Ari Emanuel denounces Israeli Prime Minister at Jewish group’s gala

Ari Emanuel in a blue tuxedo standing at a lectern
Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel.
(Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for LACMA)

Endeavor Chief Executive Ari Emanuel this week called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ouster and denounced his leadership following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

The Hollywood power player made the remarks during the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s gala in Beverly Hills, where he accepted the Jewish organization’s Humanitarian Award, its highest honor.

“This is a painful and crucial moment for all of us who are Jews and who love Israel. It is not a moment to stay silent,” Emanuel said Wednesday evening.


“Israel is being led not by a problem solver, but by a problem creator. He is an agent of chaos and hatred and division and destruction. And enough is enough. Bibi Netanyahu is a failure.”

His remarks were met with both cheers and jeers, with some attendees walking out of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The audience was filled with members of Emanuel’s family and entertainment industry stalwarts including Larry David, Robert Kraft, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.”

Emanuel, who spoke of his family’s long ties to Israel and who supports a two-state solution, said Netanyahu “doesn’t want a peaceful solution” in the conflict “And it’s become clear that getting to a political solution and Netanyahu remaining in power are irreconcilable paths,” he said.

“As for his responsibilities to keep the people of the state of Israel and Jews across the globe safe, he has obviously failed spectacularly,” Emanuel said. “But he has succeeded wildly in using division to stay in power.”

One of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, Emanuel is also one of the most outspoken. Two years ago he urged businesses to cut ties with the artist formerly known as Kanye West after he made antisemitic remarks. Companies such as Adidas and the Gap stopped working with the rapper and producer.

In 2006, Emanuel wrote an open letter calling on Hollywood to boycott Mel Gibson after his antisemitic rant made during a drunk-driving arrest, saying the actor’s alcoholism “does not excuse racism and anti-Semitism.” Year later, Emanuel accepted an apology from Gibson and supported his return to the film industry.


The Oct. 7 terror attack by Hamas left about 1,200 Israelis dead and more than than 250 kidnapped. Israel’s military retaliation has killed more than 35,000 people and displaced thousands more, according to Gaza health officials. The war has polarized every sector of the U.S., including Hollywood.

Emanuel lamented the civilian casualties and suffering among Palestinians in Gaza. “The loss of even a single innocent child is a tragedy,” he said. But he called Israel’s war “justified” saying “Israel did not start the war in Gaza. Hamas did.”

He also criticized pro-Palestinian protesters using the slogan “from the river to the sea,” which he said means the elimination of Israel. “That’s the definition of genocide,” he said.