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Prominent Israeli Judge Resigns to Join Fray Against Anti-Semitism

Hadassah Benito, a highly respected Israeli jurist, announced Wednesday that she is stepping down from 31 years on the bench to devote herself to the worldwide fight against anti-Semitism.

Ben-Ito, a vice president of the Tel Aviv District Court, is head of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists. She made her announcement at a session on anti-Semitism at the World Jewish Congress assembly held here this week.

"I am sorry to be leaving the court," she said, "but I feel so strongly about working in the fight against anti-Semitism that I must give this priority."

Ben-Ito, who was part of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations in 1975, fought against the U.N. General Assembly resolution denigrating Zionism as a form of racism when it was adopted that year.

She told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that one of her main projects will be to write a book and produce a film to expose the origins of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the notorious forgery which is gaining renewed currency around the world.

"The main danger of anti-Semitism today," she said, "are the ideologies that propagate the theory of an international Jewish conspiracy, as in the ‘Protocols.’"

Professor Yehuda Bauer, head of the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University, said, "Anti-Semitism has been increasing over the past 10 years in different regions and under different conditions."

Nevertheless, "the chances of fighting anti-Semitism are better now than in the past, because (the Jewish people) have more non-Jewish allies in this struggle," he said.

NEW WAR CRIMES CASES POSSIBLE

Bauer warned that the "real danger" to Jews in the Soviet Union is not the marginal extremist groups represented by Pamyat, but "the anti-Semitic ideologies held by many of the conservative forces that are filling the vacuum left by communism."

Kalman Sultanik, a WJC vice president, said that in former Soviet satellite countries of Eastern Europe, "the political leaders say nothing against the Jews in public, in order to impress Israel and America. But it is astonishing how these leaders tolerate other expressions of anti-Semitism" in their societies.

At a session on the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, the WJC gave awards to Isser Harel, the former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, who tracked down Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and brought him to Israel for trial; and to Beate Klarsfeld, a French citizen of German origin who has campaigned in Europe and other countries to expose war criminals.

Neal Sher, the director of the Office of Special Investigations, a U.S. Justice Department unit that hunts down war criminals, said his office will be able to pursue more war crimes cases because of new access to archives in Eastern European countries.

"These files, mainly in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, will be a big asset to us," he said.

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