From ‘Peaceful’ Anti-Israel Vilification to Antisemitic Violent Attacks

This article was originally published in the Algemeiner on July 12, 2021.

Few could have imagined that the current wave of violence against Jews in major American cities would be possible within living memory of the Holocaust.

Jews in America now fear walking the streets wearing Jewish artifacts, congregating outside Jewish community buildings, or even speaking Hebrew or Yiddish in public. Shocking and unparalleled scenes of Jews being assaulted by mobs of anti-Israel thugs in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and other American cities, have begun to ring alarm bells.

Early in July, a rabbi sitting outside a Boston synagogue was stabbed eight times by Khaled Awad, 24, a known and violent antisemite.

At anti-Israel rallies from Europe to our major cities in America, violent and murderous slogans against Jews are regularly chanted such as “Long live intifada,” “From the River to the Sea,” and “Khaybar, Khaybar ya yahud! J’aish Mohammed sa ya’ud!” (“Khaybar, Khaybar, oh, Jews! Mohammed’s army will rise again!”–  a reference to the 7th-century Muslim massacre of the Jews of Khaybar, near Medina in the northwestern Arabian Peninsula, i.e., present-day Saudi Arabia).

This torrent of Jew-hatred has also included harassment, vandalism, and online abuse.

Not the Usual Suspects Anymore

For the most part, this onslaught of antisemitic activity didn’t come from far-right groups. It has overwhelmingly been carried out by Muslim extremists, as well as  radical leftist allies. This didn’t happen out of the blue. Activists of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to delegitimize the State of Israel and promote antisemitism, have committed previous attacks against Jews in many universities and in major American cities.

As the Jewish-American community has been focused largely on the threats emanating from white supremacists, these acts of violence have been ignored and dismissed time and time again, while law enforcement agencies did not investigate or held these violent antisemites accountable.

The 2019 “The New Antisemites” report documented how the BDS movement has radicalized other hate groups, from the radical right to the radical left, and promoted violence against Jews. The American proponents of the BDS movement, including many Jews and Jewish institutions, bear responsibility for the transformation of anti-Israel vilification into the antisemitic violent attacks we have seen in recent weeks.

The Warning Signs: Anti-Israel Rallies and Aggressive Disruption of Pro-Israel Events

Over the past decade, extremists from the Islamo-Leftist alliance have become increasingly brazen and violent.

On college campuses, pro-Israel events have been disrupted for years, often violently. Anti-Israel activists have aggressively attacked and deplatformed speakers. As a result, pro-Israel speakers have been harassed, and events have had to be cancelled or required high security. This hasn’t been confined to universities.

In December 2017, pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in Time Square and called for violence against Jews worldwide chanting, “There is only one solution, Intifada Revolution” and “Khaybar, Khaybar ya yahud! J’aish Mohammed sa ya’ud.”

In 2018, anti-Israel extremists with criminal records aggressively disrupted an event held by the pro-Israel nonprofit Reservists on Duty at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York. The NYPD was immediately called to the rescue, and while they removed the disrupters from the event, the latter were quickly released, no charges were filed, and no criminal investigation took place.

It was clear that it would only be a matter of time until we saw violent acts normalized against “evil” Israel supporters. The lack of a sufficient response by the Jewish community and law enforcement — and the fact that the perpetrators were not held accountable — sanctioned their actions, and paved the way for more severe violence against Jews. This has escalated to the situation we are witnessing today of Jews being openly targeted and attacked.

The Dam Breaks: Renewed Israel-Hamas Clashes in the Age of BLM

Following the riots related to George Floyd’s death and the rise of the BLM movement, Islamo-leftist extremists who see themselves as “justice warriors” for Palestinians became empowered and more radicalized. They saw this as a justification and an opportunity to physically intimidate and attack Jews in America, without consequence.

However, those who have been arrested in recent weeks are dangerous extremists and not social justice activists.

