Abraham Foxman

Abraham Foxman

Infobox Person
name = Abraham Foxman

caption =
birth_date = 1940
birth_place = Baranowicz, Poland
death_date =
death_place =
other_names =
known_for =
occupation = Director, Anti-Defamation League
nationality = Polish-American

Abraham Foxman is the current National Director and chairman of the Anti-Defamation League.

Early life

Foxman, an only son, was born in Baranowicz, Poland to Polish-Jewish parents.Marquis' "Who's Who in America", 60th Diamond Ed. (2006) 2: 1358.]

Foxman's parents left him with his Polish Catholic nanny Bronislawa Kurpi in 1940 when they were ordered to enter a ghetto. Foxman was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church as Henryk Stanislas Kurpi, and raised as a Catholic in Vilnius, Lithuania between 1940 and 1944 when (after several legal custody battles) he was returned to his parents.cite web |url=http://www.adl.org/education/holocaust/foxman_bio.asp |title=Biography of Abraham Foxman |accessdate=2008-02-21 |format= |work= ]

Education and career

Foxman emigrated to the United States in 1950 with his parents.Marquis' "Who's Who" 2: 1358.] He graduated from Yeshivah of Flatbush, in Brooklyn, New York. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the City College of New York and graduated with honors in history. Foxman also holds a law degree from the New York University School of Law. He did graduate work in Jewish studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and in international economics at New York's New School University.

Abraham Foxman joined the Anti-Defamation League in 1965 in its international affairs division. In 1987, he was the consensus choice of the Board to become its new National Director, replacing long-time director Nathan Perlmutter.cite web |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/14/magazine/14foxman.t.html?ex=1326430800&en=77197844505698f3&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss |title=Does Abe Foxman Have an Anti-Semite Problem? |accessdate=2008-02-21 |author=James Traub |publisher=New York Times |date=2007-01-14 |format= |work= ]


Foxman has been awarded several honors from non-profit groups, religious figures and statesmen. In 1998 Foxman received the Interfaith Committee of Remembrance Lifetime Achievement Award "as a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism, bigotry and discrimination." [ [http://www.holocaust-concerts.org/honorees.html "Humanitarian Award Winners: Lifetime Achievement Award Winners: 1998,"] "Interfaith Committee of Remembrance", accessed January 19, 2007.] Foxman won the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Leadership Award on April 18, 2002 from the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. [ [http://www.ramapo.edu/news/pressreleases/2002/02_08_2002.html "Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham H. Foxman is Recipient of Wallenberg Humanitarian Award,"] "Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies" (News Release Archives), press release February 8, 2002, accessed January 19, 2007.]

On October 16, 2006 Foxman was awarded as Knight of the Legion of Honor by Jacques Chirac, the President of France at the time. This award is France's highest civilian honor. [cite journal |author=Associated Press |date=2006-10-16 |title=French President Chirac Urges Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism |journal=Haaretz |url=http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/775534.html]

On a May 22,2008 ceremony, Foxman was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Yeshiva University by Richard Joel, the presiding president of Yeshiva University.


upport for gay rights

Foxman's support for gay rights in America placed him at odds with many Orthodox Jews. Concerning the former, which involved his protest in 2000-2001 of a case (Boy Scouts of America v. Dale) in which "the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America could exclude a gay scoutmaster because of his sexual orientation"; it was reported that "For many Jewish groups that work with the Boy Scouts -- mainly Reform temples and Jewish community centers -- the ensuing year has been marked by soul-searching, as they grappled with whether they should end their ties to the organization because of the organization's stance on gays," and that "Within the Jewish community, Orthodox groups supported the ruling, saying civic organizations should be empowered to determine their own message -- but most Jewish organizations condemned it as endorsing discrimination." According to that report published a year later, in 2001, "the Anti-Defamation League's national director, Abraham Foxman, and its national chairman, Howard Berkowitz, said in a statement at the time: "We are stunned that in the year 2000 the Supreme Court could issue such a decision.... This decision effectively states that as long as an organization avows an anti-homosexual position, it is free to discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans." [As qtd. by Sharon Samber (for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency), [http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/16416/edition_id/322/format/html/displaystory.html "Jews Pained by Anti-Gay Scouts a Year After Court Ruling,"] "The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California" (formerly the "Jewish Bulletin of Northern California"), February 13, 2001, accessed January 19, 2007.]

