Jewish Journal: On Sunday, I Witnessed An Actual Jewish Event

This article was originally published in the Jewish Journal on November 17. 2020.

By David Suissa

This is not a typo. I went to a Jewish event on Sunday, with real people, real tables, real honorees, live music — the works. Two full hours without Zoom.

Remember those ancient things? Real Jewish events? Where a whole bunch of people gather to raise money for a good cause? And then rush out to be first in line at the valet parking?

We used to have hundreds of those. If you were wired into the community, you probably got about five invitations a week. Well, you know where this is going: Since the coronavirus hit us earlier this year, all of those events went into the cancel file. Or, I should say, the Zoom file.

You can imagine my anticipation on Sunday when I pulled up at the valet parking of the Luxe Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. I was invited to a trustee luncheon organized by AISH Los Angeles, the Jewish outreach organization. The honorees were Gila and Adam Milstein. The theme was “Be the Light.”

I don’t mind being a light, but the real question on my mind was, Will I be safe?

That answer came quickly. First, they had golf carts take you up a hill to a wide outdoor space. Everyone wore masks. There was no cocktail hour. Tables were far apart. Some tables were only for two; other tables had two or three friendly couples, what is now called a “pod.” Just as in restaurants, masks were not required while sitting and eating.

If you saw someone you wanted to schmooze with, you put on your mask and walked over. Most people stayed at their tables. All food was served by staff wearing gloves and masks. I was told by organizers that 140 people attended.

There were several video screens throughout the space for the usual promo videos as well as a live speaker from Jerusalem.

Because the event was outdoors, it helped that there was a good sound system, both for the music and the speakers. The music was provided by a one-man band with a sweet voice and a keyboard that could probably play 100 instruments.

IN PANDEMIC TIMES, SAFE, LIVE EVENTS MAY NOT LOOK LIKE THE OLD ONES, BUT THEY ARE DOABLE.

The COVID-19 precautions ensured that no one would mistake this for a “regular” event from the pre-virus days. But there were enough familiar elements to trigger your nostalgia for the old days: the people, the music, the promotion of a cause, the long speeches. What stood out most, of course, is that it wasn’t on Zoom, which left me with this impression: In pandemic times, safe, live events may not look like the old ones, but they are doable.

My nostalgia really kicked in when I saw some people rush to give their tickets to the valet parking.

Arab-Israeli normalization is the way to peace with Palestinians

This article was originally published in the Washington Examiner on October 20, 2020

The American-brokered Abraham Accords pave the way to full normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab nations of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. This has raised the prospects of peace and stability in the region to the highest point in decades, making it all the more stunning to see forces lining up against the U.S. initiative.

Criticizing the administration and condemning Israel will not help Palestinians. In fact, it will do the opposite, abandoning the Palestinian people to a corrupt and oppressive governance that thrives only by ensuring that peace fails.

The Israel-delegitimization camp includes Iran, the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, as well as terror-affiliated organizations such as the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. It also includes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee, or BDS, orchestrators of the global movement that has recruited and ensnared liberal groups worldwide in a destructive campaign that has become an obstacle rather than a force for peace.

Since its establishment in 2001 by the major Palestinian terrorist organizations, the BDS movement has masqueraded as a human rights organization aiming to improve the well-being of Palestinians. But instead of aiding Palestinians, the movement is focused on isolating the state of Israel economically, culturally, and politically, with the ultimate goal of eradicating it.

Guided by its core principle of “anti-normalization,” the movement works to restrict any interaction between Israelis and Arabs and considers any form of cooperation treasonous. The anti-normalization campaign completely opposes coexistence, mutual aid, or collaboration. Palestinians who engage in personal interactions with Israelis are shunned, threatened, and sometimes even killed.

Small wonder, then, that the BDS movement regards the Abraham Accords as its worst nightmare. The peace agreements between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain represent a thorough refutation of anti-normalization. The widespread belief that these accords will soon spark additional agreements with other Sunni Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Sudan, Chad, and Morocco, only heaps additional coals on the heads of the BDS brigades.

Not only do the accords call into question the basic premise of BDS, but they also contradict the conventional wisdom that has informed ineffective U.S. foreign policy in the region for decades.

First, the accords demonstrate that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has never been the root of the region’s instability. Clearly, now, it is not an insurmountable obstacle to normalizing relations between the countries of the Middle East.

Second, the accords reveal that the Arabs are tired of Palestinian extremism. Palestinian opposition to the accords was ignored by both the Arab League and the “Arab street.” The Arab world is moving on.