In Los Angeles, assailants Samer Jayylusi and Xavier Pabon both have criminal records. In New York, extremist Waseem Awawdeh showed no remorse for his actions, telling one of his jailers, “If I could do it again, I would do it again.” Upon his release on $10,000 bail, Awawdeh received a hero’s welcome in his community.

Palestinian social media influencer and model Bella Hadid even shared a photograph of a radical anti-Israel rally she participated in in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in which violent offender Awawdeh was also pictured. She lauded these violent radicals as “beautiful, smart, respectful, loving, kind and generous” — without any consequences.

The American Jewish Community Must Go on the Offensive

We, the American Jewish community, now know the reality of the violent, antisemitic threat originating from radical Islamic and leftist extremists. It is not just about hate speech; it is now a physical threat which, as current experience has shown, will escalate even further as the perpetrators are set free with no real consequences.

We can no longer afford to dismiss this growing danger as inconsequential, and rely solely on law enforcement agencies and security guards to prevent hate crimes against the Jewish community. We must become proactive, go on the offensive, and take responsibility for protecting our loved ones.

Otherwise, we Jews in America are condemning ourselves to live in fear like our Jewish brethren in Paris, London, Berlin, and similar European cities, where antisemitic assaults are commonplace and Jewish institutions are hardened like fortresses. That is not the life I want for myself, my family, for my community, for my people, and for all Americans.

 

Antisemitism Isn’t Only a Jewish Problem

This article was published on Aish.com on July 4, 2021.

Throughout Jewish history in the diaspora, Jews lived at the mercy of local rulers and largely lacked the ability to defend themselves. Today, however, American Jews have established themselves as one of the most successful immigrant communities in the United States and they also have the State of Israel to rely upon. Yet, in the face of intensifying antisemitism too much focus has been placed on documenting, educating about, and objecting to antisemitic acts after they occur instead of going on the offense. Not enough resources are and were invested in holding antisemites directly accountable and creating consequences for their bigotry.

Jew-hatred has become excusable and almost mainstream in America. During the latest Israel–Hamas conflict, we witnessed Jews in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities were violently attacked by mobs of anti-Israel demonstrators. In a shocking development many would never have thought possible within living memory of the Holocaust, many Jews in America now fear walking on the streets wearing articles or items that readily identify them as Jewish.

There has been outrage against the recent acts of violence against American Jews, but BDS movement and other antisemitic groups are only gaining strength. There has been outrage against growing antisemitism on mainstream media and social media, but the bias against Jews and the State of Israel is just exploding. There has outrage against legislators Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib for promoting antisemitic 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, most Jews and other Americans fail to appreciate that antisemitism is not just a problem for Jews; antisemitism is an issue for all Americans and threatens to destroy the American way of life.

The goal of the radical groups who espouse antisemitism – the radical left, the radical right, radical Muslims, and radical African Americans of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam or the Black Hebrew Israelites – is not just to eradicate all Jews but mainly to destroy America as we know it. But, since Jews are the direct target of antisemitism, other Americans perceive Jew-hatred as a uniquely Jewish problem and fail to realize that defining antisemitism as a Jewish problem has long been a lose-lose proposition.

If we don’t take new, pro-active approaches, rising antisemitic attacks and public displays of hate will continue to come from these radical movements. If we, as American Jews, are truly ready to subdue this hate, we must start fighting Jew-hatred head-on together with our fellow 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 actively work to detect threats far before they 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, financing and agendas;
  2. increasing knowledge-sharing capabilities that inform the American people about the threats and empower them to take action;
  3. holding the media accountable to the standards of a fair and free press;
  4. supporting legislation that curbs the influence of the radical movements in our institutions

Rather than bemoaning the problem, it is 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 the increasingly precarious reality demonstrate that the inalienable rights afforded by the Constitution cannot be taken for granted. We must uncompromisingly, bravely, and adamantly defend America from the dangers of antisemitism and the extremism it represents.

Fight Antisemitism: ‘Never Again’ Must Be Backed By Actions

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on June 10, 2021.

