American talk show host, Jay Leno (L), unknown, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), American actor, Michael Douglas, Natan Sharansky and Knesset Chairman, Yuli Edelstein (R), seen at the Genesis Award ceremony in Jerusalem in 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

BDS Berkeley Campus

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march on the University of California, Berkeley campus. (AP/Paul Sakuma)

Two world-renown celebrities, albeit in different ways, are set to take on anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hostility on US academic campuses. 

American actor Michael Douglas and Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky are set to visit three college campuses in the US to speak to students about Israel and modern anti-Semitism.

Douglas and Sharansky will visit Brown University on January 28, Stanford University on February 2, and the University of California, Santa Barbara on February 3. The program, titled “Jewish Journeys: A Conversation with Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky,” is being co-hosted by the Genesis Prize Foundation, Hillel International, and the Jewish Agency, in addition to the local Hillel chapters on each campus.

“This is the first time, in this current period of heightened anti-Israel activity on campus, that a Hollywood celebrity has offered to join with a world Jewish leader to visit US college campuses and speak with students about Israel and the Jewish people,” said Stan Polovets, the Genesis Prize Foundation’s co-founder and chairman. “At a time when certain individuals and groups in the academic community as well as other forces are making sustained efforts to delegitimize Israel, these visits are particularly important and timely.”

Douglas said, “I was honored to receive the Genesis Prize last year, and it has encouraged me to deepen my commitment and belief that we must all be more inclusive in order that the Jewish faith and culture thrive. These visits provide an opportunity for Natan and me to speak directly with young people about the challenges they encounter, and share insight about how we have dealt with these situations throughout our life.”