Moreover, the Abraham Accords should be seen as a very positive development for the Palestinians. Now that the Arab world has accepted that Israel is not going anywhere, Palestinian leaders must admit it as well. It is past time to make peace. Further, regional normalization is going to introduce a wave of economic integration and prosperity, as well as greater security and public safety. If the Palestinians do not join, they’ll be left out and left behind.

Meanwhile, if global supporters of BDS really care about Palestinians, they will abandon this movement and the hateful anti-normalization campaign promoted by extremists such as Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and others with no interest in promoting peace and prosperity in the region.

Beyond that, the United States and like-minded allies should launch a pro-normalization campaign. Jewish-Americans and pro-Israel activists must build an alliance with Arab Americans and Muslims who share the views of the UAE and Bahrain — and to some degree, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan — that peace, prosperity, and normalization is the way forward.

On American campuses and beyond, it is time to hold academic and cultural events promoting dialogue, reconciliation, and regional economic integration and innovation. Student groups can push back with pro-normalization and pro-peace resolutions. And, when COVID-19 finally wanes, student groups can join in missions traveling to Israel and its peaceful Arab nations. NGOs can launch new initiatives on Israeli-Arab cooperation and devote more attention to countering the anti-normalization content promoted by terror-sponsoring states and the BDS movement.

Together, the champions of normalization can build a future of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East and relegate the BDS crowd to the dustbin of history.

James Jay Carafano, a Heritage Foundation vice president, directs the think tank’s research in matters of national security and foreign affairs. Adam Milstein is an active philanthropist and co-founder of the Israeli-American Council and the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

Helping Our Jewish Brothers is Helping America

By Adam Milstein

 

Antisemitism is an ancient problem. Throughout history, our Jewish brothers and sisters lacked the power and resources to do much of anything to fight this hatred. Today, however, American Jews have established themselves as one of the most successful immigrant communities in the country. Yet, in the face of intensifying antisemitism, still too little is done to combat it. Instead, efforts have been focused on merely documenting, educating about, and respectfully objecting to antisemitic acts after they occur. This inaction has normalized antisemitism and allowed the threat to rise.

Since Jews are the direct target of antisemitism, other Americans may perceive Jew-hatred as a Jewish problem. As American Jews fail to fight this bigotry on their own, you may ask yourself: why should I join this battle?

Evidently, defining antisemitism as a Jewish problem is a lose-lose proposition.

Jews are not going on the offensive to stop antisemitism, and many Americans won’t fight battles for those who don’t have the courage to stand up for themselves.

Frustration but inaction encapsulates the inadequate approach of combatting Jew-hatred today. There has been outrage against the growing hostility directed toward Jewish students on college campuses, but the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is only gaining strength. There has been outrage against growing antisemitism on social media, but there is a new scandal every day. There has been outrage against freshmen legislators Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for promoting antisemitic tropes, but they’ve been let off with only a light slap on the wrist.

Antisemitism is not just a problem for Jews; Antisemitism is an issue for Christians and all Americans. Antisemitism threatens to destroy our way of life.

Radical groups–the radical left, the radical right, radical Muslims, and the radical African Americans who championNation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan–are spearheading efforts to erode the core principles that make our country exceptional.Collectively, these radical groups reject the Judeo-Christian values that have supported the foundation of our country and protect all Americans.

For years, we’ve been at the receiving end of this hatred. But it is time we fight back this evil and save our country and our People.  

We will lose as Jews, as Christians, and as Americans if we continue accepting a prescribed role of a sacrificial canary in the coal mine, hoping that the danger is recognized after it hasalready consumed us whole. If we are truly ready to overcome hate, we must stop playing the victim and start fighting it head-on together.

We need to be eagles looking out onto the horizon, detecting threats far before they grievously harm us and our country. There are practical actions we must take to go on the offensive against antisemitism. They include (1) investigating and exposing the radical movements that fuel the spread of this hatred by identifying their networks, money trails, and agendas(2) increasing knowledge-sharing capabilities that inform the American people about the threats and empower them to act (3) holding the media accountable to the standards of a fair and free press (4) supporting legislation that curbs the influence of the hate movements in our institutions.

Viewing antisemitism as a Jewish problem has been a lose-lose proposition because it has not spurred anyone to take meaningful action against it.

Now is time for all Americans to fight against this hatred and racism. Our history and increasingly dangerous reality show that the inalienable rights afforded by the Constitution cannot be taken for granted. We need to fight for our safety and security today so that tomorrow we and future generations can continue living freely and proudly. We must fly into the future as brave eagles and free America from the dangers of antisemitism and the extremism it represents.

Adam Milstein is an active philanthropist and co-founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, which sponsored this article. Learn how you can support their out-of-the box efforts to combat bigotry and hatred of all forms in AmericaContact the Milstein Family Foundation at [email protected].

