Gerson A. Zweifach, Senior Executive Vice President and Group General Counsel for 21st Century Fox, was honored by the New York Region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at its 22nd Annual Human Relations Award Dinner on Nov. 17. The Human Relations Award recognizes leaders in the legal, business and philanthropic community who are dedicated to the mission of the ADL in their communities throughout New York State. The ADL was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.”
“Ask anyone who’s worked with Gerson and you’ll hear the same thing: There is no one you’d rather have on your side,” said 21CF CEO James Murdoch, who introduced Gerson at the dinner in New York City. “He is fierce, loyal and deeply principled. We see this every day. He is tenacious in asking the right questions. He is persistent in digging out the facts. And he has a singular ability to distill truly complex issues in real time, often without the benefit of complete information.”
In his remarks, Gerson thanked James, his family and his “extended family” – 21CF colleagues, law firm partners and colleagues present at the event.
“It’s not an accident that I’ve spent my professional life at a law firm that felt like a family business, and now I’m at a great media company that is in fact a family business,” he said.
Gerson went on to express concern about the present environment. “I am worried that this paradigm we count on, the marketplace of ideas, is failing, that the market isn’t working efficiently. This isn’t a comment on election results. It is a process point, and it goes beyond political speech or what passes for it today.”
He proceeded to lay out three threats to the speech market’s ability to take people to truth: an unhealthy appreciation for authenticity, a love of sheer ubiquity, and an overvaluation of what’s new and current.
In addition to better speech and better advocacy to “cut through the cat videos and other dreck,” part of the answer is simply that more ADL supporters and colleagues simply need to show up, according to Gerson.
“At minimum, I think it means we all have to engage with false speech, political and otherwise – with friends, even with family members – and make clear in every way we can that falsehoods have to be confronted and deconstructed, that speakers should be discredited, that repeating a falsehood because it’s gone viral or it’s a story in itself just isn’t good enough. I think we have to demand more of speakers and creators. Audiences will follow.”
Daniel J. Kramer, partner in Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, joined Gerson as a 2016 Human Relations Award honoree.
This year’s Human Relations Award dinner was meant to raise awareness and support for the New York Region’s programs and services in advocacy, education and training for schools, law enforcement and the community at large.
Learn more about the New York Region of the ADL and its commitment to safeguard civil rights for all religious, racial and ethnic groups.