Fox Business News and New York Post business columnist Charlie Gasparino is an old school journalist, a legacy of a bygone era when reporters viewed themselves as “ink-stained wretches” whose role was to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” I’m confident Gasparino would be horrified if he wrote a profile about a CEO and the executive’s top PR person was celebrating him and his feature on social media. Not all that long ago reporters viewed a corporate PR person’s approval of their work as the ultimate putdown.
Gasparino, who I’ve known for years, put me to shame this morning with this column headlined, “Where is the CEO outrage during the ongoing war between Israel and Palestine?” It was a commentary that I wanted to write but didn’t have the courage. Gasparino had no such fears. I can assure you that the PR reps of the CEOs Gasparino called out in his commentary aren’t celebrating his column on social media.
Since the barbaric massacres by Hamas terrorists in Israel last week, I’ve been glued to the news and social media following the latest developments. Reading the substantial and unbridled Jew hatred I’ve encountered on LinkedIn, the only social media site I’m on, I’m aghast at the outpouring of support for the atrocities, particularly from people who I had perceived as intelligent and knowledgeable. This column by Gareth Cliff, a South African radio personality, and this commentary by Walter Block and Alan Futerman published in the Wall Street Journal, provided me with much comfort and captured my feelings with spot on accuracy.
I saw no point in debating rabid Jew haters, as facts don’t matter them. I’ve noticed that many don’t even know the facts. Although it’s come as a shock to many Jews who prided themselves as being liberal and progressive, a big swath of Planet Earth’s occupants truly wish that Hitler would have finished what he set out to do. That’s why I’ve long been an unrelenting supporter of Israel, as no Jew is safe without that country being strong and secure.
Gasparino and I are sympatico that CEOs should focus on running their businesses rather than virtue signaling their support for causes that garners them approval from the New York Times and other mainstream publications that promote narratives that most Americans don’t support and dismiss as woke. Many CEOs went to great lengths to signal their support for the BLM movement and set a precedent for wading into political and social matters.
One of the most notable was JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, whose PR people arranged and distributed a photo of him taking a knee at a bank branch outside New York City. Chase under Dimon’s leadership committed $30 billion to “advance racial equity.”
“Systemic racism is a tragic part of America’s history,” Dimon said in a news release. “We can do more and do better to break down systems that have propagated racism and widespread economic inequality, especially for Black and Latinx people. It’s long past time that society addresses racial inequities in a more tangible, meaningful way.”
On a call to discuss Chase’s earnings last week, Dimon reportedly said that “terrorism and hatred have no place in our civilized world,” before delving into his financial results. That’s hardly what one would call a resounding public revulsion of Hamas’ barbaric attacks.
I wonder if Dimon, who is Jewish, is aware of the undeniable Jew hatred of Black Lives Matter. For its 2020 protest in Los Angeles, BLM chose one of the city’s oldest Jewish neighborhoods with a substantial Orthodox community to conduct its march on the Jewish Sabbath. Various synagogues, Jewish institutions, and businesses were desecrated along the way.
There’s a national organization representing CEOs called the Business Roundtable, which in wake of the BLM protests released a report outlining a set of corporate actions and public policy recommendations to close the racial wealth gap and increase opportunity in America. The Business Roundtable has so far been tongue tied about the Hamas atrocity in Israel.
The chair of the Business Roundtable is GM CEO Mary Barra, whose “team members” she feigns concern about include more than 850 employees at the company’s R&D facility in Israel doing critical work related to electric and autonomous vehicles. In June, GM announced it had acquired Israel-based battery software startup ALGOLiON Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.
Gil Golan, the longtime head of Israel’s R&D operations, in September was named GM’s Chief Technology Officer, but it’s been reported that he’s leaving the company at the end of the month for unknown reasons.
If Barra has announced any public concern or support for her Israeli team members or expressed even some milquetoast outrage for Hamas’ atrocities, I can’t find it. Barra, it would seem, makes for a fair-weather friend. Politico reported that Barra is close with President Biden, who has expressed support for Israel and outrage about the Hamas atrocities. For all the billions of taxpayer money the Biden Administration has diverted to Barra’s middling EV operations, one might expect she’d throw her political benefactor some support.