Hadassah Magazine: We Must Act Now to Fight Antisemitism

This article was originally sponsored content published in Hadassah Magazine’s July 2020 issue.

Never Again the Canary in the Coal Mine!

By Adam Milstein

Facing ever-growing antisemitism in the decades following the Holocaust, the Diaspora Jewish community’s common response has been to cry “Never Again” and to describe ourselves as the “canary in the coal mine,” which implies that whatever begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

While these ideas are echoed by millions, words are not enough. Jewish leaders fail to realize that action is required to prevent this violent hatred from becoming “Again and Again.” We cannot allow ourselves to be helpless, expendable canaries any longer.

Rabbi Hillel said: “Im ein ani li mi li? If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am just for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14).

It is upon us to act, NOW!

We know antisemitism is on the rise, and it is likely to get much worse. A perfect storm of circumstances is significantly increasing the danger. Jew-haters are taking advantage of the cracks in our society. They amplify their hateful rhetoric on mainstream media and social media and incite violence toward our communities in frightening ways without suffering any consequences.

From medieval Europe to 20th century Nazi Germany, Jews were the scapegoat for all problems. Similarly, the COVID-19 crisis has unleashed a new global antisemitic campaign blaming Israel and the Jewish people for spreading the coronavirus, orchestrating the economic turmoil, and profiting from the pandemic.

In an age of rampant conspiracy theories and polarized politics, the new antisemitism, fueled by the terror-linked Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, promotes Jew-hatred and violence globally, harboring the support of other radical movements in America: the far-right, the far-left, and the radical Muslims.

The spread and prevalence of this hatred today threatens to destroy our American religious freedom, and our rights to liberty, prosperity, and security. We must do everything in our power to stop this enormous storm before it swallows America whole.

Now is the time to protect our loved ones and our communities and safeguard American values. We need to change our approach from defense to offense, get personally involved, and deploy out-of-the-box strategies.

We, as a community, must adopt several principles to win this critical battle. First, embrace and support the State of Israel without any pre-conditions. Second, harness our community’s leadership, financial resources, and influence to protect ourselves. Third, build a broad coalition with our allies to fight antisemitism and other forms of bigotry.

Antisemitism is not only a Jewish problem; it’s an American problem that we must fight together.

Adam Milstein

Financial resources are needed to support and expand existing projects and platforms that fight back and put Jew-haters on defense. Additional resources must be invested in research and technology that enable us to combat antisemitism by exposing antisemites and their illegal activities, violent plans, and networks and promptly alerting authorities, media, and the public about these threats.

Though a perfect storm of antisemitism is looming, we should not be seeking shelter. When it comes to Jew-hatred, we can’t afford to be passive and risk-averse any longer.

Join me to make sure that “never again” is in fact never again and that we are no longer helpless, expendable canaries in the coal mine.

Let’s think outside-of-the-box and use our resources to secure the future of Jews in America. Let’s make an impact together.

Adam Milstein is an active philanthropist and co-founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, which sponsored this article. Learn how you can support their out-of-the-box efforts to combat antisemitism. Contact the Milstein Family Foundation at [email protected].

Never Again the Canary in the Coal Mine

This article was originally published on JNS.org on June 10, 2020.

Though a perfect storm of anti-Semitism is looming, we should not be seeking shelter. When it comes to Jew-hatred, we can’t afford to be passive any longer.

Facing ever-growing anti-Semitism in the decades following the Holocaust, the Diaspora Jewish community’s common response has been to cry “Never Again” and to describe ourselves as the “canary in the coal mine,” which implies that whatever begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews.

While these ideas are echoed by millions, words are not enough. Jewish leaders fail to realize that action is required to prevent this violent hatred from becoming “again and again.” We cannot allow ourselves to be helpless, expendable canaries any longer.

Rabbi Hillel said: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am just for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14).

It is upon us to act—now.

We know anti-Semitism is on the rise, and it is likely to get much worse. A perfect storm of circumstances is significantly increasing the danger. Jew-haters are taking advantage of the cracks in our society. They amplify their hateful rhetoric on mainstream and social media and incite violence toward our communities in frightening ways without suffering any consequences.

From medieval Europe to 20th century Nazi Germany, Jews were the scapegoat for all problems. Similarly, the COVID-19 crisis has unleashed a new global anti-Semitic campaign blaming Israel and the Jewish people for spreading the coronavirus, orchestrating the economic turmoil and profiting from the pandemic.

