‘Anti-Israel Messaging on Social Media Has Made the World a More Antisemitic Place’: Birthright Excel Summit Highlights Fight Against Jew-Hatred
More than 300 Birthright Israel Excel fellows from across the globe gathered in New York City this weekend for the Excelerate 23 Summit, co-sponsored by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM).
In his keynote address, U.S. Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15) said, “I’m a Zionist not in spite of my progressive identity but because of it.”
“As I reflected on the history of the persecution of Jews, I came to understand and appreciate the need for a Jewish state and one that can defend itself,” he recalled.
“For the BDS movement, the problem is not rooted in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but in Israel’s existence,” Torres noted.
He added, “The amplification of anti-Israel messaging on social media has made the world a more antisemitic place.”
CAM hosted three workshops at the summit — “Fighting Antisemitism in the Muslim World,” moderated by American Muslim and Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) Board Chair and President Anila Ali; “Countering Political Extremism and Antisemitism Today,” moderated by CAM Senior Advisor and Jewish Institute for Liberal Values (JILV) Founder and CEO David Bernstein; and “Black-Jewish Relations: The Omni-American Vision,” moderated by Omni-American Future Project Co-Executive Director Greg Thomas.
They [Islamist anti-Zionists] believe that if you don’t support the delegitimization of Israel, you are not a true Muslim,” Ali said.
“We need to learn about each other’s heritage without using a framework rooted in racial privilege,” Bernstein said.
He further pointed out that “tropes about whiteness and privilege can often times be weaponized by antisemites.”
Thomas spoke of the historic bonds between Black and Jewish Americans, recalling their “collaboration grounded in shared spiritual principles and shared civic democratic values and aspiration.”
“Today, it’s up to us to write the next chapter of the story,” he said.