Ford Motor Co. also has a R&D facility in Israel, which executive chairman Bill Ford announced with great fanfare four years ago.
“We recognize the importance of being in one of the world’s leading innovation communities and ecosystems,” Ford said. “This new center is not only an expansion of our existing Research and Innovation centers but provides an opportunity to join a growing innovation community in Israel.”
As best I can determine, Bill Ford and his company have been silent about Hamas’ atrocities in Israel. It’s likely that his uncle, Henry Ford II, would be ashamed.
Although its well known that Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Co., was a notorious antisemite who blamed an international Jewish conspiracy for war, poverty, Bolshevism and even “Jewish Jazz-Moron Music,” less well known is that his grandson, Henry Ford II, also known as “Hank the Deuce” or simply “the Deuce,” was a die-hard supporter of Israel even in the face of Arab boycotts.
As recounted by Zack Rothbart on the website the Librarians, shortly after Israel achieved its independence in 1948, the Deuce oversaw a trade deal resulting in a major shipment of automotive parts to help alleviate the fledgling state’s transportation crisis.
The following year, the Deuce personally presented Israel’s first president with a Ford Lincoln Cosmopolitan, a luxury full-sized vehicle. Reportedly the only other recipient of that specific model was U.S. President Harry Truman. In 1950, the Deuce made a $50,000 contribution to the United Jewish Appeal’s first ever Christian Committee Campaign for Israel, the equivalent of $639,000 today.
At the outbreak of the Six Day War in 1967, the Deuce gave Max Fisher, a renowned Detroit Jewish philanthropist, a personal note with an enclosed $100,000 check for the Israeli Emergency Fund. Shortly thereafter, the Deuce opened a Ford assembly plant in Israel and made good on his promise to maintain business dealings with the Jewish State, refusing to give in to boycott threats despite Ford’s extensive and lucrative interests across the Arab world.
“Nobody’s gonna tell me what to do,” the Deuce said.
Ford’s first vehicles were Escorts, which began rolling off a production line in Nazareth in the spring of 1968. In October 1971, a festive celebration marked the plant’s 15,000th Escort. The next year, the plant began assembling a new four-door model, the Escort 1300, and the Deuce came for a visit. As exports to Africa grew in the 1970s, Ford Transits, trucks, and buses were also assembled in Nazareth.
A collection of rare photos of the Deuce’s visit are featured in Rothbart’s article.
Notably, the Deuce wasn’t a virtue signaler in his unwavering support of Israel.
“I don’t mind saying I was influenced in part by the fact that (Ford) still suffers from a resentment against the antisemitism of the distant past,” the Deuce said. “We want to overcome that. But the main thing is that (in Israel) we had a dealer who wanted to open up an agency to sell our products – hell, let him do it.”
I’m guessing that it was the Deuce’s influence that prompted the UAW to purchase $300,000 in Israel bonds, which the union was forced to sell in 1973 after almost 3,000 Arab members marched to the UAW’s Dearborn office and demanded that the local union liquidate the securities.
The UAW has been silent about Hamas’ atrocities in Israel, but notably UAW president Shawn Fain’s communications director Jonah Furman was a former co-chair of Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America Labor Working Group. That’s the organization that held a rally in New York supporting Hamas’ terrorist attack in Israel.
Some unions have come out in favor of Hamas and cutting off support for Israel, including The Starbucks Workers United, a Service Employees International Union affiliate supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, along with other public sector and university unions. They are no doubt ignorant that Israel’s powerful Histadrut labor union, was responsible for calling the crippling strike in March that forced prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay his controversial judicial reforms.
Gasparino, the NY Post columnist, warned that American CEO silence about the Hamas atrocities “sets a dangerous precedent” and is largely driven from fear of social media boycotts or losing their stellar ESG ratings.
“That’s how they allowed this noxious ideology into the workplace in the first place,” Gasparino said.
Unlike the Deuce, today’s American CEOs are too cowardly to act on principle.