In an age of rampant conspiracy theories and polarized politics, the new anti-Semitism, fueled by the terror-linked Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, promotes Jew-hatred and violence globally, harboring the support of other radical movements in America: the far right, the far left and the radical Muslims.

Jews are the Canary in the Coalmine
Jews are the Canary in the Coalmine
Credit: A.F.Branco

The spread and prevalence of this hatred today threatens to destroy our American religious freedom and our ability to exercise our rights to liberty, prosperity and security. We must do everything in our power to stop this enormous storm before it swallows America whole.

Now is the time to protect our loved ones and our communities and safeguard American values. We need to change our approach from defense to offense, get personally involved, and deploy out-of-the-box strategies.

We, as a community, must adopt several principles to win this critical battle. First, embrace and support the State of Israel without any preconditions. Second, harness our community’s leadership, financial resources and influence to protect ourselves. Third, build a broad coalition with our allies to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

Anti-Semitism is not only a Jewish problem; it’s an American problem that we must fight together.

Financial resources are needed to support and expand existing projects and platforms that fight back and put Jew-haters on defense. Additional resources must be invested in research and technology that enable us to combat anti-Semitism by exposing anti-Semites and their illegal activities, violent plans and networks and promptly alerting authorities, media and the public about these threats.

Though a perfect storm of anti-Semitism is looming, we should not be seeking shelter. When it comes to Jew-hatred, we can’t afford to be passive and risk-averse any longer.

Join me to make sure that “Never Again” is in fact never again and that we are no longer helpless, expendable canaries in the coal mine.

Let’s think outside the box and use our resources to secure the future of Jews in America. Let’s make an impact together.

The writer is an Israeli-American philanthropreneur. He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @AdamMilstein and on Facebook www.facebook.com/AdamMilsteinCP.

Adam Milstein’s Formula for Success

As the Israeli-American Council’s Adam Milstein steps down as chairman, he reflects on its accomplishments

What does a grassroots movement comprised of thousands of energetic Israeli-Americans and Jewish-Americans look like? A group of multi-generational, bipartisan individuals who differ on much but agree on one singular mission: advocating for Israel and the future of the Jewish people.

