President Obama heralded Abe Foxman, the retiring head of the Anti-Defamation League, as "irreplaceable" in a statement issued Tuesday.

"For decades, Abe Foxman has been a tireless voice against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all of its forms, always calling us to reject hatred and embrace our common humanity," Obama said. "Michelle and I wish him well as he prepares to leave the leadership of the Anti-Defamation League — an organization that he built, and led with such passion and persistence."

Foxman, a Holocaust survivor, will retire as the organization's national director next year. He has led the group since 1987, and has frequently consulted with the White House on Israeli-American relations.

“For almost five decades, ADL offered me the perfect vehicle to live a life of purpose both in standing up on behalf of the Jewish people to ensure that what happened during World War II would never happen again and in fighting bigotry and all forms of oppression,” Foxman said in a statement. “My years at ADL, particularly the 27 spent as National Director, could not have been more rewarding." 

The group said it would conduct a nationwide search for its next director.