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The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Policies: A Danger to Jews and All Americans


This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on July 5th, 2022, written by Adam Milstein. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices, officers, policies, and programming are being increasingly embraced in American institutions, from government to the corporate workplace. This is particularly true in education, from leading American universities to elite prep schools. In fact, one sampling of leading American universities found DEI staff making up an average of 3.4 positions for every 100 tenured or tenure-track faculty members and outnumbering by a factor of at least four the staff dedicated to helping students with disabilities.

The ostensible goals of DEI are positive: to promote the representation, participation, and fair treatment of historically marginalized groups. In practice, though, DEI, which is closely linked to critical race theory (CRT), has been deployed to advance a radical agenda that undermines fundamental American values by 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 victim culture that crudely bifurcates society into oppressors and oppressed.

Along with embracing other favored radical causes, DEI is also being weaponized against Jewish students, maliciously portraying them and the Jewish State as wanton oppressors. Thus, with the expanding number and power of amply funded and staffed DEI offices that, rather than thwarting the rise of anti-Israel sentiment and restraining hostility toward Jews, actually contributing to it, American universities are becoming hotbeds of antisemitism.

The rise of antisemitism on college campuses is continuing and has already been well documented. A 2021 survey by Hillel and the ADL found that one in three Jewish college students personally experienced antisemitic hate in the previous academic year. Jewish students regularly have to contend with the demonization of Israel and its supporters, obscene Holocaust comparisons and minimization, negative stereotyping, and other common antisemitic tropes.

According to a December 2021 Heritage Foundation report, “Inclusion Delusion: The Antisemitism of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Staff at Universities,” which analyzed the Twitter feeds of hundreds of DEI university personnel, there is a disproportionate hostility toward Israel among university DEI staff. Malicious charges they have levied against Israel on Twitter include describing the Jewish State as an “apartheid” or “colonial” state and accusing Israel of engaging in “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing.”

Instead of creating a welcome and inclusive environment for Jewish students, who overwhelmingly feel a strong connection to Israel, DEI officials are engaged in anti-Israel demonization that promotes antisemitism and legitimizes Jew-hatred on campus.

In one particularly egregious illustration of this phenomenon, Yasmeen Mashayekh, a University of Southern California (USC) student senator for diversity, equity and inclusion, tweeted in May 2021 that she wanted to “kill every motherf***ing Zionist.” Despite this and other hateful messages in which she expressed support for terrorism and the murder of Israelis, she has not been disciplined by USC and was able to retain her student senator DEI position.

The harm that DEI programming and personnel cause Jewish students isn’t limited to higher education. It even extends to schoolchildren. A Jewish parent, Jerome Eisenberg, is suing the prestigious private K-12 Brentwood School in Los Angeles for engaging in a DEI-driven “scheme to transform the school under a racially divisive, antisemitic ideology that seeks to indoctrinate children to reject Western values.”

In recent years, the curriculum at Brentwood has taken a radical, racially divisive turn after it was handed over to its “Office of Equity and Inclusion,” whose “staffing had increased ten-fold in a short period of time.” According to Eisenberg, “the school held racially segregated meetings and encouraged students to treat Jewish people as ‘oppressors’ and discriminated against a Jewish group of parents.” When he expressed his concerns about antisemitic discrimination, the school threatened to expel his 8th-grade daughter immediately and ultimately effectively did so when they denied her from returning the following school year.

It is deeply troubling that DEI personnel and programming, which is ostensibly committed to combatting bias and hate, is actively contributing to antisemitism in the American education system. As I have repeatedly warned, though, antisemitism is not just a Jewish problem – it is an American problem. DEI policies may disproportionately target and harm Jewish students, but the DEI agenda ultimately seeks to undermine and replace fundamental American values and replace it with its own radical vision. As we’ve seen before, what starts with elites quickly spreads to society as a whole. We must combat these ethically corrupted DEI efforts before they do more harm to Jewish students and ultimately all Americans.

The writer is an Israeli-American “Active 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. 

Adam Milstein: Making an impact through strategic venture philanthropy by Alan Rosenbaum

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on May 19, 2022, written by Alan Rosenbaum in cooperation with the Adam and Gila Milstein Foundation

“I am very focused on my mission,” says prominent Israeli-American philanthropist and activist Adam Milstein, “which is to fight antisemitism, the enemies of Israel, and support the Jewish people.’

Combatting antisemitism through strategic venture philanthropy – opinion

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on April 25, 2022, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

For the past two decades major Jewish organizations have been sounding the alarm bells about the exponential rise of Jew-hatred in America and globally. They have been asking their members to financially support them in the fight against the resurgence of this centuries-old disease.

But while substantially more philanthropic dollars are being funneled to legacy organization for the purpose of fighting Jew-hatred, it is undeniable that antisemitism is continuing to grow in the United States. According to the ADL’s and AJC’s Hate Crime Reports, 2019 and 2020 were, respectively, the highest and third-highest years on record for cases of vandalism, harassment, and assault against Jews in the U.S. since 1979.

