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Abraham Foxman and John Negroponte

In response to:

The Case of Tony Judt: An Open Letter to the ADL from the November 16, 2006 issue

To the Editors:

When we signed the letter of protest to the ADL in the matter of Tony Judt [NYR, November 16], it was because we believe in freedom of speech. It was not because we believe in a Jewish conspiracy to control the country or the world. Obviously you did not grasp this, since you chose to illustrate the text of the letter with a photograph of Abraham Foxman chatting with John Negroponte. The implication of your image is wild. What sinister instruction, exactly, do you think Foxman was carrying from the elders in New York to the head of intelligence in Washington? Were they speaking in English, do you think, or more prudently in a Jewish tongue? And this in the same issue in which you took such a courageous stand against Vichy anti-Semitism!

Franklin Foer

Leon Wieseltier

The New Republic

Washington, D.C.

The Editors reply:

As the background visible in the Reuters news agency photograph published in the November 16 issue indicated, John Negroponte spoke at a public occasion organized by the ADL. In fact, it was the 28th Annual National Leadership Conference of the ADL. The Washington Post report of Mr. Negroponte’s speech on April 25, 2006, began as follows:

John Negroponte, the national intelligence director, who is in the thick of an unprecedented effort to crack down on leaks of classified information, figured he’d start off his speech at the Mayflower Hotel yesterday with a couple of jokes.

After an affectionate introduction by an official from the Anti-Defamation League, Negroponte quipped, “Beats the introduction I got at the National Press Club the other day.”

Mr. Negroponte, according to the text released by his office, continued as follows:

Abe Foxman, my good friend and partner. It says here, partner in opposing one-sided anti-Israel resolutions when I was ambassador at the UN, but it goes much beyond that. We were very good friends. We consulted on a whole range of issues concerning the posture of the United States at the United Nations. And I just found Abe—he was always there when I needed him, and he was a source of invaluable counsel as we carried out those very challenging assignments up there in New York. And I’m sure that you continue to watch those issues with a great, great deal of interest, as do I….

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