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Strategic venture philanthropy – How the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation fights for Israel and combats antisemitism.

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on May 16th, 2024, written By ALAN ROSENBAUM

‘This is a unique time in the history of the world,” declares Adam Milstein, co-founder of the Los Angeles-based Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, “when the enemies of the Jewish people and Israel are also enemies of Western civilization and America.”

Over the past decade, Milstein, who grew up in Israel and served in the IDF during the 1973 Yom Kippur War before moving to Los Angeles and becoming a successful real estate investor, community leader, and venture philanthropist, has warned about the exponential rise in antisemitism and its main promoters.

“We were among the first to alert the public that the main source of antisemitism stems from the radical Left and radical Muslims rather than from white supremacists.”

Many scoffed at Milstein’s views, but after Oct. 7, he reports, people are increasingly agreeing with his view that the source of the current wave of antisemitism comes from the unholy alliance between the radical Left and Islamists.

“We are determined to use our knowledge and experience, as well as the fact that we identified the issues before many others, to innovate new solutions and find new ways to fight back,” he says.

One of the groundbreaking ways in which the Milstein Foundation is fighting back is through what he calls “strategic venture philanthropy” to combat the serious threats confronting Israel and the Jewish people during this challenging period.

“Due to our expertise in the field and many years of experience,” says Elena Yacov, executive director of the foundation, “we can vet and select the most effective and innovative organizations to support.” The foundation currently supports close to 100 nonprofit organizations that support Israel, fight antisemitism, and champion American values.

To receive assistance, organizations must meet the criteria of the Milstein Foundation. First, they must support the foundation’s mission, which is to fight antisemitism, support the State of Israel, and protect American democracy.

Foundation staff evaluates the organization for its distinctiveness and effectiveness.

“We want to see proof of concept [gathering evidence to support the feasibility of a project], effectiveness, and impact,” says Yacov. “We need to see a return on our philanthropic investment in terms of their impact.”

Organizations must also be willing to collaborate with other recipients of funding from the Milstein Foundation.

“We don’t want to support two organizations that are doing exactly the same thing, but we want to support and empower organizations to work together and amplify each other’s strengths,” she explains.

Yacov cites a collaborative project by the foundation’s affiliate program – the Impact Forum Venture Fund, which brings together groups of 10 organizations at each cohort. With one donation, a single donor can support an entire group of organizations that has been vetted and selected for effectiveness. The participating organizations are using the funds to create collaborations and joint projects.

“We bring the leaders of these organizations together once a month,” says Yacov, where they get to know each other and work together. The funding is a really great way to incentivize them.”

Milstein points out that the foundation is in close contact with all the organizations it assists and connects them with other groups to encourage further synergy and force multiplication. “If one of them comes up with a research product or campaign that we think more organizations can join and amplify, we will connect many organizations to work together,” he says.

As an example, he cites a 2019 report, created by one of the organizations sponsored by the foundation, about the new antisemitism promoted by the Islamo-leftist alliance and what distinguishes it from classical antisemitism.

He says that the report was distributed throughout a network of 70 different organizations supported by the Milstein Foundation. “In this way,” he says, “we create a huge impact by ensuring that our organizations work together with synergy, force-multiplying their own work.”

Occasionally, the foundation will initiate its own projects when it identifies an area that is not being developed.

Milstein explains that these needs are determined only after extensive research. “The way that we operate is very unique,” he says. “It starts with a comprehensive analysis of the issue, the marketplace, and the anti-Israel organizations involved. We do a great deal of research to understand it further and recognize what we can do to help solve the problem.”

If the Milstein Foundation has identified a need that is not being addressed, it will create a proof of concept and partner with like-minded philanthropists to execute and develop a new project or initiative.

When Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7, the Milstein Foundation was ready to respond to the wave of antisemitism and anti-Israel feelings, due to the numerous organizations and projects it had supported over the past decade.

“We were able to immediately provide solutions and fight back against the exponential rise of antisemitism,” says Milstein. “At the same time, we’re using our knowledge, experience, and existing organizations we support to come up with new ideas that use more cutting-edge technology and AI and other techniques that can scale up our knowledge, experience, and abilities.”

In his view, Oct. 7 was a wake-up call for the American Jewish community, especially among those who identified as progressives, who were dismayed by the lack of support they received from that community. “I now see some more people in the Jewish community interested in fighting antisemitism,” he says, adding that some American Jews are shifting funding toward the Jewish community, the State of Israel, and the fight against antisemitism instead of progressive causes.

However, Milstein is concerned that while anti-Israel demonstrations are constantly being reported throughout the United States, very few hear about pro-Israel demonstrations.

“Furthermore, when politicians say something positive about Israel, they are bombarded by hate, email, and texts from radical leftists and Islamists, but they don’t get too much support from the Jewish community,” he says.

Assimilation, he continues, is the number one enemy of the Jewish community in the United States, and the significance of the State of Israel no longer resonates with the younger generation of American Jews.

“We’re losing many of the biggest pro-Israel donors of our time as the older generation is dying out, and the wealth is being passed to the young generation,” says Milstein. “In the past, there were donors who would give tens of millions of dollars to Israel without thinking twice. The donations today are much less, and relatively fewer donors are supporting Israel.”

To that end, the Milstein Foundation is working with a new generation of younger philanthropists, educating them about venture philanthropy and organizations that can make an impact, getting them involved, and supporting organizations that are pro-Israel and fight antisemitism.

Having been engaged in the world of charitable giving for decades, Adam Milstein says that there are three types of philanthropy: emotional philanthropy; social-belonging philanthropy; and strategic-impact philanthropy.

Emotional philanthropy, he explains, is when people donate to particular organizations or institutions that affect them emotionally, such as their synagogue, their children’s school, or a hospital. They have a personal connection to and derive benefit from supporting the institution.

The meaning of social-belonging philanthropy is when people give money in order to be part of a particular group.

“Whether or not you agree with their mission or you think they are doing their mission effectively, you want to be a large donor because it has status attached to it,” says Milstein. “You want to be part of a social club.”

The most effective type of philanthropy, he says, is the strategic-venture philanthropy model employed by the Milstein Foundation, which closely analyzes the issues, devises solutions, and supports effective organizations.

“It is a holistic way of looking at issues, coming up with solutions, and taking action. It’s not about recognition – it’s about making an impact,” he says. “If you want to make an impact, we say that strategic-venture philanthropy is the way to make a big impact on the future of the Jewish people.”

What advice does Milstein offer to those interested in participating in Jewish philanthropy? “First of all,” he says, “we need to connect with and champion the State of Israel. We have a state with all the power that states have – diplomatic, military, and otherwise. It’s inconceivable that we’re going to fight against the enemies of the Jewish people without the support and engagement of the Jewish homeland, the State of Israel.