For generations, the traditional Jewish organizations have been focused on developing effective programs to promote Jewish continuity, education, leadership, community engagement, and many other social and cultural projects. But given these rising incidents of Jew-hatred in the United States, it’s worth asking whether or not they are as effective in fighting antisemitism, and if not – why.

For these large organizations, it is hard to change and adopt new strategies to combat antisemitism. Many of them disagree as to what is considered antisemitism and what isn’t. As such, they have difficulties on agreeing on policies and action plans to combat this evil.

The legacy groups have created unbelievable redundancy, with dozens of virtually identical organizations operating in silos, mired by conflicting interests and competition for donors.

Why would the large institutions change when very few of their donors demand that they do things different. Most donors, large and small, are giving in order to feel good, to belong to a social network, to interact with relevant business associates, to receive naming opportunities, and to obtain honors, respect, and influence. Making an impact with their donation dollars is a secondary priority for them.

This is why it is so critical that we complement what the legacy organizations are doing with new and different approaches. We need to fight against Jew-hatred by going on the offense, exposing and holding antisemites accountable, and we also need to convince Jewish donors to support impact-oriented projects, out of the box ideas, and innovative initiatives that can move the needle.

While there are no silver bullets, over the past two decades of battling in the trenches, I became acquainted with the unique vision of strategic venture philanthropy, a multi-network collaboration model that generates synergies among philanthropists and the most effective small and medium, startup-like organizations to effectuate real change.

Here is an example: When the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement emerged on American campuses some 15 years ago, presenting itself as a human rights organization, many Jewish organizations ignored the fact this movement’s goal was to eradicate the State of Israel and kill its Jewish population. They provided BDS leaders a community platform to spread their hate and invited them to participate in questionable discourse. By doing so, they actually enhanced antisemitism rather than defeating it.

In contrast, a group of venture philanthropists have commissioned several in depth research projects looking into the origins of the BDS movement, the background of its leaders, its funding, and operational methods. One of the projects discovered that the BDS movement was established in 2001 by the major Palestinian terror organizations as a “non-military-front” to destroy the State of Israel based on the methods that brought the collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Another research project looked into the impact of the BDS movement and demonstrated how it represents the newest iteration of Antisemism. It promotes hate against Jews wherever they are because the Jewish people are inherently connected to the homeland of the Jewish people, the State of Israel. The research showed the BDS radicalizes all the other hate groups, far right, far left, and radical Islamists, and promotes physical violence against Jews.

Once completed, the actionable parts of the research projects were provided to governmental institutions, and drew on the network of nonprofit organizations, in the media, legal, think tanks, and on the ground, willing to work on the same mission, creating synergy and force multiplication. As a result, the BDS movement is known today as a terrorist-affiliated network and the premier promotor of the New Antisemitism. BDS leaders are now often uninvited to universities, they lost tremendous governmental and NGO’s fundings, and many fund-raising platforms have cancelled them.

Strategic venture philanthropy empowers philanthropists, often leaders of their industries, to bring their own unique vision, connections, and experience to contribute much more than just a check. The power of each philanthropist is exponentially increased through a multi-network collaboration model, like in the Los Angeles-based Impact Forum, which we established in 2017. Through the Impact Forum, combined philanthropic strength is leveraged to empower a network of small and mid-size nonprofit organizations—each punching substantially above their weight as they create their own synergies to amplify their impact.

As antisemitism worsens before our eyes, we should complement the traditional, institutions-based philanthropy who ‘know what’s best’ with new out of the box proactive ideas, empowered by strategic venture philanthropists, willing to invest their experience, know how, time, connections, and philanthropy dollars to move the needle.

University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Staff Show Anti-Israel Bias

This article was originally published in the The National Interest on January 30, 2022, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, James Jay Carafano of The Heritage Foundation, and Elan S. Carr who is a former U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism and a visiting fellow at Heritage.

A recent Heritage Foundation study found strong anti-Israel bias in the social media posts of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI) officials at colleges and universities throughout the United States. These officials criticize Israel far more frequently and far more severely than they do China. Their posts about Israel exceed those mentioning China by a factor of three, and almost all of their statements about Israel express condemnation, whereas nearly two-thirds of their comments on China convey praise.

These disturbing findings should surprise no one. U.S. campuses have become hotbeds of hostility toward the state of Israel as well as toward the idea of American exceptionalism, and in the radical religion of the campus, far-left professors are the priests and DEI officers are the choir.

This religion has its orthodoxies: America is systemically racist and defined by perpetual struggle of oppressed against oppressors; “white privilege”—for which Jews should be regarded as an exemplar—is a chief source of oppression, and status-based intersectional categories of victimhood confer both justness and entitlement. Under this neo-Marxist paradigm, there is no hint of irony when officials putatively devoted to fostering “diversity” and “inclusion” instead promote hostility toward Israel or regard as obnoxious the idea that the allegedly privileged Jewish people have a right to national self-determination in their ancient homeland.

