2019 Genesis Prize laureate and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has announced the launch of a $30 million foundation dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Announced during the Genesis Prize award ceremony in Jerusalem last week, the Foundation for Social Media Messaging Against Anti-Semitism has been seeded with commitments of $20 million from Kraft and $5 million each from Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich and another donor. In January, Kraft announced that he would forgo the $1 million monetary award that comes with the prize and instead direct the funds to efforts to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of prejudice, "as well as attempts to de-legitimize the State of Israel." The new foundation will continue Kraft's work to fight anti-Semitism and the Palestinian-led movement to boycott, divest from, and place sanctions on Israel until it meets "its obligations under international law."
All five previous Genesis Prize laureates — former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, actor Michael Douglas, violinist Itzhak Perlman, artist Anish Kapoor, and actress Natalie Portman — also "re-gifted" their awards to philanthropic causes.
"The new foundation I am announcing tonight is a platform to galvanize the global fight against anti-Semitism, uniting all people of good conscience around this goal," said Kraft, who has kept a low profile in recent months while fighting charges he solicited a prostitute at a Florida massage parlor. "My vision is to work to end the violence against Jewish communities. To counter the normalization of anti-Semitic narratives that question Israel's right to exist, disguised as part of legitimate debate on campuses and in the media. To educate, to inform, and to heal inter-communal relations. In combating the scourge of anti-Semitism, my solemn ambition is to counter all forms of intolerance in the spirit of the ancient Jewish value of tikkun olam — to heal and repair the world."