“We have tremendous influence and power in America, and now is the time to use it because the later that we respond, the later we unite together to fight back, the more difficult it’s going to be to be effective,” he predicts. “I call for partnership and collaboration, and I call on like-minded organizations and philanthropists to work together.”

Antisemitism may be a threat to the Jewish people, but on the other hand, he points out, it can motivate people to join forces and fight back.

As the interview comes to an end, Milstein says that Israel’s fight against Hamas is more than a localized struggle in the Middle East. “This is a time for us to unite and help others in the overall fight against the forces of evil that are attacking Western civilization today, which is the Islamo-leftist alliance.

“Instead of looking at this and acting as if this is just the problem of the Jewish people, we need to understand it’s a universal problem. The way to solve it is by educating and awakening other Europeans and Americans to understand that this fight is against them and partnering with them in the fight against the forces of evil.”

As evidence of the universal need to fight the forces of evil, Milstein notes that a growing number of the organizations supported by the foundation are non-Jewish organizations that are fighting to protect American democracy, American values, and the exceptional concept of America.

“We’re joining more and more American organizations that are fighting for America because they’re fighting our fight. And if they win, America will win, the world will win, Jews will win, and Israel will win.”

This was written in cooperation with the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

 

Israel must lead the Jewish community in its fight against global antisemitism – opinion

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on May 13th, 2024, written by Adam Milstein

Antisemitism is a persistent scourge that has haunted the Jewish people for centuries. For thousands of years, Jews faced discrimination, persecution, and state-sanctioned violence. This perilous existence, as guests in other countries, culminated with the Holocaust. Despite the hopes of the well-intentioned “Never Again” soothsayers, since the Holocaust, antisemitism has hardly disappeared into the dustbin of history.

From the Romans to the Babylonians, from the Soviets to the French, from Nazism to the Arab world, and now to American college campuses and elite academic circles, antisemitism endures. It is malleable and pernicious.

Anti-Jewish bigotry adapts repeatedly. It morphs and shape-shifts. Today, this is best seen in the Islamo-leftist alliance, a close relationship between two ideologies that seem to have little in common. Their commonality? Hatred of Jews. Since October 7, this modern version of the ancient hatred has escalated to alarming levels. It threatens not only Jewish communities around the globe but also the very existence of the State of Israel.

Israel has a lot on its plate at the moment.

A war in Gaza and a hot conflict with Hezbollah in its North. An increasingly emboldened Iran seeking nuclear weapons. A cascade of diplomatic crises around the world. But this is an issue that cannot wait. Global antisemitism threatens all Jews – and it threatens the State of Israel. The Jewish state has to figure out how to fight on many fronts and lead the charge against this worldwide scourge.

For the first time in history, in the face of rampant antisemitism in the Diaspora, there is a Jewish state. Not merely any state, but a Jewish state with power. With means. With resources, fortitude, and immense capabilities. Ensuring Jews would no longer be forced to rely on others for their safety was a motivating factor of Zionism. The Holocaust proved this view prescient when Jews across Europe, with neither army nor state, were left to die as the world watched.

Israel has the responsibility to protect Diaspora Jews

While Israel protects its citizens with all its might, it also has a responsibility to protect the Jews of the world. To achieve this, Israel must establish the “Jewish Agency to Combat Antisemitism,” similar to the Jewish Agency for Israel, created in 1929 for the purpose of assisting and encouraging Jews worldwide to help develop and settle Israel.

As the homeland and protector of the Jewish people, Israel must take this proactive measure to combat the rising tide of hatred and prejudice. It is no longer sufficient to rely solely on Jewish communities in the Diaspora to bear the burden of this fight. Israel possesses the resources, expertise, and determination needed to support them. It must do so.

The current war in Gaza underscores the urgency of the moment. This conflict with Hamas is possibly only in its nascent stage. As it persists, antisemitism abroad continues to proliferate. Across the West, antisemitic forces shamelessly harass, bully, and assault Jews. Israel and the Jewish people cannot afford to wait for the demise of Hamas before addressing this global epidemic of Jew hatred. Epidemics need remedies. By creating a “Jewish Agency to Combat Antisemitism,” Israel can take the lead in this fight. And in doing so, reassure Jews across the Diaspora that it maintains an unwavering commitment to their safety and security.

Despite its strength, Israel cannot fight this battle alone. Jewish communities in the Diaspora must continue to stand in solidarity with the Jewish state.

As Israel’s greatest external advocates, Diaspora Jews’ must continue their unwavering defense of the Jewish state in the public square. Jews in the Diaspora must do what they can to support the establishment and impact of the “Jewish Agency to Combat Antisemitism,” including providing significant funding.

To Israelis, Jewish Diaspora support reaffirms their connection to Jewish solidarity around the globe; and in turn, Jews around the world receive support from Israeli ingenuity, innovation, and intelligence capabilities.

This fight must be led by the Jewish people, but not confined solely to us. Alliances are essential in this struggle. For the first time in history, Israel and Jews have natural allies against a common enemy. The Islamo-leftist alliance – whether it is Hezbollah lobbing rockets or US college students burning Israeli and American flags – represents a threat to Jews and Americans alike. It abhors freedom, capitalism, and liberal values.

By forging partnerships with strategic allies, the Jewish people can mobilize greater support in the fight against antisemitism. The case must be made clear. Today, they chant “From the river to the sea” and simultaneously want to rewrite American history and overthrow American meritocracy. Our fight is your fight too.

By establishing the “Jewish Agency to Combat Antisemitism,” and rallying Jewish communities and allies worldwide, Israel can pave the way for a brighter, more secure future for the Jewish people.

As we celebrate Independence Day, the miracle of Israel’s founding as a necessary refuge to account for centuries of persecution, let’s use the moment to reestablish Israel’s role in the global fight to protect the Jewish people.

By committing to combat antisemitism in all its forms, Israel ensures a thriving Jewish future free from persecution and ostracization.

Condemn antisemitism without equivocation to Islamophobia – Opinion

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on April 21st, 2024, written by Adam Milstein

“Black lives matter” represent a stance against Black intolerance. Following the October 7th massacre of more than 1,200 Israelis, injuring 7,000 more, the Jewish community asks: condemn antisemitism

In 2020, Americans took the streets to protest the death of George Floyd. The phrase “Black lives matter” was born. This chant and slogan is now recognized throughout the world to represent a stance against Black intolerance. When some tried to counter it with “all lives matter” they were perceived as dismissive of the unique struggles of the Black community. One of the better arguments is that universalizing a concept when a specific group of people are harmed, is tantamount to an empty platitude or an even a bigoted retort.

Following October 7th Hamas massacre of more than 1,200 Israelis, injuring 7,000 more, the Jewish community is asking the same: condemn antisemitism. Condemn it without caveat and without universal language of “standing against all forms of hate”. Yet, time and time again, “Islamophobia” is evoked as a counterpart of antisemitism. This is misguided. It’s unproductive. And it’s unfair.

Let me be clear.