Alas, this nonsense is not confined to classroom discussions or social media posts. DEI training sessions have resulted in complaints of discrimination against Jews, and radicalized students indoctrinated in this ideology have made campus life more and more unbearable for their Jewish and pro-Israel peers.

recent poll of students active in Jewish organizations on campus found that 65 percent felt unsafe on campus because of physical or verbal attacks. Half felt the need to conceal their Jewish identity or support for Israel for the sake of their safety. In response to widespread harassment and discrimination directed toward Jewish students, President Donald Trump issued an executive order reiterating that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act protects Jews—just as every other race, color, national origin, and ethnicity—from discrimination at taxpayer-funded universities.

The anti-Semitism infesting many college campuses goes far beyond hate speech. Take the complaint filed by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law on behalf of Jewish students at the University of Chicago Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It cited numerous cases of pervasive anti-Semitic activity on campus, including criminal activity such as thefts overtly targeting Jews, car vandalism, and other property damage. Universities have a legal and moral duty to prevent such criminality and to respond when it occurs.

The poisonous environment at universities is a global phenomenon. During his previous diplomatic role, one of the authors of the Heritage Foundation study represented the United States in meetings with European Jewish student leaders. Like those in North America, Jewish and pro-Israel students in Europe report a campus climate of open hostility—one so bad that in many cases, they have had to conceal their identity.

From Berlin to Berkeley, many students feel they must purchase their personal safety on campus at the price of divorce from a key part of their Jewish identity, namely, a sense of Jewish peoplehood and a connection with the Jewish homeland. These students feel their university’s environment is telling them: Extirpate Israel and Zionism from your identity, and you’ll go unmolested on your campus; express the contrary at your peril.

Coercing Jews to abandon key aspects of their ethnic or religious identity is nothing new. In fact, it has a name: Anti-Semitism. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set forth this basic truth in the clearest terms. “Let me go on the record,” he declared, “anti-Zionism is antisemitism.” Pompeo also rightly recognized that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which runs rampant on campuses and isolates Jewish students, is anti-Semitic.

Fortunately, there are specific steps our schools can take to correct course and restore sanity to campus.

First, universities and school districts should adopt the standard definition of anti-Semitism put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This “Working Definition of Antisemitism” has been adopted and promoted by the State Department through multiple administrations and is used by other agencies of the federal government. It has also been adopted globally, by thirty-five countries, over 250 provinces and cities and more than 350 educational institutions and other organizations. The IHRA Working Definition sets forth eleven “contemporary examples” of anti-Semitism. These capture both traditional manifestations of Jew-hatred and the more modern targeting of Israel and Zionism.

The IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism is a tool of education, not censorship. Its adoption by universities and schools, and critically, its incorporation into educational programs and training, will promote understanding of Israel-hatred and other forms of anti-Semitism. By properly defining and recognizing anti-Semitism, universities will also be better equipped to respond to antisemitic incidents.

Second, universities should dramatically reduce the ever-multiplying throngs of DEI officers. A Heritage survey of sixty-five major universities revealed an average of forty-five DEI staff at each, with 163 at the University of Michigan. Overall, DEI personnel outnumbered staff focused on assisting those with disabilities (ADA compliance) by 4.2 to 1. At the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, DEI staff outnumbered those focused on students with disabilities by 13.3 to 1. On average, the universities employed 3.4 DEI staff for every 100 tenured or tenure-track professors.

Third, universities should strive—or be required by donors and alumni to strive—for greater ideological balance in their faculty and programs. Genuine “diversity” requires diversity of background and viewpoint. Universities should also evaluate the current state of ideological bias among their faculty and programs. Across the U.S., programs at universities—especially in Middle Eastern Studies Departments—promote blatant anti-American and anti-Israel viewpoints, whitewashing terrorism and suppressing alternative views.

Fourth, universities should find ways to celebrate the contributions of the Jewish people, Jewish history, and the values of Judaism that have contributed so much to the United States and to civilization itself. Since 1980, every president of the United States has declared a period of time for doing exactly this. Each May is presidentially designated as Jewish American Heritage Month, but unlike similar months dedicated to Blacks, Hispanics, and other ethnic groups, there is little programming, educational materials, or awareness of Jewish American Heritage Month. At a time when America’s Jewish heritage is under assault, there is no excuse for neglect.

Let no one imagine that the indoctrination students receive on campus will not affect them when they enter the business world, civil society, or government. A British member of parliament (MP) who fled Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-Semitic Labour Party explained to one of the Heritage study’s authors that the Corbyn disaster was bred on Britain’s university campuses. Nothing was done, said the former Labour MP, because campus culture was dismissed as a matter only for students. When the disease crept into the Labour Party, it was again dismissed, this time as simply the rantings of a far-left fringe. “Finally,” said the MP, “they won; we lost, and I no longer have a political party.”

As Americans, our future depends on the steps we take to correct this today.

