ADL Denounces Top Israeli Politicians' Presence at anti-Arab Book Party

The Anti-Defamation League took to Twitter on Friday to call on Israel's leaders to 'reject this hateful rhetoric'

Likud Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, May 17, 2017.
Marc Israel Sellem

WASHINGTON - The Anti-Defamation League on Friday denounced  the participation of senior members of Likud, Israel's ruling party, at an event celebrating a racist book that rails against Israel's Arab citizens.

The event, first reported by Haaretz on Thursday, was held a day earlier and was attended by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Coalition Chairman David Bitan, who is considered especially close to Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

The book, titled "The Arab Minority in Israel: Open and Hidden Processes," has been heavily criticized for containing numerous prejudiced accusations against Israel's Arab citizens, as well as a number of factual errors. At one point, the book's author, Prof. Raphael Israeli, laments the fact that Arabs in Israel aren't being incarcerated in camps like the ones built for Japanese-American citizens during World War II. 

"This is dangerous and inhumane," the ADL wrote on its official Twitter account. "All of us, including Israeli leaders, have a duty to reject this hateful rhetoric." In an earlier tweet, the organization stated that it condemns the "participation of Likud Minister Katz, Coalition Chair Bitan & [Member of Knesset] Zohar in event for book calling Israeli Arabs parasites." 

The ADL is one of the leading organizations in the United States that combats anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. The organization released a similar tweet in Hebrew on its Israeli branch's account, denouncing the event and the fact that senior officials from Israel's elected government participated in it. As of Friday evening, other U.S. Jewish groups have not spoken out on the matter.