New York, NY, May 24, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today harshly criticized the editor's introduction to the first-ever Arabic translation of the Talmud for propagating age-old anti-Semitic concepts about Jews and Judaism, and called on the Jordanian government to step in and take action.
The translation, published by the Middle East Studies Center (MESC), a Jordan-based think tank, features an introduction that repeatedly distorts and takes out of context certain passages in the Talmud, including the selective use of quotations leaving the misleading impression of a pervasive attitude of antipathy toward non-Jews mandated by Jewish religious law and teachings. Included among the baseless conclusions in the introduction are charges that the Talmud promotes trickery, cheating and the murder of non-Jews.
The Talmud is a sacred collection of Jewish law, ethics, philosophy and history.
"It is alarming that this Middle East Studies Center publication contains overt distortions of Jewish religious law, Judaism and the Jewish people," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Anti-Talmud tracts were originally developed in the Middle Ages as Christian polemics against Judaism, but today they emanate from a variety of Christian, Muslim and secular sources. Sometimes such 'studies' have blatantly anti-Semitic tones; sometimes they are more subtle. Yet all of them remain as false and pernicious today as they were in the Middle Ages."
The introduction to this Talmud translation also engages in incitement against Israel by falsely claiming that the Jewish State pursues racist policies as prescribed by the Talmud. ADL obtained the introduction from the MESC web site and translated it.
In a letter to Alia Hatoug-Bouran, the Jordanian Ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Foxman urged the Jordanian government to take action to ensure that the volume is not used to teach hatred of Jews and Israel.
"We believe a responsible Arabic translation of this sacred collection of Jewish law, ethics, philosophy and history, has great value, and could have an enormous positive impact on promoting understanding of Judaism within the Arab world. Unfortunately, we fear that the introduction to the MESC publication will negate that value and serve instead to vilify and defame through its overt distortions of Jews and Judaism."
Mr. Foxman asked that Jordan "take appropriate steps to assure that these dangerous and defamatory mischaracterizations of Judaism and Jews are corrected."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.