Global community for Israel inspired by the Israeli-American Community

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on January 17, 2022, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.
In early December 2021, I attended the largest Israeli community reunion outside of Israel: the annual Israeli American Council (IAC) Summit in Miami, Florida, where I met, enjoyed, and celebrated the gathering of more than 3,000 members of the pro-Israel community in America and around the world. People of all ages, backgrounds, and interests all showed up to express their love and support for the State of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.
I was one of the founders of the IAC back in 2006, a member of its national board for the past 15 years, and the national chairman of the IAC from 2015 to 2019. I worked with the other founders and leaders of this movement, to transform the IAC from a local Israeli club in Los Angeles to a nationwide community and the fastest growing Jewish-American organization in the nation.
Our original shared vision and mission was to reach Israelis living in America wherever they were, bolster their new identity of Americans of Israeli descent, empower them with a defined sense of purpose, and unite them into a coast-to-coast Israeli-American community that preserves and strengthens the Israeli and Jewish identity of our next generation. The IAC’s mission also included providing unwavering support to the State of Israel and serving as a bridge between Israeli-Americans and Jewish Americans.
Over the years, the mission of the IAC grew and was implemented through many programs for all ages and activity types filling numerous different needs. There are programs for young children, teens, students, young professionals, families, and adult groups, on subjects such as Hebrew learning, Jewish education, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership, Jewish culture, personal growth, community building, advocacy, business, and philanthropy, and many more. Any time our members came up with a community need, the IAC was there to expand its programming and make it happen.
At the same time, as major Jewish American organizations pushed Israel outside the scope of their mission and no longer perceived the Jewish State as the center of their Jewish life, more and more Jewish Americans and even some non-Jews joined the activities of the IAC nationwide. The IAC provided a safe space for anyone who loves the State of Israel and promoted unwavering and unconditional support for Israel.
In essence, the IAC grew from a local organization for Israelis, and later on for Israeli-Americans, promoting a few specific goals, into the largest pro-Israel community of Jews living in America, natives and immigrants alike. Like any community, the Israeli-American community is diverse, and each sub-group has different interests and objectives. The December 2021 summit attendees were of all ages, races, political views, from all over America and worldwide but notwithstanding all of these differences, all attendees, Jewish and non-Jewish, had one major and overriding unifier bringing them all together: unconditional love and support for Israel.
At the recent IAC Summit, I realized I was participating in the largest Jewish community reunion in American history. And while one might reasonably consider some other Jewish-American conferences in a similar light, I would argue that none of these Jewish organizations is a truly cohesive community.
Thus, as the largest pro-Israel community in America, the business model of the Israeli-American community under the leadership of the IAC could and should dramatically expand to become the Global Community for Israel outside of Israel (or “GC4I”). For the record, I don’t speak on behalf of the IAC, and this vision is my personal one.
As part of this transformative vision for the Israeli-American community into GC4I, I see the movement presenting itself as the extended pro-Israel community in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Britain, France, Australia, and everywhere else outside of Israel. The same way the IAC attracts many pro-Israel non-Jews, I envision the GC4I expanding globally not only to Jews in the diaspora, but also to non-Jewish supporters of Israel.
Until 2012, the IAC was called the Israeli Leadership Council and exclusively reached Israelis in Los Angeles. When we broadened our identity to Israeli-Americans and renamed the organization the Israeli American Council, emphasizing we are generations of Americans of Israeli descent, we were able to carry our vision and mission all over the United States from coast to coast.
To transform the Israeli-American Community into the Global Community for Israel, the IAC first needs to expand its reach in America to include all pro-Israel Americans, Jews, and non-Jews.
Secondly, we can take another leap forward by expanding the mission to include pro-Israel Jews and non-Jews all over the world. The GC4I will become the pro-Israel community in the world and will then expand country by country until we become a truly global movement.
Chabad, the cherished Jewish outreach movement of the Lubavitch Hasidism, is the most successful Jewish business model in the world. I believe that the GC4I can be as big. However, to launch and execute this global vision, the IAC must get the funding and support of major philanthropists and foundations.
Ten years ago, Dr. Miriam Adelson and her late husband, Sheldon Adelson (Z”L), realized the great potential of the Israeli-American community and envisioned expanding our local organization to a national community. They took it upon themselves to boost and fund the group’s rapid coast-to-coast expansion, and along with other supporters of the IAC, the organization grew from one regional office to tens around the country. I am confident that the IAC’s current donors—as well as a new generation of patrons— will see the benefit of expanding the Global Community for Israel vision and investing in this far-reaching and ambitious worldwide model.
I am honored to have been part of the IAC’s great success thus far and profoundly excited to see it on the cusp of taking another transformative step in the service of Israel and the Jewish people. I am deeply grateful to my IAC family for inspiring this newfound vision and I look forward to welcoming an even greater global community for Israel.

Does antisemitism exist in Israel?

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on December 26, 2021, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

At the Israeli-American Council (IAC) Summit I recently attended in Miami, I heard from Israeli leaders and ministers that it’s hard for Israelis to relate to the scourge of global antisemitism because… there is no antisemitism in Israel!
I was surprised to learn that according to these leaders, the war of attrition and demonization against our Jewish State, led globally by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Israelis define as de-legitimization, is not viewed as antisemitism.
This notion was reinforced few days later when an Israeli Minister said at a Knesset conference on “Combating De-Legitimization” (i.e. BDS) that he is unwilling to accept the claim that every act of the BDS is antisemitic.”

Is the BDS movement Antisemitic in nature?

