Strategic Active Philanthropy Can Strengthen Our American Values

This article was originally published in the Daily Caller on April 12, 2021.

I am a proud American. This country has afforded me, an immigrant from Israel, boundless opportunities to succeed in business and build a beautiful life for my family.

My business success allowed me to dedicate my resources to making an impact in this world through strategic impact philanthropy. This approach to philanthropy requires not only giving financial resources, but also the investment of time, experience, vision, and personal connections.

Over the past decade, I have focused my strategic philanthropy on the fight against anti-Semitism in the U.S. and have come to see that contributing to a strong, secure America benefits not only the American people but also ensures the well-being of the Jewish people and other minorities here in the U.S., Israel and around the world.

This is why I have decided to expand my philanthropic focus to counter the unprecedented assault on America and the values on which it stands.

Developing a Coalition to Fight Antisemitism through Strategic Active Philanthropy

In our coalition focused on fighting Jew-hatred, we asked ourselves which organizations were the most effective and which philanthropists were supporting them. Then, we cultivated a network of like-minded donors, and together we selected organizations to support based on their impact and willingness to collaborate with each other.

Knowing it takes a network to defeat a network, my fellow donors and I encouraged the organizations we worked with to map out the network of adversaries propagating Jew-hatred and the various groups fighting anti-Semitism.

We, the donors, provided funding for collaborations and facilitated partnerships between the organizations. We encouraged all of them to develop and share actionable research and use it to go on the offensive.

For instance, a coalition of many groups was able to marginalize and discredit the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement by exposing its affiliations with terrorism, how it promotes hate and violence towards Jews, and its opposition to peace and normalization in the Middle East.

Expanding the Battle to Fight for America

Our American way of life and the values at the heart of Western society are under attack by radical hate groups on both the left and the right, funded by ideology philanthropists. To counter them, we must draw upon the same successful methods of fighting against Jew-hatred.

The first step is to map out the American values that are worth fighting for, including democracy, the freedoms of speech, religion, press, and assembly, education without indoctrination, capitalism, and rule of law.

Secondly, we need to reach out to other like-minded philanthropists who are willing and able to provide a network of organizations with funding, research, and direction, and promote collaboration.

Lastly, we need to identify the allies that excel at strengthening each one of these values and are willing to share information and encourage them to build relationships with other like-minded organizations.

These allies include think tanks, legal organizations, media organizations, research groups, and grassroots organizations that are directly involved on the ground and with the public.

The movements working to harm America are also comprised of similar organizations and empowered by a network of mega-donors. To defeat them, our network of donors and allies will have to identify the opposing groups’ agendas, objectives, funders, networks, and plans. We will then use this information to counter the opposing organizations on the playing fields they currently control.

Selecting Partner Donors and New Allied Organizations

To begin, we need to determine the most effective willing, and able financial partners and organizations to work with.

Firstly, we determine whether an organization is fully committed to working to strengthen and protect American values and freedoms. An organization should have a clear definition of what these values are and must accurately recognize the threat our enemies pose to America and the American way of life.

Secondly, it is critical to evaluate an organization’s track record of success. One marker of long-term success is the ability to build synergies. It is necessary to select groups that regularly collaborate with others and complement each other’s unique work.

Our successful track record in fighting anti-Semitism, forged by more than a decade of adversity and experience in the trenches, provides a readily available template to developing a powerful network of like-minded organizations to safeguard a strong and secure America.

We call on fellow philanthropists who want to fight for America and the cherished values it represents to join us in taking this new, assertive approach of active philanthropy to combat the forces that seek to weaken America and all it stands for.

The writer is an active philanthropist, investor, and community leader. Email: [email protected]

Full bio: https://www.jpost.com/author/adam-milstein

How to Practice Philanthropy to Create a Lasting Impact

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on February 9, 2021.

Some say that it’s more challenging to effectively donate money than to earn it. I agree. It’s a no-brainer to choose the nonprofit organizations you support based on your personal acquaintances or social affiliations, but real impact can only be achieved by creating a strategic philanthropic plan and being willing to implement it.

There have been few experiences in my life more rewarding or meaningful than becoming an active philanthropist.

I arrived in America in 1981, after serving in the Israel Defense Forces, fighting in the 1973 Yom Kippur War on the battlefields of the Suez Canal front, and attending the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. I came here with my wife Gila and two daughters and worked hard to attain success in my business of investing and operating commercial real estate properties. Eventually, I became a managing partner at Hager Pacific Properties, a private real estate investment firm in Southern California.

As my success in business grew, my philanthropic journey began as well. I adopted the principle of donating one-tenth of my earnings, but I quickly found out that philanthropy works the other way around; whatever I gave, God found mysterious ways to reward me 10 times more.

Gila and I now have the luxury of committing ourselves nearly full time to our philanthropic endeavors and activism. I’ve never worked harder in my life – and never felt like there isn’t enough time to finish the job.

