ADL head slams Bush administrationBy Ha'aretz Service, Thursday, October 25, 2001
The National Director of the Anti-Defamation League in the United States, Abe Foxman, blasted the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday for "issuing orders" to Israel to withdraw IDF troops from Palestinian-controlled cities in the West Bank.
"The language of the state department several days ago was nasty and issuing orders," Foxman said in an interview on Channel Two Television. "One country does not issue orders to a friend and ally especially [on issues] as critical as how to defend ones citizens from violence and attacks," he said.
When asked if the recent visit to Washington by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had been successful in making the administration more tolerant of Israel's position, Foxman said: "The rhetoric has been lowered."
He said that although he believed talks behind closed doors "were a lot mellower and more understanding than the public pronouncements," he still felt that the official public pronouncements were problematic, "because publicly a disagreement of this nature between Israel and its friend the United States delivers the wrong message to the Arab world and certainly to the Palestinians."
Foxman said he believed the damage done to U.S.-Israel ties could be repaired. "The President can find opportunities to say things, so can the Secretary of State and I think that if we [the American Jewish community] continue to prod them, then it may happen," he said. "They [the Bush administration] want a united America, they want a united American Jewish community in support of the war on terrorism."
Foxman said that the nature of Israel's national unity government had at times resulted in multiple messages: "The bad thing [about the coalition] is that from time to time different voices speak on behalf of Israel. I believe there was a misunderstanding as to what Israel's mission was in going into the West Bank cities. Whether it was to topple [Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser] Arafat or whether it was to eliminate those who have been murdering Israelis," he said.
In order to overcome this problem, Foxman said Israel "should limit
its communication to people with authority and not permit its
ministers to be all over the place with all kinds of positions... It
needs discipline, a lot more discipline than we've seen in the past."