update deskAntisemitism

NBA playoffs ad denounces antisemitism at college demonstrations

The voiceover calls on activists to "bring your passion. Your tenacity. Your anger. But don’t bring hate to the protest.”

Anti-Israel protester in Toronto. Credit: Greg Finnegan/Shutterstock
Anti-Israel protester in Toronto. Credit: Greg Finnegan/Shutterstock

A television ad denouncing anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hatred on display during demonstrations at college campuses is airing during the NBA playoff conference semifinals this week.

Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism produced the 30-second spot, which features generic protest images and images of recent protests at American universities, including a ripped-up Israeli flag and a sign with the words “Hitler should have killed the Jews.” The voiceover calls on activists to “bring your passion. Your tenacity. Your anger. But don’t bring hate to the protest.”

University administrators have struggled to quell a surge in hostility aimed at so-called “Zionists” or supporters of Israel, and Jews in general, at tent encampments that have spread to campuses across the country amid an overall spike in antisemitism after the Hamas-led massacre of Oct. 7 and ensuing war in Gaza.

Kraft, the billionaire philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots, said last month that he no longer recognizes his alma mater, Columbia University, which has been the site of antisemitic student protests, including violent ones.

“I am deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country,” stated Kraft, who founded the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.

The Jewish businessman got his start at Columbia, where he earned a full academic scholarship. 

The NBA playoffs ad is part of a new campaign Kraft launched last week to combat “Jewish hate and all hate,” according to a statement from the organization.

“Political issues should be debated—peaceful protests are a part of that. But there cannot be hate speech or intimidation,” Tara Levine, president of Kraft’s foundation, said in a statement to CNN. “Our ad shows when protests create dialogue, but also when they cross the line into hate.”

Kraft purchased a Super Bowl ad earlier this year against rising antisemitism that featured lawyer and speechwriter Clarence B. Jones, who once counseled Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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