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Abraham Foxman at an Anti-Defamation League event

Abe Foxman: My Support for Israel May Now Be Conditional

Abe Foxman, the past Anti-Defamation League leader who long has said that nothing could separate him from support for Israel, now says the leaders of an "extreme" party could do the trick if they get their way in coalition talks with incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I never thought that I would reach that point where I would say that my support of Israel is conditional,” Foxman said in an interview published Friday, December 2, by Israeli media.

“I’ve always said that [my support of Israel] is unconditional, but it’s conditional. I don’t think that it’s a horrific condition to say: ‘I love Israel and I want to love Israel as a Jewish and democratic state that respects pluralism.’”

“If Israel ceases to be an open democracy, I won’t be able to support it,” he said. Foxman said his outlook reflected that of the larger Jewish community — but added that he was optimistic Netanyahu would not let the leaders of Otzma Yehudit, the party accused of extremism, assuming a role in the incoming government, make drastic changes.

“I think he’s sensitive and smart enough to listen, to see the very serious concerns that [American Jews] have” said Foxman, who retired from the ADL in 2015, 50 years after first joining the organization.

He pointed to an interview Netanyahu had recently, in which the incoming prime minister said he would not allow the excesses counseled by the right-wing party leaders including Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Avi Maoz. (INN / VFI News)