Ari Emanuel Accepts Simon Wiesenthal Center Honor, Slams Netanyahu

“This is a painful and crucial moment for all of us who are Jews and who love Israel, and it’s not a time to stay silent,” declared Ari Emanuel, the CEO of sports and entertainment company Endeavor and one of Hollywood’s most outspoken voices in the fight against antisemitism, in a fiery speech as he accepted the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s highest honor, the Humanitarian Award, at the organization’s National Tribute Gala fundraiser on Wednesday evening. Emanuel, who is Jewish, then went on to slam, at length, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his handling of the Israel-Gaza war. Many attendees applauded, but dozens of others stormed out of the room in fury, and others still booed, as Emanuel opined: “For the good of Israel, he should go.”

Emanuel stated unequivocally that Hamas’ attacks of October 7 sparked the war, and that Israel was well within its rights to respond: “One lesson of our history is that we must defend ourselves. All wars are brutal. Women, children and civilians suffer. It’s terrible. Yet some wars are justified. Israel didn’t start the war in Gaza; Hamas did.” He added, “We all know in this room what ‘[From] the river to the sea means’; it means a promise to eliminate Israel and all Jews from the river to the sea. That is the definition of genocide. People who chant the slogan calling for the end of the Jewish state and students who say ‘Zionists don’t deserve to live’ are not ‘misguided kids’; they’re antisemitic thugs.” And he emphasized, “Hamas could end this war today. They could free the hostages today.”

That portion of Emanuel’s remarks received wide applause. But then the audience grew polarized as he said, “But make no mistake: For the security of Israel and the sake of innocent people on both sides, this war does need to end — not just the fighting in Gaza, but the broader conflict with the Palestinians. That means negotiating a political two-state solution that delivers peace, security and dignity for all.”

And then he went after Netanyahu, asserting that the longtime Israeli leader’s actions over the months since have made finding a solution harder and have damaged Israel’s standing around the world: “I know a bit about negotiations. My mother taught me: You don’t negotiate peace with friends. You don’t negotiate with allies. You negotiate with enemies. But to get there, you need strong and wise leaders on both sides. Unfortunately, Israel is being led by a man who doesn’t want a peaceful solution. He doesn’t want to secure the future of Israel or the reputation and safety of Jews globally. He only wants to secure his own power and political survival. Israel is being led not by a problem solver, but by a problem creator. He is an agent of chaos and hatred and division and destruction. And enough is enough. Bibi Netanyahu is a narcissist. He has no political plan on how to end the war or secure the peace.”

Emanuel continued, “It is now time to recognize that Bibi Netanyahu is ruining our reputation and doing…

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