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, the BDS movement is clearly antisemitic pursuant to multiple criteria, including:
“Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”; BDS maintains a singular, hostile obsession with Israel, applying standards to Israel it applies to no other entities, including a complete disregard of the human rights abuses carried out by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and neighboring Arab states against Palestinians.
“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”; BDS is committed to the elimination of “apartheid” Israel, defining all Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel as illegal and unjust “occupation.”
“Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion”;  BDS never explicitly and unreservedly condemns violence against Israelis; instead, it condones violence as a legitimate form of “resistance.”

Is the BDS Movement also affiliated with Terrorism?

If this isn’t convincing that BDS equals antisemitism, perhaps we should explore the purpose of the BDS movement and its origins.
In 2019 the Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs published Terrorists in Suits, a now renowned report that substantiates the fact that the five major Palestinian terror organizations, being the Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, established the BDS movement in 2001 to open a new line of attacks against the State of Israel the Jewish people and focus their efforts into one unified channel. In addition to terror attacks on Israelis, they launched international boycotts against Israel based on the model used against the South African apartheid regime during the 70s and 80s.
One of the first strategic actions taken by these Palestinian terror groups was to declare that Zionism is Racism and label Israel as an apartheid state during the Durban conference in 2001. Another strategic action was and is presenting Israel as a human rights violator and as an apartheid State.
In 2019 Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs published another report: Behind the Mask: The Antisemitic Nature of BDS Exposed. Its findings were later supported in The New Antisemites report published by StopAntisemitism.org and Zachor Legal Institute and endorsed by more than 60 American NGOs. Both reports substantiated that the BDS movement is the new antisemitism of our era, demonizes Israel and the Jewish people, connects all the main hate movements – the Far Right, Far Left and Radical Islamists—and incites violence against Jews wherever they are.

Does the BDS Movement really incite violence globally and in Israel?

Over the last couple of years and even within the past few weeks, violent and lethal attacks against Jews have become common, globally and in Israel. Just look at recent assaults against Jews in New York, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Lod, and Judea and Samaria, perpetrated by Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs who support BDS’s goal of eliminating Israel and its Jewish residents.
The attackers in Europe, America and Israel were mostly extremist Muslims who particularly targeted those who were visibly Jewish.
By and large, Israelis intuitively understand that the BDS movement—with its aim to kill Jews, and eliminate the Jewish State, its demonization and double standards against Israel, and its tacit, if not explicit, support for violence and terrorism against Israelis and its Jewish and non-Jewish supporters—is inherently antisemitic.
It’s well past time that Israeli leaders caught up to the reality that antisemitism is present and a clear danger in Israel and those killing innocent Israelis in Israel and worldwide are acting on antisemitic motives.
Given BDS’s irrefutable antisemitic and violent nature, it is deeply alarming that Israeli leaders are soft-pedaling the antisemitic menace that BDS is. The war against Israel, for which BDS essentially serves as the public relations arm, is part and parcel of global antisemitism. Jews in the Diaspora and Israel are both targets in this campaign.
We must stand together against BDS and all forms of antisemitism. The war against Israel is rooted in antisemitism, and we must no longer inaccurately diminish the conflict as some kind of intercommunal, territorial struggle. Rejection of a sovereign Jewish presence in Israel, which BDS promotes, is antisemitic.
I call on Israeli Jews to forthrightly recognize the antisemitic war that has been unjustly thrusted upon them, as well as past and future generations, for so many decades, and stand together with their Jewish brethren in the Diaspora who are also under assault.
They must also demand that their leaders directly identify and combat this antisemitic menace and not dilute this real and present danger, which all too regularly kills and maims Jews in Israel and worldwide. Together, we can prevail against this evil.
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. This op-ed is published in partnership with a coalition of organizations that fight antisemitism across the world. 

The Israel test of the Democratic Party

This article was originally published in the Washington Times on October 27, 2021, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, and James Jay Carafano of The Heritage Foundation.

The Democratic Party now faces an important test. Where will it stand when it comes to continuing America’s longstanding, bipartisan support for Israel? Will it banish the far left voices spewing hatred of the Jewish state? Or will these voices eventually become the party‘s mainstream? The answer will determine not only the party‘s cohesiveness but its viability in American politics.

Whether they recognize it or not, the Democratic Party is currently undergoing the Israel test, as laid out by Professor George Gilder in his book by the same name. Mr. Gilder argues that Israel, with its vibrant democracy and countless innovations, embodies the triumph of democracy, decency, creativity, and grit.

He observes that, historically, countries that have endorsed Israel and the expansive worldview it represents have thrived, while those who didn’t remain mired in poverty and violence. The reason? Mr. Gilder hypothesizes that perspective on Israel is more than just a foreign policy issue; rather, it reflects an ethos. Abandoning Israel is like abandoning democracy.

The Democratic Party has been a steadfast supporter of Israel—from the days of President Truman, the first world leader to recognize the new state, to President Obama’s time in the Oval Office, when he supported Israel‘s Iron Dome missile defense.

Today, however, that unblemished record of support is threatened by the party‘s progressive wing, embodied in the so-called “Squad.” This small but vocal group expounds on the Palestinian narrative of eternal victimhood. It promotes the antisemitic idea that all of Israel‘s success is born out of its original sin and must be dismantled. Hence, we witness Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) calling Israel an “apartheid state.” We see Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) neglecting to mention Jews in a Holocaust Remembrance Day tweet.

