Your Daily Phil: ADL CEO not meeting Netanyahu + Elan Carr named CEO of Israeli American Council
Good Tuesday morning!
In today’s edition of Your Daily Phil, we report on the appointment of Elan Carr as CEO of the Israeli American Council and the opening of the Perelman Performing Arts Center in New York City, and feature an opinion piece by Jeffrey I. Abrams. Also in this newsletter: Susan Samueli, Doron Almog and Taylor Swift. We’ll start with a meeting planned for later this week between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Jewish leaders.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt will not attend a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and American Jewish communal leaders that is scheduled for Friday afternoon, an ADL official told eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen.
The official said Greenblatt would not attend as he has a prior “long-standing commitment”: A speaking engagement in Austin, Texas, at the Texas Tribune Festival. Ben Sax, the chair of the organization’s board of directors, will attend in Greenblatt’s place.
This comes as Netanyahumet with Elon Musk, the owner of the social media platform X, whom the ADL has accused of permitting antisemitism to run rampant on the site since he took control of the company, formerly called Twitter, last year. During a one-on-one interview with Musk in California yesterday, the Israeli premier repeated that Musk was “committed” to combating antisemitism, while also calling on him to “roll back” antisemitism on the platform. After the meeting, Netanyahu posted on X that Musk was also a “stalwart… against antisemitism.”
Netanyahu’s meeting with Musk has riled some U.S. Jewish figures, including the former CEO of the ADL, Abraham Foxman, who called it “a slap to majority American Jewish community and damaging to efforts to keep antisemitism off social media.”
Netanyahu, who is visiting the U.S. to speak at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, is scheduled to meet with American Jewish leaders in New York on Friday at 2 p.m. The full list of attendees has not yet been announced.
Elan Carr, U.S. special envoy to combat antisemitism under Trump, named CEO of IAC
The Israeli American Council (IAC) on Monday named Elan Carr, former U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, as its next chief executive officer. He is taking over from Shoham Nicolet, the IAC co-founder who has led the organization as CEO for the past eight years, reports eJewishPhilanthropy’s Haley Cohen.
Which Israelis?: Carr, who has had close ties with the IAC since its inception in 2007, is set to begin his new role on Oct. 1. He is tasked with combating significant challenges Israeli Americans currently face, in addition to regaining the trust of liberal Israeli Americans who have fled the organization in recent years due to its right-wing affiliations. Carr takes the reins at a particularly fraught moment given the roiling debate in Israel over the government’s judicial overhaul; that debate has spilled over to the U.S., including this week, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. Along the way, Netanyahu has already been met with protests by hundreds of Israeli expats — the presumed constituents of IAC — during his stop in Fremont, Calif., with more expected to attend demonstrations in New York.
Trump ties: In 2019, Carr served in the Trump administration as the State Department’s antisemitism monitor. Liberal supporters further distanced themselves from the IAC when then-President Donald Trump delivered controversial remarks at the council’s summit in December 2019. “I am deeply honored to assume the helm of the IAC at this important time, and I’m excited by the organization’s enormous potential,” Carr said in a statement. “Our community of Israeli-Americans and Jewish-Americans is grappling with significant challenges, including assimilation and antisemitism. I am privileged to help lead that cause.”
Read the full report here.
NYC’s Perelman Performing Arts Center opens at World Trade Center site
The Perelman Performing Arts Center, also known as PAC NYC, opened its doors this week near the site of the World Trade Center after years in developmental limbo. The $560 million center, which will host its inaugural performance on Tuesday night, marks the completion of a 20-year-long master plan to rebuild Ground Zero and the section of Lower Manhattan destroyed on 9/11, reports Tori Bergel for eJewishPhilanthropy’s sister publication Jewish Insider.
Make art, not war: “The ultimate response to hatred is love, and the ultimate response to destruction is creation,” Bill Rauch, PAC NYC’s artistic director, told JI. “I think it’s so appropriate that at this particular location, that there is a building and an organization that is devoted to creativity and to community — to making connections between people, bringing people together.” He added: “We have a real responsibility and a real opportunity to bring people together across all five boroughs and across the tristate area, at our location and that is certainly part of what excites me about all that lies ahead.”
Philanthropic kick-start: After a series of delays and operational shakeups, construction finally got off the ground in 2016, thanks to businessman Ronald O. Perelman, whose $75 million donation reignited the project and inspired the building’s name. While the center bears Perelman’s name, its biggest benefactor is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose previously undisclosed donation of $130 million was made public in June. Bloomberg, who also chairs the 9/11 Memorial & Museum board, took over as chair of PAC NYC’s board in 2020, a position previously held by Barbra Streisand since 2016.
Read the full report here and sign up for Jewish Insider’s Daily Kickoff here.
Positive representation matters
Hollywood, Jews and antisemitism in America: An intertwined history and a path forward
“The film industry is one that is deeply personal to American Jews in particular. Over the decades, films starring Jewish performers made their way to the small-town movie theaters and home television sets of adults and children who had never met any Jewish people in their lives. Since the earliest days of motion pictures, films became an avenue for Jews to find mainstream acceptance and success, and these Jews came to shape the culture in the process,” writes Jeffrey I. Abrams, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s regional office in Los Angeles, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
A lurking presence: “Despite all the success, the specter of antisemitism never entirely vanished from American society, nor from the industry itself. Rather than diminishing in society, as many had thought would happen as Jews became more familiar to Americans (at least on screen), antisemitism has increased measurably in several key indicators. … One of the most alarming trends is the mainstreaming of blatant antisemitism that has found its way into American society. Just this past year alone, we have seen comments by celebrities with millions of followers giving classic antisemitic tropes new life.”