Bigotry, prejudice, and violence must be called out and combatted forcefully – whether it is directed at Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or anyone else. Anyone who traffics in hatred must be condemned, and when necessary, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

That said, by definition, antisemitism and Islamophobia refer to two very different phenomena that have no connections to one another. When lumped together, the message is muddled at best and offensive at worst.

  1. The term Islamophobia does not mean hate against Muslims

First, it’s important to define that despite common misconception, the term Islamophobia doesn’t represent hate against Muslims but rather irrational fear of Muslims. ‘Islamophobia’ as a term has existed since the nineteenth century, but became prominent in 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie following his publication of The Satanic Verses. The fatwa not only imposed a death penalty on Rushdie, but also criminalized all the publishers and translators of the book. When Rushdie was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for his services to literature, Iran accused Britain of “Islamophobia”.

Since then, the Islamophobic label has been used increasingly to deter and ultimately criminalize any scrutiny of the behavior any groups or individuals who happen to be Muslim, even when those are committing atrocities like Hamas, or advancing radical or harmful ideas, like Iran’s Mullahs.

Hatred toward Muslim is real, but it doesn’t equal Islamophobia. The Australian man, who killed 51 Muslims in 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand was an extremist bigot who hated Muslims. He did not irrationally fear them.

Thus, the better term to use is Muslim-hate and not Islamophobia.

2. Muslims are often the perpetrators of Antisemitism

Second, the threat to the Muslim community has one clear culprit – far right white supremacism. While these same supremacists often include antisemitism in their ideology, Jews also face threats from every ideological and political direction, including Muslims who harbor antisemitic views more than any other religious community. Therefore, the treatment of hate against Muslims is not and cannot be similar to the treatment of antisemitism.

Since October 7th, anti-Israel and antisemitic rallies led by Muslims have been held around the world. Calls to kill Jews and eliminate the Jewish state spread widely across the Muslim world. Many featured explicit support for Hamas’ atrocious actions. Pro-Hamas imagery was displayed in Tunisia and antisemitic chants rained from Cairo to Italy. These demonstrations are no surprise, given that:

The simple truth is, many Muslims hold bigoted views towards Jews. Stating this truth is not Islamophobic nor rooted in Muslim hate. Ignoring this truth appeases antisemites.

Therefore, lumping antisemitism and Islamophobia together creates a bizarre and ironic situation where the victims and perpetrators are treated the same and looked at from the same lens.

3. Islamophobia is used as a weapon against those who call out antisemitism

Third, accusations of Islamophobia are often used by extremists to whitewash, obfuscate, and distract from dangerous and growing radical movements in the Muslim world.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015, the prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, refused to use the term ‘Islamophobia’ to describe the phenomenon of anti-Muslim prejudice, because, he said, the accusation of Islamophobia is often used as a weapon by apologists for radical Islamists to silence critics.

Few stand up publicly today against radical Islam and those who do risk being silenced under the label of Islamophobes. The sword of Islamophobia is wielded to deliberately chill discourse and narrow the public marketplace of ideas.

We cannot let accusations of Islamophobia silence us when we confront and defend ourselves against the radical ideologies that exist in the Muslim communities and are now growing in Europe and America. Ideologies that undermine our values and seek to target the Jewish people in Israel and worldwide.

The Muslim Brotherhood, its Palestinian wing—Hamas, and its American wing— CAIR, are designated as terrorist organizations by many countries around the world. Confronting CAIR, whose director said he was “happy to see” Palestinians break out of Gaza on October 7th, is not Islamophobic. Luckily, the White House now agrees.

Confronting Mehdi Hasan, the former MSNBC and Al Jazeera journalist, who pushes conspiracy theories about Israel and defended Rep, Ilhan Omar’s antisemitic comments, is not Islamophobic.

Confronting Rep. Tlaib, who called the 10/7 attack as “resistance”, lies about Israel regularly, and invokes “from the river to the sea”, is not Islamophobic.

And most importantly, calling out the heinous crimes committed by Hamas against Jews is not Islamophobic. As a matter of fact, standing against Hamas – an organization with complete disregard to Christian, Jewish and Muslim lives and freedoms – is neither Islamophobic nor Muslim hate.

These individuals and organizations deserve to be publicly criticized and discredited not because they are Muslim, but because they are guilty of antisemitism and hate.

In the wake of October 7th, it’s time for our leaders and community to recognize that antisemitism and Islamophobia don’t go hand in hand, have nothing in common, and lumping them together leads to more divisiveness and misunderstanding of both communities.

I stand in solidarity with everyone who faces prejudice and discrimination because of their ethnicity or beliefs. Any decent person ought to. That’s why I will continue speaking out against radical Islam and other extremist movements. That’s why I will not stay silent in the face of phony accusations of Islamophobia.

Anti-Zionist Jews are fringe voices – it’s time we ridicule them

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on February 18th, 2024, written by Adam Milstein

Since the Soviet Union, the Arab League boycott, and the Iranian Revolution, antisemites have tried to hide their anti-Jewish bigotry behind politically acceptable “anti-Zionism.”

Get two Jews in a room, get three opinions. True of most things, but one thing most Jews agree on is that Israel is the indigenous homeland of the Jewish people and that their connection to it is a core tenet of their Jewish identity. Despite this majoritarian view, there is a loud minority of radical anti-Israel Jewish voices. Although unrepresentative of the broad Jewish community, our detractors and the media weaponize them, turning them into “token Jews” used to attack Israel and sow division within the Jewish community. It’s time we ridicule them.

From the Soviet Union to the Arab League Boycott, from the Iranian Revolution to October 7th and anti-Israel protests today, antisemites attempt to hide their anti-Jewish bigotry behind politically acceptable “anti-Zionism”. Jews who support this charade willingly provide political cover for this generation’s loudest and proudest antisemites.

The normalization of anti-Zionist Jews in public life has three glaring issues:

1. Israel-hatred doesn’t exempt you from the Jewish collective future

Jewish life in the diaspora is directly dependent on the continued survival and flourishing of the Jewish state. Groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and If Not Now (INN), deploy and weaponize their Jewish identity in their anti-Israel activism. The effect? The re-assurance of non-Jewish groups that anyone can target Israel without fear of alienating the “Jewish community”. JVP and INN are a collection of radical left, mostly Jewish ideologues who use their ancestry to leverage attacks against Israel. They cite Jewish ritual, reference texts, and use our people’s language to validate their radical attacks against the homeland of the Jewish people, the state of Israel.

What they fail to realize is that their misplaced activism allows virulent antisemites to turn them into useful idiots. They’re ephemeral political fronts weaponized by antisemites until they no longer serve their purpose. Antisemites hate all Jews – “good Jews” or “bad Jews”, those from the right and from the left alike. So, if Israel ceases to exist, as JVP and INN desire, where will these Jews turn when antisemites inevitably turn on them? By normalizing and validating the progressive movement’s exclusion of Zionist Jews (most Jews) they are essentially digging their own graves.

