Abe Foxman Rides Again

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Abe Foxman is at it again. The publicity-seeking head of the Anti-Defamation League recently wrote to Israel’s Chief Rabbis urging them to condemn the phenomenon of yeshiva students in Jerusalem’s Old City attacking Christians. Only one such incident, however, has been reported, in which a teenager studying at a national religious high school (who was wrongly described by the New York Times as “fervently Orthodox”), spat at a Greek Orthodox clergyman. The boy subsequently apologized.

Journalist Diane DuBrow asked Laura Kam, the director of the ADL’s Jerusalem office, whether the office possessed any documentation of any other such incidents. Kam replied that she had no such documentation.

It appears that Foxman was just seeking a little more air time at the expense of religious Jews.

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5 Responses

  1. Shmarya says:

    Without supporting Abe Foxman, whose conduct is often reprehensible, as a former resident of the Old City I can testify to many incidents of boorish behavior by Orthodox Jews of all affiliations toward Christian priests.

  2. Jeff Ballabon says:

    This isn’t even a close one, imho. One nameless dope does something and our community rushes to disclaim it. Contrast that to the ADL – an organization which spits on, vilifies, condemns, harasses, etc., believing Christians on a regular basis…for fun, fame and fortune.

    Fear not – at least in the US, while the “mainstream” (i.e., Lefty Christians Adlerstein worries about) Christian groups might get annoyed about the yeshiva kid, they don’t particularly like us Orthos anyway. The Christians who do admire Jews and want to help and support Israel – well they “get it” anyway. This can be apologized for; ADL cannot.

    In the end, it is just more evidence that the divide is less about sectarianism than about secular v religious.

  3. Joe Schick says:

    Haaretz – admittedly far from unbiased – reported that spitting on Christians in the Old City is routine. Apparently the Armenian Archbishop also took the position that he was fed up with being spit on and therefore lost his temper and slapped the kid.

    I can personally attest to the fact that on succos while walking back through the Kotel in the Arab shuk, the behavior of a few American observant Jews (probably in their 30’s) toward the Arabs was moronic.

  4. Jonathan Rosenblum says:

    The New York Times uses fervently Ortthodox as a synonym for chareidi, which is unintelligible to most of its readers. They switched from ultra-Orthodox in response to complaints that the term “ultra” is inherently pejorative. I was only noting that the boy in question was not chareidi nor did he learn in a chareidi yeshiva, and so the terminology was misleading.

    I don’t remember the Times story mentioning more than one person spit on. Of course, the kid was an idiot and created a massive chilul Hashem. But is one incident enough to constitute a phenomenon, as the ADL press release alleges, and requires the Chief Rabbis to issue proclamations?

  5. Joe Schick says:

    The spitting was actually directed at the Armenian Archbishop of Jerusalem, Nourhan Manougian, by a yeshiva student at Har Hamor, a religious Zionist yeshiva. An older man spat at a Greek Orthodox clergyman in a separate incident.

    Re: the Times’ use of the term “ferverntly Orthodox,” why is that “wrongly describ[ing]” the yeshiva student. Does one have to identify as charedi to be called “ultra-Orthodox” or the less offensive “fervently Orthodox?” Can’t one be fervent in their Orthodoxy and not charedi? And if not, what is the litmus test for being charedi, – is it not going to the IDF, self-identification, or something else?

    In any event, Foxman might be going overboard, but the stupid kid at Har Hamor created a worldwide chilul hashem, and there hasn’t been sufficient condemnation given the publicity. If you do a Google search of the incident, you’ll see that it’s been exploited by neo-Nazis like David Duke and self-hating Jews like Israel Shachak to attack Judaism and Israel.