The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy is honored to announce Natan Sharansky as the new Chair of ISGAP, effective immediately.
Abraham H. Foxman, on behalf of the ISGAP Board of Directors, “I welcome Natan Sharansky as Chair of ISGAP. He brings leadership in human rights at the political and intellectual level – essential in combating antisemitism.”
Professor Alan Dershowitz, Co-Chair of the ISGAP International Academic Board of Advisors, upon learning of the appointment stated, “There is no public figure in the world more qualified, by intellect and experience, to head this important organization.”
Charles Asher Small, the founding director of ISGAP, stated at the news of Mr. Sharansky’s appointment: “I can not think of an individual who carries a greater caliber of intellectual leadership in the fight against contemporary antisemitism, in combination with an extraordinary record in the struggle for human rights, including the rights of the Jewish people, as well as all groups of peoples, to be able to freely express and practice their identity. His fight and moral victory over totalitarianism is historic and legendary. Given the rise in current totalitarian movements – that rely on antisemitism – Mr. Sharansky’s leadership role in ISGAP is all the more vital.”
In 2003 Natan Sharansky famously developed a vital definition for the new antisemitism – the 3d test, to help us distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism. The first “D” is the test of demonization, the second – of double standards, the third – of delegitimization. This 3d principle was widely accepted by different organizations that fight antisemitism and was included in the international definition of antisemitism.
In 2009, Natan Sharansky was appointed Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The mission of the Jewish Agency is to guarantee the future of the Jewish People by strengthening the connection of every Jew to the State of Israel and to the Jewish People. In 2018 he received the highest Israeli award – the Israel Prize for promoting Aliyah and the ingathering of the exiles. Mr. Sharansky is the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the only living non-American citizen who is the recipient of these two highest American awards. Sharansky initiated a program called Israeli fellows on Campus, which sent hundreds of young Israelis to fight BDS and Anti-Israel propaganda on American campuses.
Natan Sharansky is currently serving as the Founding Chairman of The Shlichut Institute and the Chairman of The Advisory Board of Genesis Prize Foundation.
Natan Sharansky was born in 1948 in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was a spokesman for the human rights movement, a prisoner of conscience and leader in the struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Mr. Sharansky was a founding member of the Helsinki Group, which monitored violations of international agreements of different religious and national groups in the Soviet Union. He worked closely with Andrei Sakharov, the renowned Soviet human rights activist, and kept close contact with foreign media beyond the iron curtain.
In 1977, a Soviet newspaper alleged that Mr. Sharansky was collaborating with the CIA. Despite denials from every level of the U.S. Government, Mr. Sharansky was found guilty and sentenced to thirteen years in prison, including solitary confinement and hard labor. In the courtroom prior to the announcement of his verdict, Mr. Sharansky in a public statement said: “To the court I have nothing to say – to my wife and the Jewish people I say ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’”. After nine years of imprisonment, due to an intense international campaign led by his wife Avital, Mr. Sharansky was released on February 11, 1986, emigrated to Israel, and arrived in Jerusalem on that very day.
Upon his arrival in Israel he became active in the integration of Soviet Jews and formed the Zionist Forum, an umbrella organization of former Soviet activist groups dedicated to helping new Israelis and educating the public about absorption issues. The final chapter of the historic struggle for the release of Soviet Jews was the historic rally of over 250,000 in 1987 during Gorbachev’s first visit in Washington of which Natan Sharansky was the initiator and driving force.
In 1996, he established the Yisrael B’Aliyah party in order to accelerate the integration of new immigrants into Israeli society. He served in four successive Israeli governments as Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
Small, a former activist in the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry in Canada, continued, “Mr. Sharansky embodies all that is possible. The freeing of the Soviet Jews at times seemed but a distant dream – but it became reality due to the bravery and sacrifice of Mr. Sharansky and countless other brave men and women – whose leadership united the Jewish people throughout the world. With people like Mr. Sharansky fighting antisemitism and joining the efforts of ISGAP, we are reminded that although our task remains significant, truth and righteousness will always triumph against the vile forces of hatred, totalitarianism, and antisemitism.”
He is also the author of three books: Fear No Evil, The Case for Democracy, and Defending Identity. He remains a champion of the right of all people to live in freedom and believes that the advancement of human rights is critical to peace and security around the world.