Posted Monday, February 12, 2001

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Monday, February 12 2001 08:28 19 Shevat 5761

ADL leader: Arab hatred tolerated

By Elli Wohlgelernter

JERUSALEM (February 12) - Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, has called for a united effort of the organized Diaspora Jewish community and the State of Israel to hold the Arab world answerable to the higher standard of intolerance applied to Western countries.

Foxman"I believe the time has come, especially when there is a renewed realization of the cost of hate and the price of hate for which we are paying in this neighborhood, that we need as a community and Israel as a country to have a much higher standard of intolerance for comments and statements and the appearance of antisemitism in the Arab world," Foxman said.

He said that for many reasons, the organized Jewish community and Israel were guilty in the past of a double standard of viewing antisemitism in the Western world and the Arab world.

"Somehow we were a little bit more tolerant, or we rationalized antisemitism in the Arab world - after all, it's linked to a political conflict, it is intermingled with anti-Israel feelings," Foxman said. Now, however, "we have to have them as accountable as we have made France, or Russia, or Italy, or Hungary - I think the same standards should apply. We should demand that the government speak out and condemn it, and when not, in the same way that consequences have been applied to other parts of the world where there has been no response, I think it should apply here."

Foxman cited as an example how the ADL has testified in Congress that money earmarked for Egypt should be put in escrow until the government takes a stand against antisemitism there.

He cited as another example of antisemitism in the Arab world the re-emergence of Holocaust denial, culminating later this month with a Holocaust denial conference in Beirut. The event is being held under the auspices of the California-based Institute of Historical Review, the leading American association of Holocaust deniers. This will be the first major organized conference on Holocaust denial held in an Arabic-speaking country.

"Holocaust denial, in the early years, the '50s and '60s, was a major theme in the Arab world, and then it gave way to Zionism-racism, and it almost disappeared," Foxman said. "In recent years, more frequently in the last two, three, four years, there is a resurgence of Holocaust denial in the Arab world, partially out of a frustration of deniers in the US and Europe, who are having difficulty making inroads. So it has found a new fertile ground in the Arab world. It's something we should begin to challenge."

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