Following the attacks on October 7 in Israel, a coalition of Wall Street and Hollywood’s wealthiest are contemplating a substantial $50 million media campaign aimed at defining Hamas as a terrorist organization in the eyes of the American public.
Spearheaded by real estate tycoon Barry Sternlicht, the proposed media campaign would seek to clarify distinctions between anti-Semitism and Palestinian issues amid escalating media focus on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
According to an email reviewed by Semafor News outlet, Sternlicht reached out to dozens of affluent business figures, soliciting $1 million in contributions to combat the potential sway of public opinion against Israel due to the graphic depictions of Palestinian distress by Hamas.
The email reads, “Public opinion will surely shift as scenes, real or fabricated by Hamas, of civilian Palestinian suffering will surely erode [Israel’s] current empathy in the world community. We must get ahead of the narrative.”
Still in its formative stages, the campaign has amassed several million dollars and brought on board Josh Vlasto, a former political aide to Senator Chuck Schumer and Governor Andrew Cuomo, as a consultant, alongside the preliminary launch of a dedicated website.
While the involvement of certain high-profile individuals like CNN’s David Zaslav and talent agent Ari Emanuel remains unconfirmed, the fundraising efforts for the campaign have resonated with some, with notable figures like Bill Ackman and Marc Rowan publicly expressing their views on related university events, and Michael Bloomberg making a substantial donation to Israeli emergency services.
The campaign aims to influence American perceptions and procure a substantial matching fund from a prominent Jewish charity, intensifying the media drive.
This campaign comes at a time when domestic attitudes towards Israel are experiencing a generational divide, with younger, more liberal demographics showing less solidarity than older counterparts, as evidenced by recent University of Maryland and Ipsos polls.
Following the Hamas attack, student bodies at several leading American universities, including Columbia University, the University of Michigan Law School, and Northwestern University, have issued statements assigning sole responsibility for the conflict to Israel.
In a similar vein, over thirty student organizations at Harvard University have signed a letter unequivocally accusing the Israeli government of being the sole party responsible for the recent violence.
The letter reads, “Today’s events did not occur in a vacuum. For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison. Israeli officials promise to ‘open the gates of hell,’ and the massacres in Gaza have already commenced….The apartheid regime is the only one to blame.”
The contention surrounding these statements has highlighted a broader division within American society regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.