’s conclusion that the attack was anything less."

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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1999 Anti-Defamation League