The radical left, it seems, never misses an opportunity to snub the Jews and vilify the Jewish state. True to The Israel test’s thesis, this attitude has not been relegated to criticism of Israel but has evolved into a politics of victimhood, a self-loathing of America.

Yet antisemitism is not a winning issue in the free world, and in America, these strident voices still represent a fringe minority of the Democratic Party. The recent special election in Ohio’s 11th District bears this out. Backed by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and the Squad, a radical leftist, Nina Turner, at one point enjoyed a 35-point lead in the polls. But as the election approached, her advantage narrowed. Ultimately, she lost the race to Shontel Brown, a centrist Democrat and friend of Israel supported by Hillary Clinton and the Congressional Black Caucus. The proof is on the ballot.

The defeat of the leftist radicals is not just an American phenomenon; a similar result occurred in the U.K. in 2019. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn single-handedly alienated the British Jewish community with his antisemitic and anti-Zionist rhetoric and positions. This community represents only 0.5% of the general British population. Nevertheless, in late 2019 Corbyn suffered a massive defeat in the elections, with the worst Labour showing since 1935. In 2020, he was suspended from the Labour Party.

In the U.S. Congress, radical leftists remain but marginal group, the Squad notwithstanding. And the American public soundly passes the Israel test. To stay vibrant and relevant, the Democratic Party needs to do the same. It must unite around its support of Israel and disavow the radicals who are out of touch with the American public.

This is a pivotal moment for the Democratic Party. To keep from splitting at the seams, Democrats must choose to stand with Israel, as they historically have and as most of them continue to do. If the Democratic Party recognizes that the Israel test will determine its future, it can muster the integrity to withstand the radicals, reclaim its time-honored support for Israel, and return to the deserved vitality it once enjoyed.

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

What is Behind the Left’s Opposition to Funding Israel’s Iron Dome?

This article was originally published in the National Interest on October 18, 2021, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, and James Jay Carafano of The Heritage Foundation.

Opposing funding for the Iron Dome doesn’t support American or Israeli interests. It also reveals disturbing motives from the far left.

American politics is like baseball: a curveball could come at you when you least expect it. Who would have bet that while pondering a $3.5 trillion spending bill, a provision to spend $1 billion in support of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system would become the hot button issue in Washington?

First to raise a stink was “The Squad,” a cadre of hard-left politicians led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). They campaigned fiercely to defund authorization for Iron Dome support, but that upstart action was squashed with a 420-9 House floor vote. Then in the Senate, it was Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who derailed a fast-track vote for Iron Dome funding.

The safe bet is that Congress will deliver the money in the end. But why did this happen to begin with?

Clearly, the debate has little to do with the Iron Dome. The system is a technological success. By having the capacity to shoot down incoming missiles, Israel can defend its citizens against attacks primarily directed at civilian populations.

Funding the Iron Dome is also an investment in the U.S. economy. In March 2014, the United States and Israel signed a co-production agreement, enabling the United States to manufacture system components and provide the United States with increased access to Iron Dome’s technology. About 75 percent of the Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptor’s components are manufactured in the United States. This August, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon partnered to produce full Iron Dome interceptors in the United States.

Funding the Iron Dome diminishes the likelihood for escalation between Israel and the Palestinians and in other regions where the defensive missile defense system has been deployed. Funding for the Iron Dome is a much better buy than a heavy American footprint or the price of stopping and recovering from an all-out conflict in the region.

Calls to defund the Iron Dome are not only counter to Israeli interests, they cut against American interests. Removing investments from the Iron Dome undermines the U.S. economy and weakens Israel’s ability to defend itself, and, by extension, to defend American security interests in the Middle East. Israel is America’s eyes and ears in this turbulent region.

Defunding the Iron Dome system would weaken Israeli security and undermine the U.S.-Israel alliance. A key part of the security relationship between the two nations is the U.S. pledge to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over other countries in the region. One of the key ways the United States upholds Israel’s qualitative military edge is by providing security assistance, including funding for the Iron Dome.

There looks to be a big difference from what the Democratic Representatives sought and what Paul intended. Paul seldom misses an opportunity to make the case for fiscal conservatism. That is what prompted his opposition to the foreign aid bill.

“I support Israel,” Paul said during the debate over the measure. “I voted for hundreds of millions of dollars to support Iron Dome. I am glad the United States has a strong bond with Israel. But the United States cannot give money it does not have, no matter how strong our relationship is.”

Unfortunately, in trying to make this point by objecting to fast-tracking the Iron Dome funding bill, Paul allowed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to create more approval delays and squeeze concessions from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y). Among those concessions was a promise to send hundreds of millions in aid to the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.

Unlike Paul, the Squad had lots of things on its mind, though nothing to do with fiscal conservatism. They have been among the loudest cheerleaders for President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar spending package. Also, they are the hardest of the hardcore supporters of Islamic regimes and the Palestinians in the Congress.

