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Contact: Philip Berroll | (212) 885-7700

ADL MOURNS DEATH OF KING HUSSEIN AS COURAGEOUS LEADER AND PASSIONATE ADVOCATE FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE

New York, NY, February 7, 1999: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today that “the world has suffered the loss of a courageous leader and passionate advocate of Arab-Israeli peace” with the death of King Hussein of Jordan. In 1996, the King was honored with ADL’s Joseph Prize for Human Rights for “ending the enmity, sorrow and bloodshed of over four decades of war between Jordan and Israel” and “making a longtime enemy into a new friend.”

“King Hussein’s reign began with Jordan a public enemy of the State of Israel, and ends with the relationship between Jordan and Israel standing as the greatest example of Arab-Israeli reconciliation and coexistence,” said Howard P. Berkowitz, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in a joint statement. “His drive for peace was often conducted behind the scenes, in his longtime secret negotiations with Israel and his quiet facilitation of Israeli negotiations with other Arab neighbors. Even in his final days, rising from his sickbed to encourage the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Wye River, he demonstrated his commitment to advancing peace.”

Mr. Berkowitz and Mr. Foxman also noted that the relationship between King Hussein and the people of Israel went beyond the formal and diplomatic: “He developed deep friendships with a number of Israeli leaders, notably the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He reached out to the citizens of Israel and impressed them with his warmth, his integrity and his heartfelt devotion to peace.”

On two occasions, ADL had the honor and privilege of meeting with the King in the Royal Palace in Amman to discuss the Middle East peace process. We acknowledged his extraordinary efforts resulting in the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel by awarding him the Joseph Prize at a ceremony in New York in 1996.

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.