The Foxman File

The Foxman File

Abe Foxman has been at the center of many controversies over the years. Here are some of the most debated decisions that define his tenure at ADL.

n The New Anti-Semitism: His warning early in the second intifada that anti-Israel sentiment in Europe was morphing into a new form of anti-Semitism was prescient.

n Swastika Nuance: Saying the Nazi symbol wasn’t automatically a display of anti-Semitism was one of his most counterintuitive decisions. He argued that it had become a symbol of generalized hatred, and not always anti-Jewish.

n Tone-deaf on Armenian Genocide?: His back-and-forth on whether the Armenian tragedy from 1915 was indeed a genocide was widely criticized, though he argued that acknowledging it could have endangered Jews in Turkey and could have compromised Israeli-Turkish relations. The argument fell flat, especially coming from a Holocaust survivor.

n Mosque at Ground Zero: Backing the right of Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero — but not too near — was an example of his splitting the difference on thorny decisions.

n Most Operatic Compromise: He convinced the Metropolitan Opera to cancel the worldwide simulcast of John Adams’ “The Death of Klinghoffer” while stopping short of saying it was anti-Semitic (he also admitted he’d never seen the work). The Met’s decision irked both the artistic community and the Jewish right.

n The Passion of the Abe: His over-the-top criticism of Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” may have helped spur box-office sales. And his prediction that the film would unleash widespread anti-Semitism never materialized.

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