As I prepare to transfer the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League to the next generation, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to live a life of purpose through my work for ADL. I came to ADL exactly 50 years ago, fresh out of law school and fueled with passion to fight for the safety and security of the Jewish people.
As a child of the Holocaust who was hidden by my Polish-Catholic nanny and then miraculously reunited with my parents, I chose a mission to ensure that what happened during World War II would never happen again. The experiences of my childhood coupled with the lessons my parents taught me inspired a lifelong commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry and oppression.
I also owe a great debt of thanks to you and to the generations of ADL supporters whose generosity and partnership helped build ADL into the highly respected and influential organization it is today. Together, you and I—and so many others—have improved the world in significant and lasting ways.
What We’ve Accomplished
Freeing America from the economic, political and social restraints of anti-Semitism is without question ADL’s most remarkable achievement. During my tenure, ADL strengthened and sustained the sense of security and inclusiveness that Jews in America uniquely enjoy—particularly by expanding our reach internationally and across religious and ethnic lines.
The capacity for ADL to be effective in capitals throughout the world, as we are today, is a major gain for the security of Jews everywhere. Last summer, for example, after a shocking and sustained upsurge of anti-Semitic violence in Europe, ADL called upon world leaders to speak out and stand up for their Jewish communities—and they did.
And while it was always ADL’s mission to fight bigotry of all kinds, over the past few decades we have put even more emphasis on reaching out to others—Hispanics, African Americans, Muslims—who are also the targets of prejudice and discrimination. With so much divisiveness afoot in this country, ADL’s work to bring people together is essential to the safety of all Americans.
More must be done to address the resurgence of global anti-Semitism. We cannot have Jews once again become scapegoats for failing economies, nor can we allow the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to be used as an excuse for anti-Semitism. ADL’s voice and credibility are absolutely critical in this arena.
And that brings me to my successor and what’s next for ADL.
Introducing Jonathan Greenblatt
On July 21, Jonathan Greenblatt will become ADL’s next National Director. He will be writing to you himself, but I want to say here that I am confident that he’s the right person to lead ADL at this time. He started out in ADL’s young leadership program and his extensive experience in building socially conscious businesses and creating innovative public-private partnerships will uniquely benefit ADL going forward.
I urge you to move forward with Jonathan and ADL. With so much chaos and division in the world, the need for a strong ADL is as great as ever. I will remain part of the leadership team here at ADL, continuing to give my counsel and keeping our sights aimed at fighting anti-Semitism and protecting the Jewish people.
It has been a unique privilege for me to have spent my entire professional life working for this wonderful and vital organization. My years at ADL, particularly the last 28 as National Director, could not have been more rewarding—or more challenging. I know ADL’s best days are ahead of it. Thank you again for all you have done to support ADL over the years. I am immensely grateful for your generosity and participation.
Abraham H. Foxman