JVP and INN should forever be contextualized properly and referred to for what they are – useful jesters for Jew haters around the globe. And once contextualized, they should be ridculed.

2. Institutions empowering “token” Jews endanger all Jews 

Radical leftist orthodoxy continues to permeate American institutional life. This ideological capture is perhaps most obvious throughout American universities. Since October 7th, university leadership keen to balance the appearance of caring about antisemitism while maintaining their progressive bona fides,  use token Jews as proof that their progressive agendas are not antisemitic. For example, recently, Stanford named Ari Kelman, a Jewish professor aligned with anti-Israel groups, and who concluded antisemitism wasn’t a problem on campuses in 2017 paper, as the Co-Chair of their Committee on Antisemitism.

In an effort to redefine what constitutes antisemitism, Kelman alongside Jewish Voice for Peace, argued that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism is “flawed and overly expansive” and “silences Palestinian voices.” Deborah Lipstadt, the US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism called IHRA “one of the most fundamental tools we have to combat [antisemitism].” Stanford selected someone to combat antisemitism whose views are directly at odds with the State Department’s pre-eminent defender of the Jewish people. And after Kelman essentially offered his Judaism as political cover to defend San Francisco State University’s (SFSU) antisemitism, the school admitted to allowing antisemitism on its campus.

More recently, Harvard selected Jewish professor Derek Penslar, a known anti-Israel proponent, to lead an antisemitism task force on campus. In August, Penslar signed an open letter accusing Israel of running “a regime of apartheid” and employing “Jewish supremacism”. And following Claudina Gay’s resignation, Penslar downplayed the antisemitism on campus, telling JTA that outsiders had “exaggerated” the issue. As Larry Summers wrote, “Could one imagine Harvard appointing as head of anti-racism task force someone who had minimized the racism problem,” as Mr. Penslar has done with antisemitism at Harvard.” The double standard glaring.

When selecting leadership and given the centrality of Israel for most Jews, institutions would be wise to listen to the fears and concerns of Zionist Jews. Committees, task forces, and organizations are constantly formed to combat “Muslim, Palestinian, and Arab hate” – lumping in ethnicity, religion and state-based hatred. But Jews aren’t afforded this same protection. Institutions who solely elevate Jews with anti-Israel views perpetuate this double standard.

3. Anti-Israel views are not pro-peace. They’re anti-Jewish future.

Since 10/7 it’s hard to find a “pro-Palestinian” rally that isn’t drenched in antisemitic rhetoric, anti-Jewish venom, or stereotypical tropes. Anti-Israel Jews, aligned with radical leftist ideology, have taken part in many of these rallies. They have joined the growing numbers who view the world through over-simplified binaries and hypothetical pyramids of power and oppression. These activists enthusiastically point to Israel as a unique perpetuator of oppression.

But JVP and INN activists have no interest in peace. One of their allies, Omar Barghouti, the co-founder and co-leader of the BDS movement, explains: “You cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two-state solution. . . A return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.” And he makes clear that this is precisely his goal. “Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.” And he hails JVP as a “key partner in the BDS network.”

Sunlight is the greatest disinfectant, thus JVP and INN should be exposed as radical, fringe, and anti-peace. They harbor views that not only fail to represent the broad Jewish consensus, but they also directly endanger the Jewish people.

Since 10/7, what many Jews have feared for a long time has been made crystal clear–our place in the world is tenuous, our footing is fragile, and there aren’t many of us. Jews who openly call for the destruction of Israel threaten our future as a people, and we must see them as who they really are –tools that are used by the hands of our enemies.

This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. Read the previous article by Roi Yanovsky

Progressives don’t deserve the Jewish vote

This article was originally published in the Washington Times on February 13th, 2024, written by Adam Milstein

It is no secret that Jewish Americans have historically skewed left politically. We have long been considered an important voting bloc for Democrats, and our involvement in the Democratic Party dates as far back as the early days of the labor movement.

In recent years, however, radical progressives have begun to take over the Democratic Party. These progressives are proud anti-Zionists who frequently cross the line into antisemitism. Their takeover of the party has unsurprisingly alienated Jewish voters. But this has never been more apparent than in the aftermath of Hamas‘ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

When Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, they set out to kill as many Jews as possible, to exterminate our people, and abolish the Jewish state. It was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust — this was the goal, and Hamas was clear about that.

The United States has always been an important ally to Israel, so we expected our allies to stand with us. As American Jews, we expected an unequivocal condemnation of these horrific acts of violence from leaders across the political spectrum. But that did not happen. Instead, when pro-Hamas protesters flooded the streets chanting for the destruction of Israel, the progressive left turned a blind eye.

This came as a shock to some because liberal American Jews have long supported progressive causes. From supporting the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ‘60s to fighting for LGBTQ rights to supporting critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in education, liberal American Jews have often been at the front lines of promoting progressive causes. By and large, we have fought for, supported, and voted for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, racial equality, and religious freedom.

As a result, many of us felt blindsided and even betrayed when our political leaders and fellow activists turned their backs on us. Instead of condemning the terrorists who slaughtered, tortured, and kidnapped our people, they called us colonizers. Instead of mourning with us, they callously blamed Israel for the bloodshed.

In the weeks after the Oct. 7 attack, antisemitic incidents reportedly increased by 400% in the United States. This concerning surge in antisemitism has not subsided over the last two months; it has only gotten worse. Progressive leaders and activists not only refuse to speak out against this, but many of them are actively involved.

Unsurprisingly, American universities have become hotbeds of antisemitism. At two universities, pro-Hamas protesters called for “glory to the martyrs.” At the University of California, Berkeley, a professor offered students extra credit to attend a protest hosted by an antisemitic organization. At Harvard, students notoriously wrote a letter blaming Israel for the violence perpetrated by Hamas. And all the while, faculty and university leaders turned a blind eye or worse, encouraged this behavior.

In theory, the CRT and DEI initiatives that many of us supported were supposed to foster inclusive environments that welcome those of all racial and religious backgrounds. These initiatives should encourage a variety of beliefs and diversity of thought. Instead, DEI and CRT have been used by the radical left to create an “us vs. them” mentality and promote victimhood. DEI and CRT adherents welcome minorities, but only “the right kind” of minorities.

What many liberal Jews failed to realize is that we do not fall into that category. From a DEI perspective, Jewish people are not oppressed; they are the oppressors. They are not marginalized or persecuted; they are colonizers. This line of thinking has allowed antisemites to come out of the shadows under the guise of righteousness, and it sets an incredibly dangerous precedent.

Just last week, Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Cori Bush of Missouri voted against a bill to bar all Hamas members and anyone involved in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel from entering the United States. They said the bill was “anti-Arab,” “anti-Palestinian” and “anti-Muslim.” They made no mention of the Jewish people, whom this bill was written to protect.

