Why Is Antisemitism Low on the Agenda at Davos?

Attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, have been speaking at length about artificial intelligence, the war in Ukraine, the U.S. election, climate change and more.

But one topic dominating a lot of discussion among U.S. business leaders and policymakers has been largely missing from the official agenda: rising antisemitism after the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel. Some executives are working to change that.

Only one panel to discuss the topic is on the agenda out of the forum’s hundreds of presentations.

The panelists at the session this afternoon include Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris; Michal Herzog, the wife of Israel’s president; and Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League. (Isaac Herzog, Israel’s president, spoke this morning.)

“I’m disappointed that there isn’t more of a conversation about antisemitism here,” Leon Kalvaria, vice chairman of client and banking at Citi and a longtime Davos attendee, told DealBook. “I hope to hear it brought up more as the week progresses because leaders in both the private and public sectors have a real responsibility not only to make it clear that this kind of intolerance is unacceptable, but to also discuss the very real impact it has around the world.”

Other executives are raising the issue privately. On Tuesday, there was a private screening of a 47-minute film, put together by the Israeli military, of the Oct. 7 attacks, which the military says was drawn largely from footage shot by the assailants.

“Davos typically is a conference filled with hope, but this terrible footage left the audience in shambles,” Greenblatt told DealBook. “People walked out of the room in silence, either crying or simply shellshocked.”

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