Some 4,500 of them attended the Israeli-American Council (IAC) National Summit last December. While that’s an impressive figure, it actually represents just a small cross-section of the hundreds of thousands of Israeli-Americans and American Jews who participate in the IAC’s programming on an annual basis.
But that successful gathering – which included a keynote address from US President Donald Trump – now seems a scene from a different era. Sadly, the COVID-19 outbreak forced us into isolation and completely transformed the way we live.
IAC, though, has rolled with the punches. Using a start-up like mentality, the organization learned to quickly adapt its operations to provide live virtual learning experiences to engage with its audience from coast-to-coast.
The burgeoning nonprofit describes itself as the fastest-growing Jewish organization in the world, attributing that momentum to its ability to understand what makes both Israelis and Americans tick.
Below is an excerpt from The Jerusalem Report’s wide-ranging conversation with outgoing Chairman Adam Milstein where he reflected on the organization’s meteoric growth and where the IAC goes from here.
As the fastest growing Jewish organization in the US, how do you explain the IAC’s formula for success?
The IAC began when a few well-connected businesspeople of Israeli descent asked ourselves how could it be that there are 250,000 Israelis in Los Angeles, but very few of them are actively involved in supporting Israel. As a result, our group decided to launch an LA-based organization to address this very issue. Organizations usually have lofty ideas spearheaded by volunteers who don’t know how to execute their plan. But we did. We were both business people and philanthropists who had a vision and were well connected to the community at large. We decided to apply a start-up mentality to everything we did – this was our formula for success.
Today, the IAC has been able to reach, engage, and mobilize a community of Americans of Israeli descent – which traditional Jewish institutions could not access for decades.
We were successful because we provided Israelis living in America with a tangible identity, a feeling of family, community, and pride, a sense of purpose and a reason to be active.
What were the stumbling blocks along the way?
We transformed into a national organization in 2012 when we finally understood that we want to be defined as Americans of Israeli descent rather than  Israeli expats. Our kids are fully assimilated, and we are fully integrated into American life. The second we say we are Israeli, it hurts our identity as Americans and impacts how we interact with both Israelis and Americans. Americans would ask why we didn’t want to call ourselves Americans and Israelis would criticize us for being “yordim.”  It was simply counter-productive. So, we decided to call ourselves Israeli-Americans and it was a game-changer for us. Suddenly, people opened their eyes to who we are – in both America and Israel. We were suddenly a strategic asset to everyone.
How did you come to this realization?
It came from understanding how personal experience can shape your perspective. As a Jew involved in philanthropy post-9/11, I began working with several national pro-Israel organizations. Even then, I saw it bothered people when I was a part of an American organization but called myself Israeli. Even politicians had a problem with it, because if they associated with someone presenting himself as a foreign national, it was like they were receiving “foreign” money.
Between the coronavirus, the US-Israel relationship and the upcoming US elections, it seems as if there are many forces trying to tear our people apart – why do you think IAC can be an effective conduit to bring people together in these difficult times?
The US feels paralyzed at the moment. As a result, the IAC moved its activities to a digital platform faster than any other Jewish organization. IAC at Home has put everything online. Eventually, we will go back to face-to-face interaction, but now we must advance our mission in the digital space.
What IAC programs helped inspire Israelis and Jewish Americans to be involved?
IAC Eitanim is a great example of a program that sparks engagement. It provides 1,200 middle and high school students in the US with robust mentorship that teaches them entrepreneurial skills while demonstrating the importance of tapping into their Jewish heritage by connecting to Israel. Meanwhile, the IAC Mishelanu program gives first- and second-generation Israel-Americans enrolled in American colleges a platform to express their Israeliness. Israelis in America needed a vehicle to be active in Jewish life, and the traditional methods available often don’t speak to them, whether that is joining a congregation, or paying steep membership fees to become active in a pro-Israel organization. At IAC, our activities are free, we just ask for them to be engaged and involved.
What are the biggest challenges facing American Jewry today? How does IAC plan to do its part to combat those obstacles?
Radical movements are driving an alarming rise in antisemitism in America and around the world. We can’t afford to look the other way. We have to fight this evil head on, with pride and courage.
Our ability to combat antisemitism stems from the strength and accomplishments of the State of Israel. Supporting and endorsing Israel without any preconditions provides us with a boost necessary to combat our detractors. I think that the IAC and the Israeli-American community are capable of being proactive in leading this fight.
The fear in conservative-leaning circles is that Democrats are becoming increasingly hostile toward Israel. What is your take on this issue?
Antisemitism is an American problem, it’s a serious threat to American values. I am very concerned about certain figures on the radical left, including in Congress, who demonize Israel and, in some cases, spread overtly antisemitic ideas and stereotypes. We should have zero tolerance for this and need to call out these individuals for the bigots and antisemites that they are. That said, I have many friends on the Democratic side of the aisle – including Members of Congress – who are passionately pro-Israel and understand the importance of maintaining a strong and bipartisan US-Israel alliance. We have to do all that we can to maintain support for Israel in both parties.
What advice would you give your successor, Naty Saidoff?
The IAC’s success has been driven by the personal and philanthropic involvement of its lay leaders leading by example, understanding and leveraging the unique innovative impulse and value add of the Israeli-American community, whether that’s our unequivocal love and deep understanding of Israel, chutzpah, or our ability to think outside the box.
Naty is a unique visionary leader, who understands the big picture, and knows how to create synergy and force multiplication within our movement and with the Jewish American community. As a visionary and dedicated leader, Naty will continue dreaming big dreams, and the IAC will continue on its remarkable path of success and growth.

Pro-Palestinian Student Group Promotes Antisemitism at US College Conference

This article was originally published in Fox News on November 1, 2019.

Antisemitism did not die with the fall of Nazi Germany and its mass murder of 6 million Jews. The ancient hatred of the Jewish people has mutated like a deadly virus and has now infected many college campuses across the U.S. as a mainstream movement – and is being embraced at a national conference at the University of Minnesota this weekend.

The conference is being held from Friday through Sunday by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which has been one of the main drivers of the antisemitic and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on American college campuses.

The BDS movement was established by major Palestinian terrorist organizations in 2001 as a “non-military” way to eradicate Israel. SJP, its campus wing, was founded by the University of California at Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian in 2005.

The SJP network is the leading student arm of the BDS movement in the U.S. Its annual conference serves as a conduit to push radicalism, violence, and antisemitism at colleges and universities across the nation.

The BDS movement seeks the destruction of Israel as the world’s only Jewish state by isolating Israel from every other country through economic, cultural, academic and diplomatic boycotts.

If BDS leaders had their way, no nation would sell products to Israel or buy Israeli products, no nation would have diplomatic relations with Israel, all Israeli educational and scientific institutions would be boycotted, and the Israeli tourism industry would die.

A report released Wednesday by the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy called the SJP “a main driver of Jew-hatred on campus” and listed dozens of instances of antisemitism involving members of the hate group.

Bazian and the other SJP founders, financial patrons, and ideological supporters have been linked to Islamist and Palestinian terror organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Yet we see almost no pressure to keep this violent hateful incitement — reminiscent of the Nazi-era boycotts of Jewish businesses — off campuses and away from students.

