Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, accepted Israel’s prestigious Genesis Prize at a ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday, where he pledged $20 million to establish a foundation that will fight anti-Semitism and combat the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Genesis Prize Foundation Chairman Stan Polovets handed the award to Kraft in front of an audience of 600 Israeli and international dignitaries, including TIP CEO and President Joshua S. Block.
“The new foundation I am announcing tonight is a platform to galvanize the global fight against anti-Semitism, uniting all people of good conscience around this goal,” Kraft said, who also chose to forgo the $1 million in money that accompanies the prize. He asked that the money be donated in his honor to programs that fight anti-Semitism and efforts to delegitimize Israel.
In his keynote address, Kraft told the audience, “I believe we can use this platform of social media to make a genuine and lasting impact on the rising tide of hate (…) especially against our people.”
Kraft is the seventh winner of the award, following United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; actor Michael Douglas; violinist Itzhak Perlman; sculptor Anish Kapoor; and actress Natalie Portman.
Over the years, Kraft has supported many initiatives in Israel and worked to promote the Jewish State. In June 2017, he brought a delegation of football Hall-of-Famers to Israel. Earlier that year, Kraft donated $6 million to build the first regulation-sized American football stadium in Israel.
In two instances, Kraft publicly paid tribute to victims of Palestinian terror.
In November 2015, he honored American terror victim Ezra Schwartz with a moment of silence before their Monday Night Football game against the Buffalo Bills. Schwartz was an 18-year-old student and lifelong Patriots fan from the Boston area, who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist a week earlier.
In 2014, after American IDF soldier Max Steinberg was killed fighting against Hamas, Kraft sent a letter to Steinberg’s parents, writing, “I have taken the liberty of reaching out to you since I noticed him wearing a New England Patriots cap in one of the broadcasted photos. He represents the consummate patriot and I am forever grateful for the sacrifices he made to keep our beloved Israel safe.”