Major Jewish Leaders Representing Millions of Jewish Americans Call on AT&T to ‘Reconsider’ Decision to Remove Newsmax

NewsMax, Getty Images/coldsnowstorm

Nearly two dozen key Jewish community leaders from across the United States, representing millions of Jewish Americans, called for global telecommunications giant AT&T to “reconsider” its recent move to cancel Newsmax from its network lineup, citing the conservative news channel’s “fair coverage of Jewish issues and Israel,” while warning of the risk of losing “significant support from the Jewish community” as a result.

In a letter addressed to AT&T and its video programming platform DirecTV, as well as private equity firm TPG Capital which owns a significant portion of DirecTV and serves as its operational manager, 23 major Jewish leaders expressed “serious concern” over AT&T’s recent cancellation of Newsmax.

The letter represents Jewish leaders from across the political spectrum. It was sent this week to AT&T CEO John Stankey, AT&T Board Chairman William Kennard, DirecTV CEO William Morrow, and TPG CEO Jon Winkelried, questions and challenges the recent removal of Newsmax’s channel from DirecTV, specifically inquiring of the executives regarding any plans to return the network to their systems.

“We, the undersigned leaders of the Jewish community throughout the U.S., write to you to express our serious concern about your decision to remove Newsmax from DirecTV systems,” the letter begins.

Noting their role as community leaders who “represent millions of Jewish Americans,” the letter noted Newsmax’s role as “a crucial way for us to reach our fellow Americans to share our perspectives on anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, the State of Israel and other matters important to our community.”

It continues by lamenting that “fair coverage of issues of concern, including coverage of the State of Israel, has been difficult to find in major media,” while accusing many in the media of having “turned a blind eye to the sharp and dangerous rise of anti-Semitism in America.”

In contrast, the letter asserts, Newsmax “has been an invaluable voice,” as numerous Jewish figures who are “not found on other networks” are frequently featured guests.

“We have found Newsmax has offered fair coverage of Jewish issues and Israel — and has served as an important platform for us to speak out against the dangerous rise of anti-Semitism,” it continues. 

The letter concludes by asking the telecommunications company to “reconsider” its decision to remove Newsmax. 

“We believe that AT&T benefits by keeping Newsmax on air [and] by removing this channel, your companies will lose significant support from the Jewish community,” it states.

Signatories of the letter include key members of the Jewish community, some who have spent decades in public policy, including: 

  • Arthur Schneier, Senior Rabbi of Park East Synagogue
  • Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
  • Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus of Law at Harvard University 
  • Abraham Foxman, former Anti-Defamation League (ADL) head
  • Joe Lieberman, former U.S. senator from Connecticut
  • Norm Coleman, former U.S. senator from Minnesota
  • David Friedman, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel
  • Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition
  • Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)

Last month, DirecTV suspended service to Newsmax, cutting the conservative cable channel off from millions of American households. 

According to AT&T, the decision was made for “cost-cutting” reasons, despite paying out massive sums in cable licensing fees to leftist channels with lower ratings.

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy described the move as a “blatant act of political discrimination and censorship.”

Cable fees are necessary for news and other channels to exist and grow.   

The deplatforming of Newsmax from 13 million homes was felt by many Jewish Americans who turn to the conservative cable news network for news coverage.

Community leader Bryan Leib, who serves as the spokesman for the letter’s signatories, expressed his “deep” disappointment over the fact that “the nation’s fourth highest-rated cable news network, and a stalwart ally of Israel, covering the issues of concern to American Jews, was removed by AT&T.” 

“Considering the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the U.S., we believe Newsmax is needed now more than ever,” he added. “We believe now is the time for AT&T to reverse this decision and put Newsmax back on air.”

Last week, Republican senators and members of congress took the platform to task, sending a letter to the CEOs of DirectTV and its controlling shareholders, AT&T and TPG, demanding more information about its decision to blacklist Newsmax.

Former President Donald Trump, who launched his third presidential campaign at Mar-a-Lago last year, pointed to DirecTV’s decision as another reason for Republicans to take back the White House in 2024.

“This is just one of many reasons why we must WIN IN 2024,” he wrote in a post on Truth Social.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis, touted as a presidential candidate in 2024, also slammed DirecTV’s decision.

“The reality is they have so much other content that is very lightly viewed and yet they keep that on and it seems it’s the One America News and the Newsmax who are being targeted, so I think it does warrant investigation,” he said.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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