SJP is guilty of bait-and-switch at all levels. It’s accepted as a “social justice organization” although it works to mainstream hate. It’s presented as a student-founded organization when it supports and coordinates its activities with the BDS National Council, which includes representation of “resistance” movements from internationally recognized terrorist organizations.

SJP claims to promote human rights and accurate information, while it actually spreads lies and propaganda that increase antisemitism – including  Nazi-era blood libel claims, conspiracy theories about Jews and dehumanization of Jews.

Students for Justice in Palestine encourage chaos, conflict, and violence on campuses. The group’s members violently disrupt pro-Israel events and regularly bully and ostracize Jewish students.

SJP does not promote open dialogue or debate between its BDS-supporting acolytes and pro-Israel students. It will not stop at anything less than the destruction of the Jewish state.

The environment SJP has created erodes the culture of discourse, liberalism, and tolerance that is foundational to not only the American university system but America itself.

While this coalition of hate operates on campus, BDS has also led to a resurgence of antisemitism beyond campus. The global campaign, supported by Jew-hating terrorists and activists, has revived the very same hatred that America worked to eradicate during and after World War II.

Unsurprisingly, over the last two decades, there has been a great correlation between the establishment of the BDS movement and the rise in antisemitic incidents in America and around the world.

A recent report published by the government of Israel – titled “Behind the Mask: The Antisemitic Nature of BDS Exposed” – shows how over the past 15 years, the BDS campaign has promoted demonization and delegitimization of the state of Israel, and by doing so has exacerbated antisemitic rhetoric against Jews in America and worldwide.

By hosting the SJP’s national conference at the University of Minnesota, the school is propping up hate. That is not OK.

All people opposed to antisemitism must pull our communal and financial support from institutions hosting the American mainstreaming of modern antisemitism. We must apply pressure from outside – mobilizing communities of shared values – and from within (drawing on students, faculty, staff, and alumni) to discourage this evil. The time is now to band together to put an end to the BDS movement.

America has all too readily ignored genocidal antisemitism before. We must recognize that the modern campaign has roots in hatred that runs just as deep and bloody as the ideology that fueled support for Nazi Germany.

Before the massacre of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, American universities welcomed leaders from Nazi Germany – even though their horrifying racist ideology was well-known – while setting quotas to severely limit the enrollment of Jewish students.

In the wake of the Holocaust, antisemitism was no longer acceptable on American college campuses. The hatred of the Jewish people was suppressed and marginalized for about 70 years.

However, as the memory of the Holocaust fades and slogans such as “Never Again” and “Never Forget” are becoming old clichés, Jew-hatred is coming back on campus in frightening ways.

Today, universities are once again lending their platforms and legitimacy to mainstream the new antisemitism. The lessons of the past are seemingly forgotten, as elite institutions like Columbia University invite notoriously antisemitic world leaders such as Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to address their students, opening their safe spaces to intolerance, prejudice, and hate.

The BDS movement and Students for Justice in Palestine are fundamentally anti-American as well as anti-Israel and antisemitic because they reject our most cherished values.

SJP should be ostracized on college campuses and students should be taught the facts about it and the BDS movement.

 

Adam Milstein and his wife Gila co-founded the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, providing charitable and philanthropic services to a wide range of organizations to strengthen the Jewish people, the state of Israel, and the U.S.-Israel relationship. 

BDS is the new face of the old antisemitism: What will we do to stop it?

The report showed how Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have ties to at least 13 anti-Israel NGOs.

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on October 2, 2019.

The dishonest proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement have long claimed that they simply aim to further human rights. For years, they were able to recruit many progressives including Jews to support and justify their campaigns. Yet, in recent weeks, the true nature of this hate movement has been acknowledged in unprecedented ways.
 
After more than a decade of deception, new evidence is being presented by a range of governments, international organizations, and media outlets to show that BDS is nothing but a front for anti-Semitic hate groups and terrorists that seek nothing less than the destruction of the State of Israel. It is the new face of the old antisemitism. The world is just waking up to this horrifying truth, which sheds light on what America can do to address this growing hatred around the world.
 
On September 24, 2019, the United Nations — a body with no love for Israel and a well-documented history of bias against the Jewish State — released an unprecedented report on the worldwide spread of anti-Semitism. The UN acknowledged that anti-Semitism is growing around the world, wearing one of three faces: on the far left, the far right, and among radical Islamists. In the report, the UN recognizes for the first time that “the objectives, activities, and effects of the BDS movement are fundamentally anti-Semitic.”
The next day, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy released a landmark report Behind the Mask – the Antisemitic Nature of BDS Exposed that reveals the rampant antisemitism within the BDS movement, including its calls for violence against Jews and the dismantlement of Israel. The report demonstrates how the BDS movement has intensified hatred against Jews around the world and provides 80 examples of antisemitism by key activists in the BDS movement. It documents the true face of BDS: a 15-year-old campaign that promotes demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and, in so doing, has exacerbated antisemitic rhetoric against Jews worldwide.
 