A November poll found that 70% of American Jews reported feeling less safe since the start of the IsraelHamas war. Yet the progressives in Congress continue to turn their backs on the Jewish people.

American Jews are now refusing to support or donate to academic institutions that refuse to condemn antisemitism. A number of wealthy, high-profile donors have pulled funding from Harvard and other well-known universities. So far, we have seen some results, with a number of failed university presidents stepping down.

But this is just the beginning. We need to continue to fight the DEI programs that allowed antisemitism to take root in the first place, and we need to take the fight to the political arena. As the 2024 elections approach, American Jews will have an opportunity to take progressive politicians to task for their failure to support the Jewish community. No longer can the Democratic Party blindly count on the Jewish vote. The left has taken us for granted for too long. This is the year we say, no more.

 

Adam Milstein is a business investor and a venture philanthropist. A native of Israel, he served in the Israeli Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War and immigrated to the U.S. in 1981, earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and began a career in commercial real estate. He is a co-founder and board member of the Israeli-American Council and served as its national chairman from 2015 to 2019, as well as the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

As Liberal Jews Feel abandoned by the Left — What’s next?

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on January 10th, 2024, written by Adam Milstein

All Jews agree on one thing…that all Jews never agree. At any Jewish gathering around the world, you’ll hear heated debates on food, religion, culture, and everything in between. Politics are no different, but the debate is louder.

James Baker once said “F*** the Jews, they don’t vote for us.” While perhaps untrue, Baker’s sentiment reflected a historical American Jewish political truism – the Jewish community votes Democrat. Since the early 1990’s, a growing number of Jews have shifted rightward, but the majority of the Jewish-American community reside in the “liberal” camp.

After the October 7th terrorist attack, prior to Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, the true sentiment of the left towards Jews was exposed. Protests on college campuses, airports, freeways, bridges, outside synagogues, and Holocaust museums forced Jewish Americans to face a stark reality. Leftist and their Muslim allies were exposed not only as anti-Israel but as plainly anti-Jewish groups. Mobilizing under a guise of liberation (“From the River to the Sea”), and civil rights (“justice” in Palestine), one thing became increasingly clear – for a large coalition of leftists and Muslims in America, Jews have no right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland and deserve no safety anywhere.

Liberal Jews’ residence among American leftists is now in peril.

The Shock 

Historically and for good reason, Jews have been fixated on the antisemitism from the far right as our greatest threat. This focus on antisemitism’s political affiliation left us vulnerable. We have virtually ignored the growing warning signs of antisemitism from the Islamo-leftist camp. After all, Jews were an integral part of the left. In the name of Tzedek (Justice), we’ve marched with every marginalized community throughout American history. Yet, on October 7th, 2023, we marched alone. As our women had blood dripping down their legs, women’s rights groups didn’t express any outrage. They stood silent. As our children were identified by their ashes, children’s rights organizations were nowhere to be found. And as our civilians were brutalized, all human, civil, and LGBTQ+ rights didn’t march, didn’t organize, and didn’t protest. On the contrary – they stood with the attackers.

In the wake of October 7th, American Jews were left speechless. The wakeup call has been loud. The Jewish political home, the American left, turns a blind eye to war crimes and to the sexual mutilation of women, children and men when the victims are Jews. It has become evidently clear that in leftist spaces, the American Jew is dehumanized as a mere “oppressor”, an “Occupier”, a “Colonialist”, “White privileged”, and “Apartheid” supporter. Compassion for the deep trauma Jews sustained was nowhere to be found.

One must wonder, if killing Jews and raping women in Israel is ‘just’ and legitimate under the guise of a victim using ‘resistance by any means necessary’, what prevents our enemies from committing the same crimes in America? And where can liberal Jews find a political home?

The Evolution 

Jewish-Americans, motivated by our people’s values, traditions and history, gravitated to the political left in America. With an emphasis on Tikkun Olam, American Jews embraced a critical role in social justice movements throughout history. Our commitment to ‘repair the world’ found common cause with social movements on the left, solidifying the Jewish liberal alignment.

We memorialize female ancestors like Deborah, who personified courage as the “woman of torches”. And we lionize Esther who taught of female strength and resilience and Ruth who embodied integrity and diligence. Guided by these matriarchs, Jews across the nation fought for women’s rights and Jewish women like Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug led the feminist movement.

Our scripture mandates us to advocate for the marginalized – “what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a). Embedded in Jewish tradition is the notion that all man is “created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Just as Abraham didn’t turn anyone from his tent, Jews fought for the rights of Black Americans. Jews helped establish the NAACP in 1909. And in 1965, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel embodied the Jewish community’s collective support for civil rights as he marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.

In 1967, Rabbis joined Cesar Chavez and urged Kosher communities to only support union grapes as the non-union grapes were forbidden as Oshek. The Jewish community continued its activism throughout the 2020 marches for Black lives and then again in 2021 to stop Asian hate.

Jewish Americans have served as indispensable allies, leaders, and activists on issues of human dignity, civil rights, and progress throughout American history. This allyship with the left was presumed to be reciprocal. October 7th changed everything.

The Reality Check

In recent years, Critical Race Theory (CRT), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement carved out large pieces within the left’s agenda. Many liberal Jews have supported these developments believing that they’re the next phase of a long tradition of liberal activism. They were mistaken, no allyship with CRT, DEI, and BLM will protect them. Jews who tirelessly fight for acceptance and admittance in the intersectionality coalition will remain disappointed. We are not welcome.

Enamored with the seemingly laudable goals of DEI: to promote the representation, participation, and fair treatment of historically marginalized groups, liberal Jews ignored DEI promoters, and CRT advocates, as they advanced a radical agenda to fundamentally undermine American values. For years they have been promoting equality of outcome over equality of opportunity, collective identity (race, gender, etc.) over individual character, censorship of opposing viewpoints over freedom of speech, and a “victimhood Olympics” culture that crudely bifurcates society into oppressors and oppressed.

Liberal Jews failed to recognize how CRT and DEI initiatives, and intersectional theory would be weaponized against them. And today, we see how Jewish students are maliciously portrayed as wanton oppressors and colonialist abettors. American universities who fully adopted these doctrines are now hotbeds of antisemitism due to embedded leftist orthodoxy.

The Next Steps

So, where do liberal Jews go from here?

The “October 8th Jew” as Bret Stephens coined it, recognizes their home as a centrist. The October 8th Jew knows that the extreme left, like the extreme right before it, is no political home. The October 8th Jew is united in the mission to fight enemies of America, who always come first for the Jews. “Never again” must be backed by action and Jewish unity.

First, no more blind voting for Democrats or Republican for the sake of historical precedent. All Jews, including liberal Jews, must adopt a litmus test for candidates and support only those determined to fight antisemitism and support the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Second, pull support from organizations and academic institutions that promote the erasure of Jewish suffering and tacitly endorse Jew-hatred.

