November 8, 2021 — New York
A satirical news show and an interfaith coalition of high school students dedicated to fighting hate are among the winning projects from the groundbreaking American Jewish Committee (AJC) Disrupt Antisemitism initiative, the first incubator to fund innovative ideas by young American Jews to combat antisemitism.
A panel of AJC staff, journalists, and business leaders considered nearly 70 submissions and selected five. Each will receive $10,000 in seed money from AJC as well as access to AJC experts in advocacy, finance, and technology to help launch their projects locally, nationally, and online.
“Bold new ideas are critical to combat the growing threats to Jews in the U.S.,” said Meggie Wyschogrod Fredman, Director of AJC’s Alexander Young Leadership Department. “The creative thinking of Jewish innovators will help the rising generation of American Jews lead us in fighting hate.”
The winners were announced a week after AJC’s The State of Antisemitism in America 2021, the largest-ever surveys of American Jews and the U.S. public on antisemitism in America, was issued. Among its findings were that 90% of American Jews believe antisemitism is a problem, nearly one-quarter reported they experienced antisemitism in the last 12 months and 39% limited their activities or concealed their Jewishness out of safety concerns. In addition, 86% of American Jews, ages 18-35, think antisemitism is a problem, with 37% saying it’s “a very serious problem,” in the U.S. today, and 30% said it has increased a lot over the past five years.
The Disrupt Antisemitism winning projects are:
- Olive Branch Pictures - Olive Branch Pictures is a graphic novel and animation studio that fosters mutual understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. Olive Branch is producing a film and graphic novel called Shira and Amal, about an Israeli girl and a Palestinian girl who learn to cope with the loss of loved ones by escaping into the world of music.
- Uri L’Tzedek – The Orthodox social justice organization based in Scottsdale, Ariz., is guided by Torah values and dedicated to combating suffering and oppression. Uri L’Tzedek will take on antisemitism in progressive spaces by conducting workshops with partner organizations on how antisemitism is manifested and can be fought.
- New Zionist Congress – The goal of New Zionist Congress is to combat the rising tide of anti-Zionism in youth-centered spaces. According to AJC’s recently released State of Antisemitism in America survey, over 80% of both Jews and the U.S. public consider anti-Zionism—as represented by the statement “Israel has no right to exist”—antisemitic. The group’s board members include journalist Bari Weiss, Israeli actress Noa Tishby, and columnist Blake Flayton, the group’s CEO.
- Jew or False – A digital content series designed to fight antisemitism, Jew or False is a satirical news show that aims to fight Jew-hatred, inspire Jewish pride, and correct misinformation on issues important to the Jewish community. The project is led by writer and director Jason A. Kessler.
- Intercommunity Youth Initiative - Conceived by students from Yeshiva University Los Angeles High School, the initiative will bring Jewish and non-Jewish high school students together for a fellowship program designed to build trust, foster understanding, and fight antisemitism and racism.
Disrupt Antisemitism was launched as attacks on Jews, Jewish institutions, and practices have dramatically increased. AJC, the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, has been at the forefront of combating antisemitism since its founding 115 years ago. It works with governments to act and forge alliances with other religions and ethnic groups to form a united front against hate. AJC conceived and helped establish bipartisan taskforces in the House and Senate to combat antisemitism to address antisemitism and protect Jewish communities.