During this session fellows explored how the experiences of former Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa shapes current Sephardic attitudes and approaches to contemporary manifestations of antisemitism. By learning about the experiences of Iranian Jews in particular, fellows gained a deeper understanding of how antisemitism is connected not only to white supremacy, but to a history of state-sanctioned anti-Zionism in the Middle East. Fellows began to understand that current Jewish communal conversations on antisemitism are incomplete without the participation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews.
This important and timely conversation was led by Dr. Sharon Nazarian. Dr. Nazarian is the President of the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation and the founder of the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at (UCLA). The Center is housed in the International Institute at UCLA in order to provide a systematic and academic study of Israel.
Sharon previously served as the vice chair of the West Coast Board of the American Society of the University of Haifa, sat on the Board of Governors of Haifa University, and was a member of the Chairman’s Circle of the National Democratic Institute. She also sat on the boards of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and Center of Middle East Public Policy at RAND Corporation.
In 2017, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) appointed Sharon as Senior Vice President of International Affairs. Sharon heads ADL’s work fighting anti-Semitism and racial hatred globally and also oversees ADL’s Israel office.