It followed another bombshell Israeli government report from earlier this year, titled “Terrorists in Suits”, which revealed more than 100 different connections linking Palestinian terrorist groups to BDS organizations. The report documented how Palestinian terrorist groups and the anti-Israel boycott campaign work together in pursuit of their goal to wipe Israel off the map, given that the terrorists view boycotts as a complementary tactic to their violent activities.
 
The report showed how Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have ties to at least 13 anti-Israel NGOs, and have managed to place more than 30 of their members, including members who have previously sat in jail, some for murder, in senior positions inside of BDS organizations. The boycott organizations and terrorist-designated organizations fundraise together and share the same personnel. Contrary to popular belief, these officials have not abandoned their support for terrorism, but instead continue to maintain organizational, financial and active ties with terrorist groups.
 
All of these reports followed a similar acknowledgment last summer by the German Parliament, which likened the BDS movement to the Nazis. It voted overwhelmingly for a resolution, which made clear BDS is not only antisemitic but also deploys methods reminiscent of Nazi-era calls to boycott Jews. The resolution came after the top German intelligence agency published a comprehensive analysis of rising antisemitism stemming from the BDS groups. These BDS groups were found to radicalize all other hate groups to create an ecosystem that breeds violent antisemitic attacks.
 
Germany now is working to be on the right side of history as they vividly remember when Nazis urged gentiles not to buy products from Jews, a boycott that escalated into outright theft, displacement, and eventually, the slaughter of six million Jews. It is time for others to follow.
 
The majority of the recent reports on the connection of the BDS movement to both terrorism and antisemitism make many different recommendations on how to stop the growing antisemitism of our era, one of which is of particular note: that countries should accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and uphold its principles and outlaw the BDS Movement.
 
The IHRA working definition is a concise description of a complex hatred that takes many forms. It reads: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The people who lead the BDS movement bring many different kinds of antisemitic hatred into our public conversation, and the IHRA definition helps identify the sort of bigotry that they spread. It defines anti-Semitism as accusing Jews or Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust, accusing Jews of dual loyalty, using blood libel to criticize Israel, comparing Israel to the Nazis, holding the Jewish state to a double standard, or, in one of its purest forms of hate, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination.
 
Now that many in the world are finally acknowledging just how evil BDS is, our Jewish community and fellow Americans must follow suit. Governments and NGOs must adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Our local, state and federal government must pass laws and resolutions that condemn and delegitimize the vile hatred of BDS. Politicians and bureaucrats should stop funding educational programs that include BDS’s bigotry. Financial platforms not to provide services to BDS organizations that publish antisemitic content or that have links to terror, and we shall all demand that social media platforms remove antisemitic BDS content.
 
After a decade of excuses and inaction about BDS, it seems that some are finally waking up to the danger this movement poses not only to the Jewish people but also the basic values of the liberal societies in which we live.
 
It is on our leaders to build on the recent momentum to inform the public about BDS’ antisemitic agenda — its shadowy funding sources, its true aim of denying Jewish self-determination, its lopsided and underhanded tactics, and its connection to terrorism.
 
BDS is the new face of the old antisemitism, and when it comes to fighting antisemitism, the old adage “better late than never” is particularly apt for our moment. It’s time for us all to get to work.
 
Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American Philanthropreneur. He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @AdamMilstein, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/AdamMilsteinCP.

How to Combat the Looming Perfect Storm for Antisemitism in America

Jew-hatred, also described as antisemitism, is becoming mainstream in America.

Originally published in the Jerusalem Post on September 4, 2019.

Jew-hatred, also described as antisemitism, is becoming mainstream in America.

Jewish university students are under constant attack for expressing any support for Israel. Radical activists are working to insert anti-Israel and antisemitic ideas into curricula to indoctrinate high school students. America’s Congressional delegation now includes representatives of the Islamo-leftist alliance, who are driven to demonize Israel and spread age-old antisemitic stereotypes. Radical antisemites are growing bolder, less censored and less afraid to share their hateful views with the world through digital and social media.

In the decades following the Holocaust, “Never Again” was repeated by millions who had no idea they needed to do something about it. Somehow, in front of our eyes, “Never Again” is becoming “Again and Again” as radical movements that threaten all Americans but are united in their hatred towards Jews, are growing stronger in broad daylight.