And finally, unite and support American organizations that protect and promote equality and inclusion rather than division and an ideology that aims to destroy Jewish life and American values.

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

This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. 

Attacks on Jews are an attack on the West

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on December 2nd, 2023, written by Adam Milstein

On October 7, Hamas attacked Israel, massacring 1,200 Israeli civilians in cold blood, and wounding thousands, including women, children, and the elderly. 240 people – including infants and Holocaust survivors – were kidnapped and taken to Gaza.

What was the response from the world?

Jewish institutions have been vandalized. Jews have been murdered on the street and attacked in their homes. Crowds have called for the annihilation of the Jewish state and to clean the world of Jews on college campuses.  Celebrities and influencers have openly supported Hamas. The horrific list of unimaginable reactions goes on and on.

Is this just about the Jews?

Jews are history’s “canary in the coal mine.” Where Jews have faced persecution and expulsion, it is usually a sign that darker forces are taking hold that will degrade, diminish, and often, destroy the broader society.

While classical antisemitism drove the persecution and murder of Jews for centuries, the largest force behind the recent wave of hatred stems from the “red-green alliance” – an unholy coalition between Islamists and radical leftists.

Although Jews are a major target of these Islamo-Leftist groups, their ultimate target has always been America and Western civilization. The wave of antisemitism flooding America since October 7 is a stark reminder that Antisemitism is first and utmost an American problem, it’s a danger to America – and the core values that have been the bedrock of this country’s rise.

It’s not a coincidence that every “pro-Hamas” march and rally – disguised as “Pro-Palestinian” – is drenched not only in antisemitic imagery and rhetoric, but also in anti-American vitriol. American flags are burnt alongside Israeli flags. Calls for the destruction of Israel are followed by Anti-American chants. When Israel and the Jewish community are assaulted, American civil liberties and values like freedom of speech and freedom of religion are also being attacked.

For the first time in a long time, the Jewish community is waking up to recognize what I’ve long warned. Our community is not safe even in America. My experience in the Yom Kippur War, fighting for Israel’s existence, cemented my belief that for the Jewish people to survive, we’d have to take our fate into our own hands. The world will not ensure it for us.

But we must also recognize that we can’t do it alone.

While Israel is waging a war to eliminate Islamist terror groups, we as Americans must stand beside her. Because all of us have a big stake in the outcome of this war between radicalism and the humanistic values that underly the best of our society.

We must do several things.

First, we must inform the American people about the nature of this threats and empower all of us to act.We must expose the Islamo-Leftist radical movements that fuel the spread of this hatred against Jews and America. This means supporting research and organizations that identify these networks and uncover the money trails exposing their ideology, agendas, and Modus operandi.

This research will wake up Americans to the danger of these radical movements and encourage them to stand up and fight back.

Second, we must stop the indoctrination of our next generation.

College campuses in America, once bastions of intellectualism, education, tolerance, and Jewish upward-mobility, are sadly now ground zero for American and Jewish hatred. Hiding behind concepts, often funded by foreign nations, like “CRT,” “Intersectionality,” “DEI,” and other progressive doctrines, K-12 schools and universities have been co-opted, infected, and poisoned by radical activists that paint Israel and America as “colonialists” and “racist” and the Jewish and American people as “oppressors.”

In response, parents must inform and prepare their children for the propaganda they’ll face. They need to learn the true history of America and the Jewish people, the importance of the Israel-US alliance. And they need to do so in an unbiased environment.

In addition, fostering a strong sense of Jewish identity in Jewish children is an investment in their connection to their roots, a commitment to the principles of justice, and a dedication to securing the Jewish people and States future.

Third, we must get serious about the information war.

There is a well-funded, organized campaign being waged on digital platforms across the globe. Bot armies, cyber-attacks, and fake avatars are driven by one mission – to obfuscate the truth, bend public opinion against America and Israel and stir animosity against Christians and Jews. In addition, TikTok and other social media platforms where teens spend hours every day are infested with hate and anti-Jewish propaganda.

It’s imperative that philanthropists’, foundations’, and individuals’ work not only focuses on exposing these tactics, but on combatting them on the digital battlefield. We must use social networks the same way our enemies do. And we must invest in organizations that hold the media accountable to the standards of a fair and free press.

Our numbers are small, and our enemies are many. To be successful, the organizations on the front lines must work together and create synergies to create a force multiplier effect of their efforts.

Fourth, we must support policymakers to take action and pass legislation that curbs the influence of hate movements in our institutions – from K-12 institutions to colleges to workplaces to the government. Finally, we must stop apologizing.

Immediately after October 7, much of the world demonstrated their support for Israel. We knew this sentiment wouldn’t last, and it hasn’t. As the war continues, and by all accounts, it will continue for a long time, Jews must remain steadfast, resilient, and collectively embody the mindset of stubborn sabras.

Regardless of the measures Israel takes to make peace, independent of their herculean efforts to avoid civilian casualties, and to abide by international law (even though its enemies never do), it will never be enough. We must accept the fact that the world will never tolerate a Jewish state that defends itself.  We must stop equivocating. Stop justifying. And stop explaining. To ensure the future of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, and that of all Americans who care about our core values, all of us need to stand strong and united.

The road ahead for the people Israel will not be smooth, but it never has been. Since October 7, behind the horror, the tears, the fear, and the anger, there’s a clarity of conscience. Our enemies have never been more exposed, their intentions for our destruction have never been more obvious, and our collective determination for survival has never been more resolute. If we remain steadfast and strategic, we will win.

Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American “Venture Philanthropist.” He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter, and on Facebook

This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. 

Guilty for Associating with Antisemites?

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on September 28th, 2023, written by Adam Milstein

Yes, associating with antisemites should be unacceptable.

We live in an age in which ideas, including extreme ones, spread instantly. This allows hate and bigotry, including antisemitism, to flourish both online and in person. In this digital age – where legacy media, politicians, and corporations no longer shape the collective consciousness as they once did – the responsibility of holding antisemites accountable has broadened.

This responsibility now falls on the shoulders of each one of us. We must involve American leadership, and civil society institutions to condemn and call out this hatred whenever we encounter it.

Why should we care? The Hate that Starts with Jews Never Ends With Jews said Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Antisemitism threatens not only the Jewish community, but all Americans. Sooner or later, antisemites also peddle racial, ethnic, and religious hatred against other communities.

As antisemitism is being normalized in America, time is of the essence to identify antisemites and hold them accountable.

We Must Establish and Enforce Clear Norms. 

To effectively combat antisemitism, we must not only confront those who directly promote this ideology, but also those who indirectly associate with anti-Semites.

There is no doubt in our mind that associating with known antisemites should be unacceptable, regardless of any excuse or explanation. To properly adjudicate what is and what is not acceptable, we must establish the following guardrails:

Ignorance is No Excuse.