Dispelling hate, together: “On Wednesday, eJewishPhilanthropy reported on ADL’s launch of a new Media & Entertainment Institute to engage Hollywood insiders on antisemitism and portrayals of Jews and Jewish communities in film and television. … ADL has long advocated for a whole-of-society approach in pushing back against anti-Jewish hate. We are also looking for ways to lift up positive representations of Jews. This is why, as our Institute’s first project, we will be working closely with the team at Common Sense Media – one of the leaders in providing entertainment recommendations to families, parents and students – on a project to identify recommended films and movies that showcase Jewish people, culture and history.”
Read the full piece here.
Busting Myths to End Human Trafficking: Susan Samueli’s group, Ending Human Trafficking Collaborative, recently gathered 100 advocates, experts and politicians to hear from people who work on the front lines of combating this scourge, reports Andre Mouchard for the Orange County Register. “In recent months a series of unrelated events – an Orange County Grand Jury report, new data about trafficking activity, a slow-building effort to legalize prostitution in parts of California – have prompted advocates, led by Samueli, to suggest that now is a smart time for a new community conversation about the issue. … [The Sept. 13 meeting] presented a wide range of myth-busting information about trafficking. For example, experts pointed out that trafficking isn’t primarily about foreign nationals being brought to the United States to work in the sex trade against their will. In reality, other types of forced labor – from nail salons to car washes to the people who make the low-priced shirts and shoes worn by at least some of the people in the audience – is at least as big a part of the trafficking world as sex work. And, the experts added, victims of all types of trafficking tend to be domestic, not foreign nationals.” [OCRegister]
Lessons in Tzedakah From Music Industry Legends: In The Jerusalem Post, the story of Taylor Swift giving a total of $55 million in bonuses to the crew of her uber-popular Eras tour serves as a springboard for Howie Kahn’s tales of charitable giving by popular musicians. “Remember when you were listening to music in your teen years and your parents walked into your room screaming, ‘You call that music[?!]’ To them, rock and roll was just about sex and drugs. They might have thought differently had they known about the generosity of some of these rock stars. May we all find ways to give to others so that all evil decrees against us will be annulled.” [JPost]
How Much Did You Give?: In Tablet Magazine, Jenna Weissman Joselit examines a piece of Jewish esoterica, a book using an array of paper flaps and other tools to temporarily record charitable donations made during Shabbat and holidays. “The Alyias Donation Book, copyright 1930, was designed to solve a problem: how to raise money on the Sabbath without coming into physical contact with it, lest the sanctity of the day be violated and marred. Or, more to the point, how to raise money on the Sabbath and remember who made a contribution and in what amount so that, in the course of the week, said contributor might be contacted and reminded, lest honoring his pledge slip his mind… No longer in use, the Alyias Donation Book is, these days, the treasured property of Rabbi Michael Strassfeld who, over the years, has assembled a marvelous collection of American Jewish religious and cultural objects.” [Tablet]
Around the Web
Seventy-eight American Jewish leaders signed a letter organized by the Israel Policy Forum to President Joe Biden, calling for any agreement brokered by the U.S. between Israel and Saudi Arabia to include a “significant and tangible Israeli-Palestinian component” to advance the two-state solution. Signatories included: Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; and Dov S. Zakheim, former undersecretary of defense under George W. Bush…
Israel and the United States signed a five-year memorandum of understanding regarding climate change and environmental protection…
A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that seven in 10 Americans consider Israel to be an ally or partner, though only three in 10 said Israel had “shared values” with the U.S.; roughly two-thirds said they were neutral on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, sympathizing with neither side or with each side equally…
Israeli disabled veterans took home 14 medals, including three golds in table tennis, in their first appearance at the Invictus Games, which were held this year in Dusseldorf, Germany…
The University of Pennsylvania Hillel will host a large Shabbat event this weekend as a response to a controversial Palestinian literary festival, which includes speakers who have been accused of antisemitism…
Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Doron Almog penned an opinion piece in The Jerusalem Post, marking the first Rosh Hashanah that he spent without his mother, Bat-Ami Avrutsky, who died in November, and calling for “productive dialogue” between the different sides in Israeli society…
UNESCOnamed a group of medieval Jewish sites in the German city of Erfurt, including a 13th-century synagogue and a mikveh, a World Heritage Site…
The Wall Street Journal highlighted the growing presence of Orthodox Jews and positive portrayals of them in pop culture…
The World Zionist Organization’s leadership is split on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting yesterday with Elon Musk. WZO Chairman Yaakov Hagoel praised the conversation, saying it would “help the development and prosperity of [Israel’s] economy,” while his deputy, Yizhar Hess, said meeting the billionaire amid increased antisemitic activity on his social media platform “not only sends the wrong message to Jews around the world but puts them at risk”…
Pic of the Day
Gilat (blue headcovering), who did not provide her last name, smiles for a photograph with friends at an event organized by Yad La’isha Legal Aid Center for Agunot. Gilat is one of 53 women who attended the event whose husbands had denied them a ritual divorce, or get, but were eventually “liberated” by Yad La’isha, the organization said.
“I’m not really a party person; it’s not my thing,” said Gilat, whose recalcitrant husband refused to give her a divorce for five years, in a statement. “But at this party, I find myself shedding all my burdens and feeling completely liberated because there’s nothing like the joy of women who finally gained their freedom after a long struggle.”
Professor at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law and director of the Innocence Project, Barry Scheck…
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