Antisemitism is growing, but it’s going to get much worse. A perfect storm of circumstances is elevating the dangers significantly. Jew-haters are taking advantage of the radicalization of our society, utilizing the biased mainstream and social media to amplify their message and enjoy unparalleled access to weapons to attack our communities in frightening ways.

How did we get to this place?

Jew-hating looks different today than it did in the past. In medieval times, people hated Jews because of their religion. In the 20th century, Nazism viewed Jews as a race to be eradicated. Today, the new-antisemitism, fueled by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, is disguised as hatred towards Israel – the only Jewish State in the world.

However, with the assistance of many useful idiots, some of them Jews, the BDS movement promotes hatred toward all Jews globally, radicalizes all the extreme movements and promotes violence against Jews and other minorities.

With new allies across the political spectrum, Jew-haters have found friends in unlikely places. Antisemitism no longer comes from fringe groups. Instead, an alliance of Jew-haters has been forged by the radical left, radical Muslims, and the radical right. This three-headed monster of bigotry is best exemplified in the unlikely alliance between David Duke and Ilhan Omar.

Antisemites today also enjoy an unparalleled ability to amplify their hateful ideas through biased news articles and social media, and niche channels to billions of people at the click of a button. This ranges from antisemitic lies on mainstream media to posts on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter which celebrate attacks against Jews and threatened violence.

The easy access to weapons has already facilitated two mass attacks against Jews in Pittsburgh and Poway, and many more attacks on the American people: Gilroy, El-Paso, Dayton and Midland, TX. Every week someone is ready to commit yet another act of domestic terrorism and in the inevitable gun assaults that will spread in our country, Jews are going to continue to be disproportionately targeted.

The threat we face is a danger not only to Jews to but all Americans as it threatens to undermine and destroy the freedoms of religion, liberty, prosperity, and security that we all hold dear. We must do everything in our power to stop this enormous storm before it swallows America whole. There is still time to turn the tide back to protect the Jewish people and safeguard American values.

What can each of us do to stop it?

Combating hate starts with accepting personal responsibility and changing our approach from defense to offense. For years, our strategy to defeat antisemitism was purely reactive and defensive, relying entirely on others to protect us. The fact that Jew-hating continues to rise has proven how much our existing methods failed us. We must do more and differently. We must get personally involved, go on the offensive and deploy out-of-the-box strategies.

To do so, we as a community must adopt several principles. First, we must embrace and support the state of Israel without any pre-conditions. Israel, the Jewish people’s homeland, may not be perfect, but it’s where our traditions, history, heritage, and courage originated from. And it is dedicated to safeguarding the Jewish people around the world. Israel is our insurance policy. Without Israel, the Jewish people are weak and defenseless. Without Israel, “Never Again” is meaningless.

Second, we must do a better job harnessing our community’s strength to protect ourselves. We are the single most successful immigrant community in U.S. history, and we should not hesitate to leverage our position to fight Jew-hating. Our leadership, resources, and influence have the potential to become a real game-changer in putting Jew-haters on the defensive.

Third, it’s a rare time in history where our enemies are the enemies of so many other communities. We must embrace our allies and build a broad coalition to fight Jew-hating and other forms of bigotry. We must become active partners in the coalitions that are fighting hate, bigotry, and racism in America. After all, antisemitism is not only a Jewish problem; it’s also an American problem.

As we go on the offense, we must secure the resources to support and expand strategies and tools developed to fight back and put Jew-haters on defense, including to familiarize ourselves with the bad actors’ finances, agendas, goals and objectives, networks and future plans.

Financial resources should be invested in developing research that will enable us to combat Jew-hatred by naming and shaming antisemites, exposing their illegal activities, their violent plans, and promptly alert the authorities and the media.

We must financially support organizations who go on the offensive against Jew-haters; use out of the box strategies and who are willing to collaborate and work synergistically to force multiply our efforts.

StopAntisemitism.org, for example, monitors Jew-hatred on the ground, on digital and social media, and leverages an unmatched technology to develop communication channels through which they engage Americans to report Jew-hatred alerts and incidents, and develop actionable strategies to counter and prevent hate and violence

Though a perfect storm of antisemitism of the worst kind is looming, we should not be seeking shelter. It’s time we work with allies and fight back at all cost. When it comes to Jew-hating, we can’t be passive and risk-averse any longer. It’s time to make the jump from defense to offense. Let’s think outside-of-the-box. Let’s act affirmatively. Let’s make an impact.

Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American active philanthropist. He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @AdamMilstein, and on Facebook www.facebook.com/AdamMilsteinCP.