The rise and the mainstreaming of antisemitism at high levels in politics and media is what keeps 68-year old Craig Newmark up at night.
Newmark, the founder of the legendary classified ad website Craigslist, spoke with The Jerusalem Post’s 10th annual Diplomatic Conference on Tuesday about his personal history creating the site, and his latest project, Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
“Israel meant a great deal to me as a youth, as a youngster growing up in New Jersey in the ‘50s and ‘60s,” Newmark said. “I recall feeling a lot of pride during and then the aftermath of the Six Day War. When I was in Sunday school, I was a chnoon (Hebrew for “nerd”), but my teachers helped me define what my values were.”
Regarding his philanthropic activities, said he is focused on “getting good information and protecting the country against misinformation and helping people counter harassment.”
“Those are fundamental issues, but they’re all about repairing the world, or ‘tikkun olam’ (repairing the world). These are the values instilled in me very early in school by Mr. and Mrs. Levin. They helped me understand that I should treat people like I want to be treated. They helped me understand the ninth commandment about not bearing false witness, of providing bad information. And that formed my spiritual direction.”Newmark founded Craigslist when he moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s.
“A lot of people online, even in ‘94 and ‘95, helped me settle into this city. And I realized that I felt a need for greater social connection. I started a simple mailing list about events that sometimes merged arts and technology. I just kept plugging away, sending more and more things to that mailing list. And that worked. It connected people, and it felt pretty good. It asserted values of neighborliness, and that worked for me.”