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Statement on 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Mary Robinson

New York, NY, August 3, 2009 ... Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, today issued the following statement regarding the awarding of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson:

The awarding of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson as an "agent of change" was ill-advised.

While Mary Robinson may have accomplishments to her credit, she also, unfortunately, has an animus toward Israel as evidenced by her tenure as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Rather than be constructive and act objectively on Middle East issues, she became a lead cheerleader for the Palestinian narrative.

She issued distorted and detrimental reports on the conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and blamed Israel for the outbreak of Palestinian violence the Second Intifada. As the convener of the 2001 U.N. World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, she allowed the process to be hijacked to promote the delegitimizing of Israel and pronouncements of hateful anti-Jewish canards, such as "Zionism is racism."  She failed miserably in her leadership role, opting to join the anti-Israel forces rather than temper them.

Ms. Robinson has been quoted as saying, "On the Palestinian side, they are the victims, etc. On the Israeli side, they feel they are the victims, in some measure ("Democracy Now," Pacifica Radio, Feb. 25, 2009). Because she has not moved away from her anti-Israel bias, she is not an "agent of change" and is undeserving of America's highest civilian honor.

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2009 Anti-Defamation League