Each year Jews and non-Jews around the world recite the mantra “Never Again” to remember the six million Jewish lives and tens of millions of other victims murdered by the Nazis. And then, each year, we continue to see Jew-hatred and antisemitic violent attacks continue to soar all over the world.

We have a responsibility to remember the Holocaust, honor those precious lives lost, and elevate the voices of survivors. However, with the memory of the Holocaust fading, remembrance is not enough. We must do everything in our power to recognize the growing Jew-hatred and prevent it from being increasingly violent. “Never Again” must be accompanied by meaningful actions to prevent future genocides.

Defining antisemitism is critical to preventing and combating Jew-hatred

To effectively prevent and fight Jew-hatred, it first must be clearly defined. Antisemitism takes many shapes and forms, and its expression has morphed over the years. Classic antisemitic canards and age-old conspiracy theories about Jews focus on hatred of the Jewish people because of their religion, and from the 19th century onwards because of their race and ethnicity. While this type of hatred is currently prevalent among white supremacists and neo-Nazis, it is no longer the predominant form of antisemitism today.

Today’s antisemitism uses a new, pernicious expression of Jew-hatred: the delegitimization, demonization, and double standards placed on the Jewish State of Israel. While the new antisemitism has been popularized by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, it has now been adopted by all the other key antisemitic movements, such as white supremacists, radical Muslims, the far-left, and the followers of Louis Farrakhan.

In fact, the recently released The New Antisemites report documents how under the guise of “social justice” activism, the BDS movement radicalizes all other hate groups, promotes violence against Jews, and creates a threatening environment that normalizes antisemitism, something that history has shown to have deadly consequences.

The IHRA working definition of antisemitism encapsulates both the “old” and “new” Jew-hatred

On May 26, 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) published its working definition of antisemitism, which has since been adopted or endorsed by 36 UN Member States, including the US. The IHRA is a unique intergovernmental organization that empowers political and social leaders to address the need for Holocaust remembrance, research, and education worldwide to combat Holocaust denial and incitement of violence against Jews.

The IHRA definition encompasses both the old and new forms of Jew-hatred. Examples of the “old” include: “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective…”, and from the “new:” “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor;” “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis;” and “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.”

The IHRA definition exposes the true agenda of today’s Jew-haters and holds them accountable for their antisemitism. To disguise their true, antisemitic goal of annihilating Israel, these new antisemites purport to support “human rights” and “social justice.” It is unsurprising then that the leading voices against the IHRA definition come from the BDS movement and far-left organizations.

The IHRA definition must be widely adopted to prevent Jew hatred and combat the violence antisemitism promotes and incites.

Realizing that proper education about the Holocaust is key to fighting today’s Jew-hatred, 19 US states require Holocaust education as part of their secondary school curricula. A comprehensive curriculum must include the IHRA definition of antisemitism, enabling educators to inform students about all of the different types of contemporary antisemitism and the severe consequences of sitting idle and not firmly fighting against Jew-hatred.

The IHRA definition is the most comprehensive definition of antisemitism. It has been endorsed by the Biden Administration and adopted by the US State Department, dozens of universities across the US and Canada, and the states of Kentucky, South Carolina, and Florida. All other states, universities, social media companies, schools, companies, and government entities should follow suit.

Remembrance alone is not enough: we must actively work to prevent future genocides

Analyses of the rising patterns of antisemitism around the globe today ominously resemble those in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. The latest conflict between Israel and the terror group Hamas, funded and incited by the Holocaust-denying Iranian terrorist regime, generated a new onslaught of antisemitic hate and violence against Jews in Europe and America.

We’ve seen stunning scenes of Jews from New York to Los Angeles being assaulted on the streets by mobs of antisemitic, anti-Israel thugs. In a shocking development many would never have thought possible within living memory of the Holocaust, many Jews in America now fear walking on the streets in their kippot, speaking Hebrew in public, or wearing other articles or items that readily identify them as Jewish.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It is our moral responsibility to recognize the similarities of the antisemitic events today to those preceding the Holocaust and take action.