In 2015, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., now a presidential candidate, visited Louis Farrakhan, one of the most infamous antisemites of our times, and lauded Farrakhan as a “truly great partner” for his critical views on vaccines. He continued his associations with members of Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam until at least 2021. When challenged on the encounter, Kennedy claimed ignorance about Farrakhan’s history of antisemitism.

Kennedy also interacted with other promoters of antisemitism, such as Ice Cube and Roger Waters. It’s hard to believe he was not aware that these individuals have perpetuated bizarre conspiratorial antisemitic beliefs and actions, but even if he did, he should have condemned them immediately, which he did not.

Kennedy claimed he was he misunderstood, and that he is a strong champion for Israel. However, his decision to join forces with these antisemites effectively giving their history a pass, is unacceptable.

Self-proclaimed innocence is not innocence

Accountability extends to even the highest echelons of power. Last year, former president, Donald Trump, hosted Kanye West and Nick Fuentes for dinner – both of whom publicly expressed vicious antisemitism. By hosting them, Trump not only validated, but elevated them.

In response to the backlash, Trump claimed “not to know about Fuentes”. However, alleging ignorance in response to public backlash is not a valid excuse. Trump’s pro-Israel policies do not grant a free pass for platforming blatant antisemites. He too should be condemned for these associations.

Antisemitic Patterns Matter

Patterns of behavior cannot be ignored. For example, antisemitism has been a problem on CUNY campuses for years. Numerous incidents, including an anti-Israel commencement speech by known antisemite Nerdeen Kiswani in 2021, as well as a survey revealing high levels of antisemitism among CUNY students demonstrate CUNY’s tolerance of antisemitism.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission even cited CUNY in 2021 for failing to protect a Jewish professor from discrimination based on his faith. The decision in 2013 to host Fatima Mohammed – a radical anti-American and antisemitic – as commencement speech was the cherry on top.

Many Jewish leaders, including Ronald Lauder, called for the law school dean to be fired after she was among the faculty on stage who applauded Mohammed’s speech, but were ignored.

CUNY’s association with antisemites and pattern of behavior is undeniable, and we should not shy away from calling, condemning and sanctioning the University for its support of antisemitism.

What Can Each of Us Do:

1. Be Firm in Condemnation: We must encourage American leaders, institutions, the media, and any other establishment that has a stance in the public domain to hold antisemites accountable for their hate by refraining from associating with them. Excuses like “but I am not antisemitic” should not suffice.

2. Engage in Discourse: Don’t solely condemn someone based on associations. It is also essential to engage in thoughtful dialogue. Understanding perspectives, intentions, and values can lead to more productive conversations on the dangers of antisemitism to our common values.

3. Encourage Accountability: Individuals should be held accountable for their associations and actions. If someone knowingly associates with antisemites, even if they don’t espouse direct antisemitism themselves, should acknowledge their mistake openly, apologize if necessary, and demonstrate a commitment to change. We must hold ourselves and the ones we associate with in the highest regard and not make excuses.

4. Promote Education: Fostering an environment of education and open discussion is crucial for recognizing the signs of antisemitism and other forms of hate and bigotry before they manifest. We must call antisemites out in public and educate others about the hate that is underlying their views. Antisemitism often serves as a disguise for anti-American sentiments and a threat to democracy. This connection should be made explicitly. Education helps inform individuals to make informed decisions about their association

Confronting those who openly espouse antisemitism is often easier than standing up against those who validate or provide platforms for this hate. Association with antisemites emboldens them to continue in their hateful course of action. To combat hate, bigotry and antisemitism effectively, we must collectively establish clear norms and hold individuals accountable not only for their actions, but for the unavoidable results of their actions as well. By doing so, we can work towards a more tolerant society where antisemitism has no place.

Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American “Venture Philanthropist.” He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter, and on Facebook

This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. 

 

Elon Musk, The ADL, And The Weaponization Of Antisemitism

This article was originally published in the Daily Caller on September 11th, 2023, written by Adam Milstein.

Many in the Jewish American community have their fair share of disagreements with the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) approach to fighting antisemitism. As others have pointed out, the legacy Jewish organization, which was established in 1913 to combat antisemitism, has become increasingly partisan over the last decade, hurting its ability to confront Jew-hate as effectively as it once did.

However, this past couple of weeks, the ADL has become the target of a vicious campaign of blatant antisemitism. And that is a problem. Following X (formerly Twitter) CEO Elon Musk’s allegation that the ADL is responsible for the bulk of the platform’s loss in advertiser revenue, the ADL is being strategically targeted by antisemites around the world.

Any frequent user of Twitter (and now X) has undoubtedly encountered the hashtag, #BanTheADL. Initially popularized by far-right figures, the hashtag’s prominence recently skyrocketed after Musk engaged with posts containing it.

But the hashtag, posted over 400,000 times between August 31 – September 6, isn’t just an attack on the ADL; it’s an attack on all Jews.

A quick glance at its usage reveals it to be nothing more than a thinly veiled assault on Jews, invoking virtually every single age-old antisemitic trope, canard, and outright lie to portray Jews as shadowy puppeteers manipulating global events, child molesters, Christ-killers, fake Jews, and racial supremacists. (RELATED: SHOSHANA BRYEN: Here’s What Really Lies Behind The Biden Admin’s Icy Israel Relationship)

For instance, one post alleges the ADL was “Birthed to defend a murdering child rapist, financed by mass murdering terrorists and organized crime, narcotic peddling, gun running, psychopaths.” Another post featuring the hashtag claims that “Zionism is the default ideology of the ruling class. It is a violent ethno-supremacist ideology.”

These narratives aren’t new, but their widespread acceptance today is alarming.

Whether Musk’s allegations against the ADL are true or not, one thing is crystal clear: antisemites are capitalizing on this quarrel to unabashedly spew hatred toward Jews. And Elon Musk, with his vast influence and 156,000,000 followers on X, has inadvertently given a platform to these poisonous voices, amplifying their incitement and reach.

Yet, while the far-right’s antisemitic agenda is evident, it’s essential to recognize that they aren’t the only culprits capitalizing on the Musk/ADL feud. In attempts to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish right to self-determination, far-left and Islamist activists have long targeted the ADL using the hashtag #DropTheADL.

This #DropTheADL Islamo-leftist campaign, which garnered a measly 1,600 posts and 17,000,000 potential views in the past year, seeks to demonize pro-Israel Jews by blaming the ADL for, among other evils, police brutality against the Black community and general oppression of minorities.

When the #BanTheADL hashtag gained traction in the past weeks, far-left and Islamist activists saw an opportunity to revitalize their dwindling antisemitic campaign. For example, on September 4th, notorious British academic and commentator for Iranian state-owned TV, David Miller, posted that the ADL is a “spy agency” targeting Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian activism since before Israel’s establishment. Another post claimed that “the FBI [is] being trained to represent the interests of Israel instead of the United States.”