Criticism of Jimmy Carter

In October 2006, representing the ADL, Foxman protested former President Jimmy Carter's book "", saying that in the book Carter is "engaging in anti-Semitism.James D. Besser, [http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=13420 "Jewish Criticism of Carter Intensifies:] Charge of Anti-Semitism from One Leader as Ex-president Deepens His Critique of Israeli Policy in West Bank," "The Jewish Week" December 15, 2005, accessed January 8, 2007.] As quoted a month later, in interview remarks cited for an article by James Traub published in "The New York Times Magazine", Foxman says that he is, nevertheless, not calling the former president an "anti-Semite".cite web |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/14/magazine/14foxman.t.html?ex=1326430800&en=77197844505698f3&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss |title=Does Abe Foxman Have an Anti-Semite Problem? |accessdate=2008-02-21 |author=James Traub |publisher=New York Times |date=2007-01-14 |format= |work= ]

Israel Lobby position

Foxman wrote a book in response to Professor's John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walts book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy", entitled " where, in the opinion of some, he "demolishes a number of shibboleths . . . a rebuttal of a pernicious theory about a mythically powerful Jewish lobby." [citeweb |url=http://www.amazon.com/dp/1403984921 |title=Book review |author=Publishers Weekly |publisher=Amazon.com |date=September 4, 2007] Former Secretary of State George Shultz wrote in the Forward to the book, "... the notion. U.S. policy on Israel and Middle East is the result of their influence is simply wrong." [citebook |title=The Deadlist Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control |author=Abraham Foxman |publisher=Palgrave MacMillan |date=September 4, 2007 ] Despite this, the book has gone on to become a New York Times bestseller.

Criticism of Mel Gibson

Abe Foxman has received criticism from Jewish and non-Jewish quarters for his antagonist approach to the 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ" and its director Mel Gibson. [cite web |url= http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5092/is_/ai_n18526314
title= The Passion Of Abe Foxman; Was the ADL leader's aggressive criticism of Mel Gibson's film a major misstep?
last= Rosenblatt
publisher= The Jewish Week
] In September 2003, during the pre-release controversy, Foxman called Gibson "the portrait of an anti-Semite," [cite web |url= http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5092/is_200309/ai_n18525832
title= Foxman: Gibson Spewing 'Anti-Semitism'; ADL leader says statements by 'The Passion' director 'paint the portrait of an anti-Semite.'
first=Eric J.
last= Greenberg
publisher= The Jewish Week
] although the next day he said, "I'm not ready to say he's an anti-Semite." [cite web
title= Actor accused of anti-Semitism
last= Zoll
publisher= The Associated Press
] . Foxman was also criticized for his initial response to Gibson’s apology for his behavior during his 2006 DUI arrest and for giving second billing to the July 2006 Seattle Jewish Federation shooting that occurred on the same day. [cite web |url= http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-gibson1aug01chafets,1,4609840.story
title= Slurring more than his words
last= Chafets
publisher= The Los Angeles Times
] Foxman accepted Gibson’s second apology, although he has continued to censure Gibson publicly; saying in 2008, "In his heyday, he was No. 1 in Hollywood, the most sought-after star, the people’s choice, the icon. Then he revealed himself as an anti-Semite, and look where he is today. That’s the beauty of America." [cite web
url= http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/34931/format/html/displaystory.html
title= Taking aim: ADL top gun keeps shooting down ‘deadliest’ anti-Semitic rhetoric
last= Pine
publisher= The Jewish news weekly of Northern California

Armenian Genocide

In July 2007, Foxman's opposition to a congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide drew much criticism. “I don't think congressional action will help reconcile the issue. The resolution takes a position; it comes to a judgment,” said Foxman in a statement issued to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “The Turks and Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn't be the arbiter of that history, nor should the U.S. Congress." Sharistan Melkonian, chairwoman of the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts, accused Foxman of engaging in "genocide denial" in an interview with the Boston Globe. [cite web |url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/08/01/antibias_effort_stirs_anger_in_watertown/?page=1 |title=Antibias effort stirs anger in Watertown. |author=Keith O'Brien |publisher=The Boston Globe |date= January 8, 2007] Various New England communities threatened to sever ties with the ADL-sponsored "No Place for Hate" program in response. [cite web
title=ADL local leader fired on Armenian issue: Genocide question sparked bitter debate
publisher=The Boston Globe
] In August 2007, Foxman publicly affirmed the position of the Anti-Defamation League, "that the consequences of [the Ottoman government's] actions were indeed tantamount to genocide," but that a United States Congressional recognition of this history was unnecessary and not helpful. [cite web
title=Abe Foxman: the Armenian massacre was 'tantamount to genocide'
first=Israel Insider
publisher=Israel Insider
] [cite web
title=ADL chief bows to critics: Foxman cites rift, calls Armenian deaths genocide
publisher=The Boston Globe
] He went on to state, "we continue to firmly believe that a Congressional Resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians. We will not hesitate to apply the term 'genocide' in the future." Foxman additionally sent a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressing regret over the difficulty his position caused for the government of Turkey: "We had no intention to put the Turkish people or its leaders in a difficult position." [cite web
title=ADL insistent on 'genocide claim'
publisher=The Jewish Advocate

Protestants and Catholics

Foxman has stated that Protestant evangelizing to Jews (Jews for Jesus) was entirely different from Catholics praying for Jewish conversion, which the ADL has sharply criticized : “They did not have the Inquisition. They did not go on a Crusade. They did not kill Jews for 2,000 years. They have a belief; they’re entitled to their belief.” [ [http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/05/sarah_palin_good_for_the_jews.html] ]


*"The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control", Palgrave MacMillan, ISBN 1403984921, ISBN 0230604048

ee also

* Tony Judt speech cancellation controversy


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