In this Sept. 6, 2021 file photo, Israeli soldiers watch as a Palestinian laborer crosses through a damaged section of the Israeli separation fence, returning home after a days work in Israel, in the West Bank village of Jalameh, near Jenin. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

The fight to suppress Palestinian rights and the fight against what is labeled “anti- Semitism” has strange bedfellows. One source of this apparent link is 92-year-old billionaire Nathan Kirsch, an entrepreneur, “philanthropist” and ardent supporter of the Zionist State of Israel. His fortune was first developed under South African apartheid.

In a piece that appeared in a 2014 edition of the South African-based Daily Maverick about the non-discloser of campaign financing, Richard Poplar wrote, “… when (Julius) Malema (president of the Economic Freedom Fighters) stood before his faithful in Thokoza on Sunday and accused the DA (Democratic Alliance Party) of accepting money from Israel, what exactly did he mean?”

Poplar continued, “We know that one of the DA’s bigger supporters (as opposed to funders) is Nathan Kirsh, a South African-born, Swazi-naturalized billionaire real estate magnate. Kirsh owns a little bit of everything everywhere, and a whole lot of Magal Security Systems in Israel. Magal is a high-tech, vastly unloved outfit listed on the NASDAQ and Tel Aviv stock exchanges; it is responsible for the West Bank security/Apartheid fence.”

Yes, this is the same Nathan Kirsch that built electrified fences to keep Palestinian in and also bankrolls “Shine A Light,” a campaign whose objective is to keep criticisms of Israel to a minimum. The campaign includes billboards, and public service announcements airing during some of television’s most popular programs including “Today” and “Saturday Night Live,” according to the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.


In fact, in one TV ad, the campaign uses a very attractive Black American a woman to educate viewers on what criticisms of Israel are viable and which are not. That is like a thief defining his crime. In this case, defining the criticisms so the American public doesn’t have to.

Shine A Light was created in 2023 by the Kirsh Foundation, reported the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. In a recent article published in the New York-based Jewish Forward, “Shine A Light” was said to be “founded amid the fallout of the May 2021 escalation in violence across Israel and the Gaza Strip.” The article continued, “Shine A Light defines some popular forms of Israel criticism as anti-semitism. Several larger progressive Jewish groups are notably absent from the coalition, underscoring the challenge of pitching a big tent at a time when the Jewish community has been divided over how to defend itself.”

“Nonetheless, Shine A Light has managed to assemble an elusive coalition, winning the support of every major Jewish denomination and sometimes rivals like the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee.”

According to the Jewish Forward, “Shine A Light grew out of a member of the Kirsh family’s concern that anti-Semitism stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had reached a fever pitch in the United States following the 2021 violence, a feeling echoed by numerous Jewish groups the family already supported.”

Shine A Light as well as the ADL’s new “Entertainment Leadership Council to Fight  Anti-Semitism” may be no more than public relations. Not that anti-Semitism does not exist, but at what cost do we give up “our first amendment right.”

Kirsch’s daughter Wendy Fisher of the A4 Arts Foundation, which is seed funded by the Kirsch Family Foundation is an old hand at using art as soft power to promote Israel. A case in point, according to South African news publication Mail & Guardian, “Beyond the money through Magal, the Kirsh family influence seems ideologically aligned to, and invested in, the Zionist state project. Why do we say this? Fisher, an artist and ‘philanthropist’ who also sits on the board of the Guggenheim and is a donor to Zeitz MOCCA, is on the board of the Israel Museum and she co-chairs the British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel (BFAMI) organization.” 

There is no way of estimating lives lost or the heightened terror experienced by Palestinians under the various iterations of this apparent and well-funded Kirsch-engineered historical dynamic.

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