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December 26, 2018 1:21 pm

Anti-Defamation League Lists Beacons of Hope and Extremes of Hate in Overview of 2018

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Maria Lila Meza Castro (C), a 39-year-old migrant woman from Honduras runs away from tear gas with her five-year-old twin daughters in front of the border wall between the US and Mexico, in Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 25, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon.

In a sign of the politically febrile times in which we live, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) this week released a list of the most hopeful moments of 2018 — alongside the most hateful.

The veteran Jewish civil rights organization assembled ten moments of hope from the past year, which saw a steep rise in antisemitism and other forms of bigotry around the world.

At number one on the ADL’s list were the American Muslim associations who raised more than $200,000 for the victims and families of the Oct. 27 massacre of 11 Jews at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue by neo-Nazi gunman Robert Bowers.

The ADL also paid special tribute to Johns Hopkins graduate student Shay Khatiri, who raised $1.2 million for the synagogue with a GoFundMe campaign. “A political refugee from Iran who is a practicing Muslim, Khatiri was motivated to take this step after his Jewish friends shared with him the news of the tragedy,” the ADL explained.

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The ADL then paid tribute to a group of Holocaust survivors who publicly spoke out against US President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, which led to the separation of hundreds of migrant children from their parents on America’s southern border.

“The group of Holocaust survivors, now in their 70s and 80s, raised their voices, not to draw a comparison with the singular tragedy of the Shoah, but instead to show support for these migrant families by speaking out on a video that went viral and in interviews with the news media about the severe and lasting trauma they endured as a consequence of their own forced separation,” the ADL said.

Other moments of “hope” included the unprecedented sight of Israeli judo athletes competing under the flag of the Jewish state in the United Arab Emirates, along with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ad campaign for sports brand Nike, which the ADL said had “highlighted individuals who overcame adversity to succeed and used their success to break boundaries in other areas of society.”

In its overview of antisemitic and racist incidents over the last year, the ADL underscored the alarming rise of anti-Jewish violence in Europe, especially in France and Germany. “In France, the country was shocked when an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, Mireille Knoll, was stabbed to death and left to burn in her apartment by two Muslim suspects who targeted her because she was Jewish,” the ADL said. “And in Germany, two men were whipped with a belt in broad daylight by three assailants who targeted them because one also was wearing a kippah.”

The ADL also pointed out that Iran’s Islamist regime “remains the leading exporter of anti-Semitism and the number one state sponsor of terror worldwide.”

“The Islamic Republic continues to provide financial support and training for terror groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and others,” the ADL underlined.

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