The international grassroots organization Combat anti-Semitism has announced its upcoming “Venture Creative Contest,” giving away more than $100,000 in awards.
By Eliana Rudee,JNS
The international grassroots organization Combat anti-Semitism (CAS) has announced its upcoming “Venture Creative Contest,” which will give away more than $100,000 in awards.
“Our idea is to motivate and provide opportunity for individuals and organizations that are interested in and passionate about combating anti-Semitism,” EJ Kimball, outreach coordinator for CAS, tells JNS. “We hope that the submissions might bring the issue of anti-Semitism out of the academic and intellectual debate, and down to easily understandable messages to more clearly define what anti-Semitism is.”
The uptick in global anti-Semitism, just 75 years after the Holocaust, provided the motivation for such a contest, says Kimball.
“This irrational hatred of Jews and the world’s only Jewish state harms both innocent victims and perpetrators infected by bigotry,” explains the CAS website. “The resurgence of anti-Semitism poses a challenge to all people of conscience: How can we work together to stop anti-Semitism? This contest is crowd-sourcing new solutions to help end the world’s oldest hatred.”
At present, says Kimball, anti-Semitism is manifested in violent attacks motivated by right-wing extremism, as well as the “ideological underpinnings penetrating from left, which masks itself with the BDS movement and anti-Zionism, particularly on college campuses.”
“We see today straight-out anti-Semitic comments from U.S. congresswomen amplified around the country and the world,” he adds, “which crosses the line of incitement to violence, and needs to be called out in society.”
In response to multifarious forms of anti-Semitism and the challenges they present, explains Kimball, “we chose a ‘venture creative contest’ to engage the new generation—those in creative spaces and utilizing new technologies—to define and combat anti-Semitism in a comprehensive manner.”
He adds that “the old ways of exposing and combating anti-Semitism haven’t worked, and we need to tackle it in today’s environment.”
Four different categories
For this reason, CAS hopes to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities to participate by submitting their work in four different categories.
The Herzl “take action” award will be given as seed investment of $50,000-plus to the best plan for a social venture to help stop anti-Semitism in a meaningful, new way.
The Emma Lazarus art award, in partnership with Artists 4 Israel, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and the American Sephardi Federation, will be giving awards of $5,000 each for the best poem, graffiti/street art, cartoon/comic and billboard, with an additional $500 for 10 runners-up.
The Natan Sharansky activism award of $5,000 will be given to the best essay or action plan, delivered by Sharansky, which applies lessons from the example of outstanding Jewish leaders to educate and inspire people to act against today’s anti-Semitism challenge. In co-sponsorship with JNS and the Tikvah Fund, an additional 10 runners-up will receive prizes of $1,000.
The final Abraham and Sarah “Israel in Me” award, co-sponsored by the Galila Foundation, AISH.com and Israel on Campus Coalition, will offer $5,000 to the best video or essay exploring Israel’s centrality to Jewish identity and human progress, and why celebrating its existence is moral and vital. An additional 10 runners-up will be awarded with $1,000.
Among the judging panel of entrepreneurs and leaders are Gil Canaani (Hearst Ventures), Rotem Eldar (Ofek Ventures), Barak Rabinowitz (F2 Venture Capital) and Sima Vaknin-Gil (former director-general of Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry), who will determine the winners of the competition. Kimball says they will be “looking for new approaches and creative ways to connect to different audiences, with realistic goals and likelihood of success.”
The submission deadline for entries is Dec. 1.