We must actively work to ensure that activities, organizations, and movements promoting Jew-hatred will not result in mass genocide occurring again. To do so, we must expose and hold the perpetrators of hate and violence accountable.

To stop Jew-hatred we must not only focus on teaching about the lessons of the Holocaust, but we must also learn from them and act vigorously to prevent it from happening again. We must unite in pushing for the widespread adoption of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, particularly when passing legislation mandating Holocaust education.

History has shown us that “The hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews.” When we say “Never Again,” let us take action to prevent a future holocaust.

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

Biden needs to stand by Israel, against terrorism

This article was published in The Detroit News on May 20, 2021, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, and James Jay Carafano of The Heritage Foundation.

Make no mistake, Hamas and Islamic Jihad (IJ) are terrorist organizations. Their attacks on Israel have one purpose — blood, anybody’s blood, Jew, Arab or Palestinian, on the streets for fomenting anger and outrage. The goal: to derail the momentum for peace and normalization between the moderate Arab nations and Israel.

The Arab crowds rioting in the streets against Israelis and Jews are motivated by their religious beliefs and by tribal loyalty. But the violence against Israel is primarily directed, motivated and influenced by Iran. This is a huge test for the U.S. and moderate Arab nations in the Middle East.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have exploited Palestinian unrest to launch rockets at Israel from Gaza City, the authors write.

The governments of Morocco, Sudan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and even Saudi Arabia, who understand and appreciate the strategic alliance with Israel, are forced to criticize Israel’s response to the attacks on its civilian population — and that is exactly the outcome the Iranians are looking for.

Hamas and IJ have exploited Palestinian unrest to launch rockets at Israel, provoking their fourth mini-war with the Jewish State since 2008. Violent clashes at holy sites in Jerusalem have benefited Hamas, the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as IJ, which engineered the crisis as part of its annual offensive against Israel during Ramadan (the Islamic holy month).

These attacks occur at a time of political turmoil within Israel and coincide with the emergence of an ambivalent new policy from the fledgling Biden administration. President Joe Biden recently restored financial contributions to the Palestinian Authority, as well as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which critics had accused of partisan activities and corruption in providing aid to Hamas. At the same time, the Biden administration has launched a major effort to legitimize and negotiate with the terrorist Islamic State of Iran.

Without question, these recent incidents have put Washington in a difficult spot, engaging with entities that are fueling violence in the region. Many of the rockets, for example, were provided by Iran, which shares Hamas’ and IJ’s goal of destroying Israel.

While IJ is a direct proxy of Iran, Hamas is not. However, both terror organizations receive funding and weapons from Iran. Hamas also has its own reasons to escalate tensions. Hamas is enraged that the Palestinian elections were canceled; its members do not want to remain isolated, and they need to remain relevant. Violence is a means to gain power and global recognition.

As long as Hamas has a chokehold on Gaza, there can be no peace. And as long as there is no peace, they will continue to do Iran’s dirty work and try to topple the Abraham Accords.

Under these circumstances, there is a question Washington must ask itself: Are the Abraham Accords and the alliance between Israel and moderate Arab countries against Iran strong enough to stand against this? Or will this alliance crumble under the direction of Iran and pressure of radicals rioting in the streets? The likely answer is that the whole effort to build peace, stability and prosperity in the region will collapse without a robust response from the U.S.

Furthermore, if the U.S. fails to respond, it will project a position of weakness and provide legitimacy to terrorist groups. The results of a soft foreign policy approach to combating radical Islam are clearly evident in Yemen. Biden has suspended U.S. military support for a coalition of Arabs fighting against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, overturned the designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization, and put a hold on arms sales to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. This, in turn, only fueled further violence in the region, emboldened Iran and encouraged the Houthis to regularly launch missiles and drones on Saudi targets.

To respond from a position of strength, the administration must unambiguously support Israel’s right to self-defense, particularly at the UN, as well as diplomatic efforts by Egypt to wind down the crisis without jeopardizing Israeli deterrence of future Hamas and IJ rocket attacks. Israel is a bulwark against Islamic terrorism, and a strong, secure Israel bolsters America’s position in the region. Undermining Israel ultimately undermines American security interests.

