“Israel is part of who I am,” announced Emily Austin, a Jewish college student and social media activist who was tapped to judge the Miss Universe contest in New Orleans last week.

By United with Israel Staff

Emily Austin wears a number of hats, ranging from Hofstra University student to staunchly pro-Israel online activist.

The social media juggernaut took on a new role last week, serving as one of seven judge at the Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans during the 71st edition of the annual event.

Austin is the daughter of Israeli immigrants to the U.S. and is currently serving as an intern at the Israeli Mission to the United Nations, a role she stepped into after consistently standing up for Israel online.

“I felt obligated to be someone who educated others about the conflict. Call it ego, call it pride — I don’t care,” Austin told The Algemeiner in November. “But I eased my way into it. My followers follow me because I love sports. I don’t want to inundate them with content about Israel, but they also need to understand that Israel is a part of who I am.”

As her comments referenced, Austin is pursuing a career in sports journalism, but she never loses sight of the bigger picture and the importance of spreading the truth about the Jewish state.

And Austin’s platform is impressive: she has over a million Instagram followers and half a million on TikTok, in addition to her professional modeling work.

She also produced a web series called “Daily Vibes” featuring star athletes, which gained traction during the coronavirus pandemic.

As a high-profile, openly pro-Israel Jewish figure on social media, Austin has faced a barrage of antisemitic hate online, in addition to hurtful comments in real life. Austin told The Algemeiner she “got a lot of hateful DM’s [direct messages]” over her defense of Israel in its most recent conflict with Palestinian terror groups in Gaza.

“People called me ‘Zionist pig,’ ‘children murderer,’ — I don’t even have to say how nasty it got. But at the same time so many also reached out to thank me for being a voice for the Jewish people,” she added.

“I make sure to at least once a week post something like statistic on antisemitism, and during the Kyrie Irving episode, I tweeted out that he has more followers than there are Jews in the world, and I don’t know why people hated that, but they did,” Austin said. “People said I’m racist because of it. And I don’t even know how to combat that allegation. I try not to let it hurt my feelings, but it does. I never would want all of my Black friends to read a comment like that and doubt my integrity or care for them.”

“The truth is that he [Irving] hurt the Jewish people and spread disinformation,” she said. “So, he has to be a man, own his faults, own his mistakes, and just like he publicly, maybe accidentally, promoted a book that spewed hate and propaganda, he can publicly apologize. The fact that he wouldn’t really bothered me.”

Austin made the comments prior to Irving’s belated apology.

Austin concluded, “I love sports, I’m obsessed with it. I love being a bridge between the fans and the athletes. I have so much respect for them because I used to be one, but I’m also very proud of my Jewish identity and who I am.”

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