Marc Ginsberg: Dedicated To Protecting the Jewish Community in Israel, the US and Online

Courtesy of Marc Ginsberg.

Marc Ginsberg’s career has taken turns down several different paths, including an ambassadorship to Morocco during the Clinton administration, to now serving in a leadership role with an online security organization, Coalition for a Safer Web. But Ginsberg, a Bethesda resident, has navigated each change as an essential part of his work to protect the Jewish community and to fulfill his life’s goal of understanding the Arab world to help Israel.

Ginsberg was born in New York City in 1950, and his family emigrated to Israel when he was eight years old. He returned to the United States as an adult, where he began a successful political career that led to him becoming the first Jewish American to serve as an ambassador in the Arab world.

Ginsberg started out as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy before moving up to become the White House liaison for U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in 1977.

He then became the deputy senior adviser to the president for Middle East policy during the Carter administration in 1979 before moving into his most prominent political position as the U.S. ambassador to Morocco under President Clinton from 1994 to 1999.

“I happen to have worked on Bill Clinton’s campaign as his deputy press secretary for foreign policy and one of his Middle East advisors. He and I had been friends for many years. And he asked me if I was interested in becoming an ambassador,” Ginsberg said.

He initially asked to become the ambassador to Jordan, but the King of Jordan said no due to security concerns over Ginsberg being the first U.S. Jewish ambassador to enter the country.

The focus then shifted to Morocco, as Ginsberg had a skill set and interests that suited work in the Middle East.

“They checked with Morocco and then the Moroccan king, who was Hassan bin Muhammad at the time, tentatively said yes. He wanted to meet me secretly before he granted his approval, and so I flew over to Rabat to meet the king. And then after I returned, he granted his consent,” Ginsberg said.

Ginsberg said he had a wonderful time in that position, in large part due to the Moroccan Jewish community and the opportunity to have some political involvement with a country and region that had a lot of hope for peace and prosperity.

“I happen to have at least been a great fly on the wall, listening to a lot of what was taking place … and then I happen to have been lucky to be the ambassador when the first Middle East economic conference took place in Casablanca,” Ginsberg said.

That conference saw the first meeting between Israeli and Arab business leaders, which set the groundwork for significantly more collaboration in the future between Israel and Arab countries.

Even after the end of his ambassadorship, Ginsberg remained connected with the Arab world, working for 12 years as the senior vice president of a company called APCO Worldwide, which is a public affairs firm that he worked with to help coordinate client relationships across the Middle East.

He also co-founded the company Layalina Productions, which was the first U.S. company to produce non-profit Arabic language television for the Arabic world.

“I remain very active in the Arab world as an attorney, representing Arab leaders in their commercial dealings in the United States and creating through Cyprus investment opportunities for young Arab entrepreneurs to invest in Israeli businesses. I considered my goal in life to understand the Arab world in order to help Israel,” Ginsberg said.

But Ginsberg’s largest focus at the moment is the Coalition for a Safer Web, the nonprofit which he founded in 2018 to deal with online extremism and cyber terrorism.

The issue of online extremism and antisemitism has become a particular concern after the Oct. 7 attacks and the flood of disinformation that’s populated social media platforms and driven intense polarization.

“We uncovered Hamas’ sophisticated social media initiative that it had already prepared and launched from three sites on Oct. 7 that populated American social media through influencers who they paid off, who had millions of followers. I think we were the only organization that was able to track Hamas servers operating out of Qatar, out of Iran and out of Russia,” Ginsberg said.

He said that a lot of the Hamas efforts and narratives began to be picked up by “far-left antisemitic communist extremists in the United States,” that brought this larger wave of antisemitism from abroad to U.S. social media.

Ginsberg said that a lot of the organization’s time is spent infiltrating antisemitic networks, tracing them and finding their avenues of finance so that they can be reported to local law enforcement and the FBI, keeping the community safe.

“I’m very proud that organizations like the Jewish Federations and the Community Security Network have been involved in what I call hard concrete operations in regard to training people. But the police around the United States have very few resources to understand how social media operates in inciting antisemitic violence in their own communities,” Ginsberg said.

But despite the challenges the community currently faces, Ginsberg is going to continue working for the safety and security of the community, especially as we enter election season and the proliferation of disinformation online becomes even more prevalent.

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