Over the past 20 years, we became affiliated with dozens of new nonprofits every year, discovering their unique advantages and special value propositions. We established the Milstein Family Foundation, through which we have funded hundreds of organizations that support the State of Israel, advance the US-Israel alliance, and fight antisemitism.

Sometimes there were no organizations established to advance a cause we held dear. Whenever I saw a void, I did not hesitate to roll up my sleeves and create a new program or form a new organization. For example, in 2007, I co-founded the Israeli-American Council (IAC), which is now the largest and most influential Israeli-American organization in America.

In 2011, together with the IAC, Gila and I founded Sifriyat Pijama B’America, with the goal of instilling Jewish values in tens of thousands of Israeli-American kids nationwide by delivering free Hebrew-language books to their homes. This project paved the way for the expansion of the IAC from a local Los Angeles organization to the fastest-growing Jewish organization in the US.

More recently, in 2017, I created the Impact Forum, a Los Angeles-based network of philanthropists who meet with and support a network of exceptionally effective small- to medium-size nonprofit organizations in the pro-Israel space.

Being involved with many organizations gives me greater leverage to amplify my impact. I facilitate synergies and collaborations between organizations, learn which groups are effective and which are not, and create connections with a vast network of people.

I’ve come to realize that there are three main approaches to major philanthropy: “specific philanthropy,” “social club philanthropy,” and “strategic impact philanthropy.”

In specific philanthropy, the donor gives to better the lives of specific members of his/her community and issues close to their hearts. The focus is on the personal trust and connections the philanthropist has with the grantees or with the cause.

In social club philanthropy, the benefactor gives to be part of a social or a business group of other like-minded, wealthy, and influential people. The moment the philanthropists exit their social club, the interest in supporting the group and its related issues die.

Strategic impact philanthropy, which I personally practice, requires not only financial giving to a network of nonprofit organizations, but also the investment of time, experience, vision, and personal connections.

To make sure my philanthropy has a high return on investment, I personally help the organizations with funding, provide advice based on my knowledge and experience, establish new organizations and programs to fill voids I see and make use of my extensive network to help these causes and generate synergies that make every group stronger.

Gila and I have seen firsthand how strategic impact philanthropy makes a significant, nationwide impact. We see the results within our lifetime and are able to leave an enduring legacy to our children, grandchildren, and community.

I invite my fellow major philanthropists and philanthropists-to-be to join me in becoming a strategic impact philanthropist. It requires more than just “putting your money where your mouth is” but the return is beyond imaginable. Nothing of lasting impact can be achieved without your own blood, sweat, and tears.

The writer is an active philanthropist, real estate investor, and community leader.  Email: [email protected].

Whether You Voted for Trump or Biden, All Americans Must Come Together Against Radicalization

This article was originally published in Newsweek on January 12, 2021.

For the past four years, I have been a supporter of President Donald Trump. Yet with the impending inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden, I recognize that now is the time for all Americans—Republicans and Democrats—to come together.

We may, for the first time ever, have found an encouraging model for cooperation in a region long bedeviled by conflict: the Middle East. In recent months, we have witnessed the paradigm-busting peace and normalization agreements between Israel and moderate Arab countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and now Morocco.

In addition to advancing social and economic developments in the Middle East, the new alliances are positioned to counter radical Islamist regimes, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, and radical terrorist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS.

For its part, Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, sending troops and mercenaries to overtake Iraq and Syria and utilizing proxies like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen to attack American soldiers and other countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Normalization promises to bring peace and prosperity to a region destabilized by radicals for far too long and should inspire us to treat each other with greater respect in America amid intensifying political polarization, despite our differences. Americans must now work together and push back against radical movements across our political spectrum that aim to undermine our country’s deepest-held values.

Some radical domestic groups and even the most radical members of Congress have boasted of their opposition to the Abraham Accords and other agreements promoting Middle East peace. Instead, they take the side of Iran and the terrorist organizations that undermine our values and any chance at progress.

israel-uae
The flags of (L-R) the US, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Bahrain and the municipality of Netanya are flown along a road, in the resort city of Netanya in central Israel, on September 13, 2020.JACK GUEZ/AFP/GETTY

The most noted ideologues in Congress support the anti-normalization efforts and sympathize with the hardline Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. They are joined by radicals from the far left, extremist Muslims and factions of the far right.

Like most Muslims living in the Middle East, the majority of Muslim-Americans are peaceful and patriotic. They immigrated to America in search of freedom, opportunity and prosperity. Many, like me, are big believers in the American dream. That’s why I am committed to building coalitions with Muslim groups in the U.S. based on a shared vision for America, free of hate and bigotry.

Joe Biden has positioned himself as a moderate who aims to unify America. To achieve this goal, his administration will need to stare down the anti-normalization, the anti-peace camp that is not only antisemitic but also opposes American values and our way of life.