There is, of course, nothing objectionable in caring about the future security and prosperity of Palestinians. A brighter future for the Middle East depends on economic integration, regional security, and political liberalization that fosters the peoples of this place living peacefully side-by-side. That future has to include the Palestinians.

This leaves a difficult question for opponents of the Iron Dome. How does removing protections for innocent civilians being showered by missiles furthers the cause of building a better future for the people of the Middle East? It doesn’t. And that raises broader questions about what the political far left is really up to.

We all know who fires missiles at Israel. It’s Hamas, Hezbollah, and, potentially, their master, Iran. Not only are they committed to political violence, their political philosophies are rooted in Islamist ideologies.

So here is the worry. Do the Squad and their ilk really believe the region would be better off if the Islamist voices from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Mullahs in Tehran were empowered?

The short answer appears to be “yes.” If true, then blocking Iron Dome is the opposite of a humanitarian impulse. It is a warning light that there is a deep sickness in the American left, like a black hole with a powerful gravitational force pulling the president’s party in a dangerous direction.

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

1,000 Reasons Why Not to Fight Antisemitism

This article was originally published in the Jerusalem Post on September 11, 2021, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.

Good News: Antisemitism is no longer a problem worth combatting

Dear friends and colleagues, members of the Jewish-American community:

Good News! Antisemitism is no longer a problem worth combatting.

This is the assessment of a large number of fellow Jews I’ve reached out to over the past few years. The outreach was part of my effort to recruit others to partner with me in my fight against the world’s oldest hatred, which is now, once again, inciting violence against Jews.

Although I decided to continue fighting instead of shifting to a laidback lifestyle, I owe it to you to provide some of the reasonable as well as absurd excuses I’ve heard over the years. So here it is, as expressed by some of my Jewish peers who tried to convince me that my activism is a bad idea.

We cannot afford to fight antisemitism

The number one reason many Jews avoid fighting or helping in the fight against antisemitism is because they are afraid.

The more affluent and successful my Jewish friends are the less risk they are willing to take. Standing up and fighting against our enemies expose and place us in the public domain and we become the targeted enemies of our adversaries, and that can be costly. I often hear or I am led to understand that they would like to help but they cannot afford any risk and have too much to lose. It’s much safer for their reputation, their businesses, and their wellbeing if they stay underneath the radar and hope someone else will do the job. There are many ways to stay underneath the radar and support anonymously, but any type of involvement scares them because it might leak out and be used against them.

Because they don’t want to admit that they are fearful, most use reasonable and/or absurd excuses including the following:

Antisemitism isn’t growing and it’s not Violent.

Are the statistics from the FBI and the DOJ documenting the significant rise in hate crimes toward Jews accurate and/or relevant?

My Jewish friends tend to evaluate the severity of antisemitism based on the personal threat of violence toward themselves and their loved ones. “Have anyone I know ever been killed or injured by antisemites?” Nope. “Have we ever been personally threatened by antisemites?” I don’t believe so. The point is, they say, let’s not exaggerate the threat and let’s find a way to live with this minimal risk, if any. Are there antisemites? Sure. But they’re a fringe, and they’ll always be a fringe, and besides, they say, the odds of being struck by lightning are much higher than the odds of me or a member of my family being subject to a violent antisemitic attack.

Antisemitism helps Jewish unity

I’ve heard that antisemitism is like death and taxes. It’s inevitable. It’s just an unfortunate byproduct of humanity and of the Jewish experience but it prompted the survival of the Jewish people for thousands of years. Antisemitism creates Jewish unity; it has been the only point of unity among increasingly divergent Jewish communities. When Jews feel safe and prosper, they are more at risk of assimilation and intermarriage, so we need antisemitism to bring them back to their roots. So why fight it? Instead, we should be thanking Hashem and our lucky stars for this Jew-hatred. It’s all part of a divine plan that’s above our pay grade to understand.

Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism

Jew-hatred and the violence stemming from antisemitism seem like a growing problem only because we label the expanding but justified condemnation of Israel as “antisemitic.” Many told me that if we create a wedge between the diaspora Jews and their homeland, being the State of Israel, and welcome criticism of Israel, it can only lead to greater love, understanding and appreciation for Jews everywhere. Those with an unbridled love for the Jewish people but deep hatred toward Israel such as supporters of the BDS movement will accept us as respected members of society. Considering our long history of oppression, we’re rarely given a choice in anything. So, let’s be good Jews and become champions of the anti-Israel movement.

Antisemitism: A cost-benefit analysis

In theory, it would be great to eradicate antisemitism, but we simply don’t have enough people and sufficient resources to do so. Even if every single Jew in America donated to the cause, it will never be enough to counter the billions being poured into antisemitic campaigns. So, if our numbers and resources are limited, is it really worth dedicating so much time and money to a fight that we’ll inevitably lose? Many prefer to dedicate their limited resource to existing Jewish institutions such as schools, synagogues and social services, as well as hiring armed security services to protect our Jewish institutions and their communities.

Valuable advice rather than financial commitments

Jews are known to be smart. They are excellent in providing opinions and ideas, including on how to fight antisemitism and how to raise the necessary funds to fight it. But, when it’s time to put money where their mouth is, most prefer to stick with giving priceless advice. Most claim that they don’t have the necessary resources to help financially and those who do have such resources claim that there are many more important undertakings than to fight Jew-hatred.

