By Ben Tinsley
DALLAS — Ari Shavit, whose complex love for the land of Israel transformed his book My Promised Land into a New York Times best-seller (and possibly an HBO documentary film), will be the featured speaker at AJC Dallas’ Tuesday, June 2 fundraising event.
Anna Popp, director of AJC Dallas, said Shavit was specifically selected to be the AJC’s “Defining Moment” campaign speaker because he is a daring journalist.
Daring journalism is needed to identify and address the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the increased campaigns to try to delegitimize Israel on college campuses, she said.
“We consider this a ‘defining moment’ for the Jewish people,” Popp said.
Shavit, 58, a leading Israeli columnist and writer, is regarded as one of the most respected journalists in Israel.
His comments are expected to be well-received at the event, formally titled “Israel, America, an the Challenges of the Changing Middle East: What Does the Future Hold?”
Shavit’s speech takes place at the Communities Foundation of Texas Mabel Peters Caruth Center, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane in Dallas.
Kim Kamen, associate director of the Department of Regional Offices at AJC, explained in a recent email that Shavit is quite popular on the speaking circuit right now.
“He is one of the ‘hottest’ tickets around the country right now, a well-known journalist, author, and commentator,” Kamen stated. “We anticipate this will be a sell-out crowd for AJC’s ‘Defining Moment’ fundraising campaign.”
In the book — which The New York Times describes as a “must-read” — Shavit explores his own family’s history in Israel, using it as a window through which to glimpse the story of the Jewish state.
He’s an exciting guest to have speak, Popp said.
Shavit is a senior correspondent and a member of the editorial board at Haaretz newspaper.
Born in Rehovot, Israel, he was a paratrooper in the IDF. He went on to study philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
In the 1980s he wrote for the progressive weekly Koteret Rashit.
In the early 1990s he was chairperson of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.
In 1995 he joined Haaretz. This is where he serves on the editorial board.
Shavit, who lives in Kfar Shmaryahu with his wife and two children, is also a leading commentator on Israeli public television.
According to Variety, his best-seller is set to be made into an HBO documentary film.
Shavit discussed the issue with HBO higher-ups in Jerusalem last month at Keshet Media’s third annual INTV conference. This is a two-day gathering of top global television executives.
Meanwhile, in regard to the program, a VIP reception for sponsors (minimum contribution $1,250) begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by 7 p.m. registration and the 7:30 p.m. program.
Chairpeople for the event are Deborah and Chuck Gilbert; Esther and Michael Meyers; Jill and Benton Middleman; Janine and Charles Pulman; Bryan Rigg; and Karla and Larry Steinberg.
Additionally, there will be a dessert reception following the event.
To register — or get more information — email firstname.lastname@example.org or access www.ajcdallas.org.