The venom of anti-normalization embodies the exact qualities that Americans need to reject in these precarious times.

For years, I have warned about the danger of this anti-American global menace, and I will continue to call out hate wherever I see it. During my tenure as chairman of the Israeli-American Council, I shared the stage with President Trump as well as Majority Leader Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi. I am always willing to listen to and have conservations with those with whom I disagree, even passionately.

This is Biden’s time to combat the intolerant forces of the Left, the Right and religious extremism that have been a deadly threat to America. During the Biden administration, Americans can continue to promote peace and prosperity by championing normalization and uniting against domestic radicalization.

This moment is about making America strong and fighting for our values, which are universal. With all the upheaval and anguish we have faced this past year amid the pandemic and political uncertainty, I enter 2021 with an open mind. This is how I see my role as a citizen in the months ahead, and I hope all Americans—whether they supported President Trump or president-elect Biden—will join me.

Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American philanthropist and entrepreneur. He 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 and the U.S.-Israel relationship, as well as combat bigotry and hatred in America. He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @AdamMilstein, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AdamMilsteinCP.

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.

Defining Antisemitism as a Jewish Problem is a Lose-Lose Proposition

This article was featured on United With Israel on November 15, 2020.

As American Jews do little to fight this bigotry, non-Jews ask themselves: Why should we lead this battle?

By Adam Milstein

Anti-Semitism is an ancient problem. Throughout Jewish history in the diaspora, Jews lacked the power and resources to do much of anything to fight Jew-hatred except condemn it.

Today, however, American Jews have established themselves as one of the most successful immigrant communities in the country. Yet, in the face of intensifying anti-Semitism, they have done little to combat it. Instead, they have focused on merely documenting, educating about, and respectfully objecting to anti-Semitic acts after they occur.

Inaction has normalized anti-Semitism and allowed the threat to rise. Jew-hatred has become excusable and almost mainstream in America. In recent months, for example, we have seen it trending among celebrities and athletes. When faced with this hate, far too many in our community stay silent.

Since Jews are the direct target of anti-Semitism, other Americans perceive Jew-hatred as a Jewish problem. But as American Jews do little to fight this bigotry, non-Jews ask themselves: Why should we lead this battle?

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

Jewish-Americans are not going on the offensive to stop anti-Semitism, and non-Jewish Americans won’t fight battles for those whom – they perceive – don’t have the courage to stand up for themselves.

Jewish-American organizations dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism have existed for more than 100 years, but the problem has only grown worse. Almost all the resources invested by the Jewish-American community to address Jew-hatred are directed toward historical education, like about the Holocaust, and documenting incidents of anti-Semitism. Hardly any resources are invested in holding anti-Semites accountable and creating consequences for their bigotry.

Frustration but inaction encapsulates the inadequate approach of the American-Jewish community. 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 anti-Semitism 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 anti-Semitic tropes, but they’ve been let off with only a light slap on the wrist.

Some of this inaction can be explained by the false sense of security many American Jews cling to despite the alarming rise in hatred and violence toward Jews in America. However, they fail to understand that anti-Semitism is not just a problem for Jews; Anti-Semitism is an issue for all Americans and threatens to destroy our way of life.

Radical groups – the radical left, the radical right, radical Muslims, and the radical African Americans who champion Louis Farrakhan – are spearheading efforts to erode the core principles that make our country exceptional. The Islamo-leftist alliance, in particular, is gaining momentum. While many Jewish and other civil rights organizations singularly focus on the far-right white nationalists as the main generators of extremism, the Islamo-leftist alliance parades in public as a social justice cause while infiltrating and undermining our communities and institutions.

Collectively, these radical groups reject the Judeo-Christian values that have supported the foundation of our country and have protected all minority communities in America, including Jews.

Proponents of the Islamo-leftist alliance seek to undermine the structures and institutions that keep our country open, democratic and healthy, including the family unit, businesses, communities, religious institutions, impartial media, law enforcement, the military and the courts. Increasing antisemitic attacks and the public display of hatred are trial runs for what is to come from these radical movements. For years, Jews have been at the receiving end of this hatred. If we are truly ready to overcome it, we must stop playing the victim and start fighting this head-on together with other Americans.

We will lose as Jews and as Americans if we continue accepting our prescribed role as the sacrificial canary in the coal mine, hoping that others may recognize the danger after it has already consumed us whole.

Instead, 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.

Presenting anti-Semitism as a Jewish problem has been a lose-lose proposition because it has not spurred anyone to take meaningful action against it. Rather than griping about the problem, it is now time for all Americans to fight against this hatred and racism and for Jews to stand at the forefront of this fight.

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 anti-Semitism and the extremism it represents.

The writer is an Israeli-American “philanthropreneur.” He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @AdamMilstein, and on Facebook. To learn more about Adam’s work visit The Milstein Family Foundation or Adam’s website.

This article was originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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.