Although there are many excuses and good reasons why not to fight antisemitism, there are also great advantages in doing so and now. Antisemitism is a universal problem; the enemies of the Jewish people are first and utmost the enemies of America. Hatred against Jews and/or any other minority groups in America is cancerous to our society. Thus, for the first time in several thousands of years, it’s in the best interest of Western civilization and all Americans to join together and combat this evil.

Second, we now have a strong Jewish state, the State of Israel, on our side. The people of Israel view antisemitism as a serious threat and are willing to lead the fight against it, not just observe from safety, by providing courage, resources and  innovation.

Despite the convincing excuses I’ve heard, I stay optimistic and hope that some, like me, will stop downplaying the threat, move past the fear, paranoia, and inaction, and join me in standing up and fighting antisemitism.

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

America Needs Jordan, Jordan Needs An Engaged America

This article was originally published in the 19FortyFive.com on August 12, 2021, written by Adam Milstein of the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, and James Jay Carafano of The Heritage Foundation.

America can’t afford to squander key bilateral relations in the Middle East. Jordan would be near the top of any list of important partners. Recently, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and President Joe Biden had an upbeat meeting in Washington. But even better than smiles and handshakes would be a concerted action plan that better serves the interests of both nations.

The meeting suggests there is plenty of opportunity for that. Both sides should get to it.

While China demands an increasing amount of attention, the U.S. cannot afford to disengage from the Middle East. For one, the competition with China is global. If Washington reduces its focus and influence in the Middle East, Beijing will be happy to step into the gap. China is anxious to build out a hard-sphere of influence that will dominate routes of trade, resources, energy, food supplies, and markets from the Asian mainland to the heart of Europe. The Middle East is a piece that fits nicely into their new imperial puzzle.

The Greater Middle East is of inherently strategic importance to any global power. It is the “middle” of everything important to the globe—sea routes, energy supplies, commercial air travel and financial networks, capital flows, and migration routes.

No one benefits more from a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Greater Middle East more than the United States.

American influence in the region is built on the foundation of bilateral ties and military, economic, diplomatic, and security cooperation linkages. It’s a package deal. The ability to project both hard and soft power is what earns our partners’ respect.

Israel is America’s anchor in the region, the indispensable ally. But that’s never been enough. With no strategic depth, the U.S. benefits when Israel is surrounded by good neighbors. In turn, collective security and cooperation among them strengthens all of them—and that is a great benefit to the U.S.

Few nations in the region sit in a more strategic spot than Jordan. The profits of U.S.-Jordanian relations are long—from intelligence cooperation to serving as a critical mediator in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and hosting a vast displaced population.

There is no question the U.S. values the relationship. “The United States is Jordan’s largest source of bilateral assistance,” notes Heritage Foundation analyst Nicole Robinson, “providing billions of dollars of aid over the years to strengthen Jordan’s military capabilities and aid Jordan’s ailing economy.” But if Jordan and the U.S. are going to work together to build a better Middle East, Washington will need to do more than just throw money at the problem.

Here is what rolling up the sleeves really looks like.

Jordan has few developed resources. It does, however, enjoy an important strategic position, significant human capital, and potential—albeit thus far untapped—energy reserves, and the capacity to develop renewable energy infrastructure. What Jordan needs is a strong dose of economic freedom. Jordan lags behind the regional leaders in the Heritage Foundation’s “Index of Economic Freedom.” Its score on “business freedom,” for example, is a dismal 58.9%.

Fortunately, there is a ready mechanism to jump-start private sector development: the Abraham Accords. The accords were not just a Trump thing. Normalization of relations between the Arab states and Israel is an irreversible process, and economic integration and investment will be a key engine driving it forward. The U.S. ought to be actively engaged in promoting the process and creating opportunities and employment for the Jordanian private sector.

No external security concern looms larger for Jordan than the destabilizing activities of the Iranian regime. Presently, the U.S. is deeply involved in negotiating reentry into the fatally flawed Iran deal. This is pretext, not for dealing with Iran, but for disengaging from the region. The U.S. needs a real plan for Iran. Maximum pressure against Tehran would restrain the regime much better. In addition, the U.S. needs to continue to support Iraq and help the government balance against Iranian influence.

The U.S. also needs to find sustainable measures to limit Iranian influence in Syria. The fate of the current Syrian regime and Russian presence in and around Damascus matters less than blocking Iran from establishing a strategic foothold. The Jordanian-sponsored deconfliction effort, allowing the U.S. and Russia to sit down and coordinate plans on how to kill ISIS without getting in each other’s way, might serve as model for future operations. The U.S. definitely needs some mechanism beyond the status quo that is adequate and sustainable, but also recognizes that Washington can never sanction, forgive or forget the extreme abuses of the Syrian regime.

There is no question the U.S. needs to remain serious about the Palestinian-Israeli issue. While it is difficult to see a reasonable path forward, there is a clear need to establish dialogue and look for ways to reach and engage the Palestinian people looking for opportunities to create real jobs, real business, and real economic connectivity to the region.