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Ari Emanuel Condemns Netanyahu, Drawing Boos at Jewish Group’s Gala

While accepting an award from a major Jewish group on Wednesday night, the media executive Ari Emanuel condemned Israel’s conservative prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for his leadership since the Hamas attack of Oct. 7, a conspicuous statement from one of Hollywood’s most powerful figures.

Those remarks by Emanuel drew both applause and boos, as well as some departures from the gala. On Thursday, the group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that the timing of the comments — while Emanuel was receiving the highest honor it bestows — was not appropriate.

“Netanyahu doesn’t want a peaceful solution,” Emanuel said at the gala, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by the entertainment conglomerate Endeavor, where he is the chief executive. “And it’s become clear that getting to a political solution and Netanyahu remaining in power are irreconcilable paths.”

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

Later in his remarks, Emanuel added, “For the good of Israel, he should go.”

Emanuel’s commentary about Netanyahu came in the concluding section of his speech. A video shows some attendees getting up and leaving.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center was honoring Emanuel, the superagent satirized by Jeremy Piven in the HBO show “Entourage,” with its Humanitarian Award at a gala in Beverly Hills. The organization administers the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and describes its mission as “fighting antisemitism, defending the State of Israel and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust.”

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