As evidence that anti-Israel activists are trying to exploit the Musk/ADL controversy, a social media analysis shows that over 15,000 posts with the right-wing #BanTheADL hashtag also reference Palestinians, Zionism, and Israel – topics usually addressed by Islamo-leftist antisemitism, the promotors of the new “acceptable” form of 21st-century antisemitism. These posts have amassed over 800,000,000 potential views in just 6 days.

This highlights the widespread nature of antisemitism. And it clearly demonstrates how far-left, Islamists, and far-right ideologies unite in their hatred against the Jewish community. The horseshoe theory has never been clearer.

Many may not always agree with the ADL’s approach, but all Jews should realize that the motives behind the #BanTheADL and #DropTheADL hashtags are merely using the legacy Jewish organization as a proxy for attacking the Jewish people. As countless grassroots organizations combatting antisemitism have repeatedly underscored, antisemites, regardless of their political alignment, will exploit any chance to target Jews, masking their motives behind seemingly valid criticisms. (RELATED: JACOB OLIDORT: Here’s What The Left Gets Wrong About Benjamin Netanyahu’s Vision For Israel)

We must unite as a community and encourage Musk to recognize this unfortunate truth.

While Musk’s relationship with the ADL may be strained beyond repair, there are many other organizations combating antisemitism that can provide him with insights into the deep-rooted and multifaceted nature of this age-old prejudice. By engaging with various voices, Musk can gain a deeper understanding of the various manifestations of antisemitism and the importance of addressing it responsibly.

As we navigate these troubling times, it’s essential to be able to differentiate between legitimate criticism and veiled hatred, whether against a Jewish organization or the Jewish state, to ensure that the Jewish people remain safe and resilient in the face of this ever-growing threat.

Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American “Venture Philanthropist.” He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter, and on Facebook

Effective Fundraising without Compromising Impact – Opinion

This article was originally published in The Jerusalem Post on August 16th, 2023, written by Adam Milstein and Elena Yacov.

Nonprofits across the wide-ranging Jewish philanthropic spectrum face a common challenge: fundraising effectively without compromising their impact.

 

In the philanthropic world, driving and tracking results is difficult. The Jewish nonprofit community is no different. This challenge is particularly painful for small and medium-sized nonprofits – many of which cannot afford professional fundraising teams yet must stay laser-focused on achieving their missions in an insecure financial environment.

In the United States, the work of these organizations is more important than ever. Antisemitism is on the rise, Jewish communities struggle to engage the next generation, and organizational legacy models are failing.

The constant pressure to fundraise often distracts the leaders of the small and medium sized nonprofits. The time and resources needed to endlessly fundraise takes priority and redirects the necessary work required to drive change towards their actual missions.

Without the resources to hire professional fundraisers, talented executives are forced to spend more and more time calling and engaging with donors, when they should be running operations, building their teams and executing their action plan. This problem is only compounded by the abundance of Jewish nonprofits across the country whose missions overlap, crowding out access to donors.

This current fundraising paradigm creates three major challenges for Jewish nonprofits:

First, the constant need to appeal to donors leads to mission creep. When it comes to fundraising, focus drifts as nonprofit leaders feel pressured to appeal to different donors, to make promises they cannot keep and take stances misaligned with their organization’s core mission.

For nonprofits to be more productive and efficient, they must remain focused on their mission and their leaders must remain results-oriented to create meaningful and long-lasting impact.

Second, the focus on fundraising in Jewish nonprofit management causes operational issues. Fundraising efforts carry high administrative costs. And they require nonprofit staff to spend ample time and resources on galas, fancy marketing materials, and travel – each with excessive costs. This diverts time and money away from each organization’s key focus—driving impact for the Jewish community.

Nonprofit leaders tend to get caught in a vicious cycle. Their continuous focus on fundraising merely to sustain operations diverts from their organizational missions. Too many philanthropic endeavors have transformed from impact-focused entities to cyclical fundraising operations.

Third, nonprofits with aligned goals end up competing for the same donors’ dollars. This competition strains relationships between groups that should be collaborating. The fight for donors and dollars not only incentivizes wasteful inter-organizational pettiness, but it can also lead to conflict.

Too often, donors prioritize PR “victories”, and competing organizations claim false successes to appeal to donors and supporters. Organizations won’t collaborate for fear of losing their donors in favor of their partner organizations, and zero-sum frameworks prevail.

Underlying these challenges is an unfair reality: It’s often not the organizations with the most impact that get the funding, but those with professional graphic designers and the glitziest marketing. Organizations with meager impact but impressive PR capabilities thrive, despite doing little to advance their cause.

Meanwhile, nonprofits that strategically work behind the scenes or those who focus resources on their programming rather than on marketing struggle to make ends meet. All too often, funding in the Jewish nonprofit world comes down to a popularity contest.

A New Paradigm 

To make a real impact and combat antisemitism in America, we need a new fundraising model. One that empowers Jewish nonprofits and encourages them to spend more time on their missions and less on fundraising. The new paradigm should also create financial incentives for Jewish nonprofits to work together.

This new paradigm can be based on the vision of the Impact Forum, a network of likeminded philanthropists who come together to vet, select and support nonprofits who align with the mission of fighting antisemitism, supporting the State of Israel, and championing American democracy.

At the Impact Forum, selected small and medium-sized organizations are provided with a platform to fundraise, network with donors, and create lasting relationships allowing them to focus on impact rather than on fundraising. For many organizations this platform is a lifeline.

In return, the Impact Forum philanthropists urge nonprofits to work together, collaborate, build synergies, and execute joint campaigns.

Success Stories

One organization that presented at the Impact Forum a few years ago secured major financial support and created a long-lasting relationship with a donor who provided six figure grants over several years.

In another case, Impact Forum philanthropists invested in an early-stage nonprofit that fights antisemitism using cutting edge technologies, fully funding the groups’ first year operational budget.

The Impact Forum also runs a Venture Fund program, through which donors can support a group of 10 vetted and selected organizations with one single donation. Funding to the selected nonprofits is provided specifically for capacity building and collaboration amongst the group. Funding collectives rather than singular organizations enhances the capabilities of each organization individually and creates a multiplier effect with greater impact for the Jewish community.

Jewish and pro-Israel nonprofit professionals, visionaries and supporters are essential to the Jewish future. But effective campaigns need more than just goodwill. It takes money to achieve big wins for the Jewish community. To secure these victories for Jews and for Israel, we need to free nonprofits and their leaders from the burden of fundraising and allow them to maximize their time on causes like combating the delegitimization of Israel (BDS), antisemitism, and extremism.

By incentivizing nonprofits to work together and using solutions like the Impact Forum network to help relieve the fundraising burden, we can help make this a reality.

Adam Milstein is an Israeli-American “Venture Philanthropist.” He can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter, and on Facebook

Elena Yacov is the Executive Director of the Milstein Family Foundation and the TalkIsrael Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected]

This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. Read the previous article by Shawn Eni.