Chelsea owner gives £3.9 million to antisemitism foundation

Roman Abramovich offers up another huge donation to fight antisemitism - this time the cash will go to a new foundation set up by US businessman Robert Kraft


Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club has pledged £3.9 million ($5 million) for a new foundation set up by US businessman Robert Kraft to tackle antisemitism.

Mr Kraft announced the establishment of the Foundation for Social Media Messaging Against Antisemitism as he accepted the Genesis Prize award in Jerusalem on Thursday.

The American philanthropist was awarded the prize for his efforts to combat antisemitism and the delegitimisation of Israel.

Mr Kraft, who is owner of the New England Patriots, announced he has put £15.7m ($20m) towards the foundation and that Mr Abramovich is one of two others each adding £3.9m, which takes the fund’s total to £24m million to tackle online antisemitism.

The donation is the latest Mr Abramovic has made to fight antisemitism. He recently donated in the region of £4 million to the Jewish Agency for Israel to support efforts in combating antisemitism globally.

The Russian billionaire oligarch’s gift was reportedly the largest ever given to the Israel-based organisation by a single donor.

Speaking about his new fund, Mr Kraft said his goal was to raise £39.5m for the foundation, which he said will target those aged 18 to 35 who are “most impacted by what they see on social media.”

He said: “In combating the scourge of antisemitism, 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.”

He announced the news to an audience of 600 people, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attended the award at the Jerusalem Theatre.

Previous winners of the prestigious prize include artist Anish Kapoor, and actor-director Michael Douglas. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award last year.

Giving the keynote address for the Genesis Prize Foundation, Senior reform rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “All peoples have the right to self-determination, including the Jewish people. It is our duty to combat the pernicious narrative that robs the Jewish people of this right.”

She said: “We often ‘fundraise’ shyly, sometimes guiltily, even though we are raising money for good, for tzedakah, to enable us to look after other people.

“The Genesis Prize sees professionally accomplished game-changers giving both time and money, with their energy on display all year round. While the reaction of some in the UK may be cynical and we may not instinctively put on parties like this, we know that people like Robert Kraft can choose what to do with their wealth. I’m delighted that he, and others who support the Genesis Prize, have chosen to tackle antisemitism, including in the UK and the rest of Europe.”

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