Former Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abraham Foxman is set to join Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies as a distinguished nonresident fellow, tackling issues of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli activity, the institute announced Wednesday.
The INSS is a Tel Aviv-based think tank that researches issues of security, diplomacy and Middle East policy, and employs former politicians, security experts and other public officials to provide insight and expertise on such matters.
“I’ve always seen Abe as an undeclared leader of the American Jewish community and a leading global figure on matters of human dignity and moral conduct,” INSS director Amos Yadlin, a retired IDF major general, said.
“Abe’s broad array of relationships, which includes senior government officials in the United States, senior religious officials at the Vatican, and heads of state from around the world, will greatly strengthen our ability to engage in and promote vital public policy research,” Yadlin said.
“His unique, lifelong experience in combating anti-Semitism will be an important contribution, especially as Israel fends off the anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement that aims to undermine its legitimacy and threaten its security.”
Foxman served as ADL chief for over 28 years before retiring earlier this year.
He has taken the position that criticism of Israel is not inherently anti-Jewish. But he has also said such condemnation often crosses the line into bigotry when it fixates on the wrongdoings of Israel while ignoring positive developments. However, he has said the BDS movement is “99 percent of the time” anti-Semitic (BDS leaders say their battle is against Israel and the occupation, not Jews, and they deny any bias).
During his tenure as ADL chief, he faced some criticism for putting many resources into non-Jewish issues. Under him, the organization built a formidable research arm into white supremacists and other extremists, advocated for immigrant and gay rights, conducted diversity training for law enforcement and developed programs for schools on issues ranging from the Holocaust to the 1964 Civil Rights Act to the impact of bullying.
Foxman has explained he believes one cannot fight one form of defamation without fighting others.
AP contributed to this report.