The U.S. must hold accountable those seeking to undermine America and its allies.

The U.S. has to signal its abject disgust with Hamas and Iran and its direct proxies. The best way to do that is to pull the U.S. negotiating team working on the Iran deal out of Vienna until the violence stops.

Biden also needs to send a strong signal to the moderate Arab nations that the U.S. is fully committed to supporting and expanding the Abraham Accords.

Finally, the U.S. needs to work with Arab partners to start to undermine the influence and resources of extremist Iran Proxy groups like IJ and Hezbollah.

Iran’s attacks on Israel via its terror proxies is a test of American power. By responding swiftly and appropriately, the U.S. has an opportunity to re-exert strength in the region and undermine Iran’s influence in the Middle East.

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 a co-founder of the Israeli-American Council and the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

Strategic Philanthropy to Strengthen America

Article originally published in JNS on May 18, 2021.

Our American way of life and Western values are under attack by radical hate groups funded by wealthy ideologues. To counter them, we must draw upon the same successful methods I employed in the fight against Jew-hatred.

Over the past decade, I have focused my activist efforts on the fight against anti-Semitism in the United States through strategic impact philanthropy. This approach to philanthropy requires not only financial giving but also the investment of time, experience, vision, and personal connections.

This has all been possible because America has afforded me, an immigrant from Israel, tremendous opportunities to succeed in business and build a wonderful life for my family. My business success allowed me to dedicate my resources to make an impact.

In recognition of all that America has given me, I have decided to expand my philanthropic focus to counter the unprecedented assault on America and its values.

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 in the U.S. and around the world.

Empowering a coalition to combat anti-Semitism

To fight Jew-hatred, I analyzed which organizations were the most effective in combating anti-Semitism and which philanthropists were supporting them. Then, I cultivated a network of like-minded donors, and together we selected organizations to support, based on their impact and willingness to collaborate with one another.

Knowing it takes a network to defeat a network, my fellow donors and I directed the organizations in our coalition to map out the network of adversaries propagating Jew-hatred and the various groups fighting anti-Semitism.

We, the connected donors, facilitated and provided funding for partnerships among the organizations. We ensured that they develop and share actionable research that would be actively utilized to go on the offensive.

As a result, a coalition of dozens of groups marginalized and discredited the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement by exposing its affiliations with terrorism; how it promotes hate towards and violence against Jews; and its opposition to peace and normalization in the Middle East.

Broadening the battle to protect America and its values

Our American way of life and Western values are under attack by radical hate groups on both the left and the right, funded by wealthy ideologues. To counter them, we must draw upon the same successful methods I employed in the fight against Jew-hatred.

First, we must map out the fundamental American values that we are fighting for, including democracy; freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly; education without indoctrination; rule of law; and capitalism.

Second, we need to network with like-minded philanthropists who are willing and able to provide a coalition of organizations with funding, direction informed by high-quality research, and a network to promote collaboration.

Third, we need to identify the allies that excel at each one of these key standards and are willing to share information and build relationships with like-minded organizations. These allies include grassroots groups that are directly involved on the ground and with the public, think tanks, legal and media organizations, and research groups.

The movements working to harm America are organized in a similar structure 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, networks, funders, and plans. We will then use this information to counter the opposing organizations in the environments in which they currently hold sway.

Partnering with the best in class

To start, we need to determine the most effective willing, and able financial partners and organizations with which to work. We must evaluate the organization to ensure that it is fully committed to strengthening and protecting American values and freedoms. An organization should have a clear definition of what these values are, and must accurately recognize the threat that our enemies pose to America and the American way of life.

It is then critical to evaluate the 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 habitually and naturally collaborate with others and complement one another’s distinctive contributions.

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

I 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 strategic impact philanthropy, to combat the groups that seek to undermine America and all it stands for.

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

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.

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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.