Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The Global Reach of AJC for Over 100 Years

May 8, 2012 12:47 pm 0 comments

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (left) and Weekly Standard founder William Kristol shake hands at the American Jewish Committee 2012 Global Forum in Washington, DC, where they discussed the upcoming presidential election. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

The American Jewish Committee’s 2012 Global Forum, held May 2-4 in Washington, DC, emphasized the international outreach and diplomatic interaction AJC has developed for more than a century, informing attendees about past results and educating them about current and future approaches.

Below is a synopsis of the AJC forum’s worldwide reach:


Antonio Patriota, foreign minister of Brazil, joined AJC Executive Director David Harris at the forum’s opening program to emphasize Brazil’s desire to be “more fully responsible for engaging with every single country in a cooperative association.”

“Brazil has no enemies,” Patriota said. “We are a force for peace.”

While Patriota recalled that Brazil supported Israel’s independence in 1948, he made no excuses for his country’s support of the Palestinian Authority’s attempted Unilateral Declaration of Independence at the United Nations last September.


On May 3, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle noted that AJC was first Jewish organization to support German reunification following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Westerwelle said he is “proud that today German-Israeli ties are closer and stronger than ever. We are partners and friends because Israel is a vibrant democracy, the only full-fledged democracy in the region.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Photo: wiki commons.

“We will not remain silent when Israel is threatened or its legitimacy called into question,” he said. “We will stand up whenever Israel is unfairly singled out in multilateral fora. And we will denounce any incitement against the State of Israel and its right to exist.” He specifically cited the Iranian nuclear program, calling it a “dangerous, looming threat.”

“We cannot and will not accept an Iranian nuclear weapon,” Westerwelle said. “It would represent not only a threat to Israel but to the region as a whole. And it would undermine the global non-proliferation regime, a cornerstone of global security.”


Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis detailed the increasing number of diplomatic exchanges between Israeli and Cypriot leaders. She noted shared concern with Israel about Turkey’s regional ambitions.

“There is skepticism about Turkey’s true intentions, and whether Turkey is a stabilizing factor in the region,” said Kozakou-Marcoullis Turkey, adding that Turkey “appears keen on bullying its way into a position of hegemony in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.”

Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis. Photo: Nathan Morley.

Kozakou-Marcoullis noted that Cyprus assisted Jewish refugees during the Holocaust and worked with the Haganah to circumvent the British post-World War II blockade of Mandatory Palestine.

“We share a common sphere [with Israel]… dating back several millennia, or in the values of democracy and freedom, or even in the fact that we are both small countries, with few resources and facing many challenges,” she said.


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird unequivocally said, “Israel has no greater friend in the world today than Canada,” receiving a warm welcome from the more than 1,500 attendees.

“Our strong support for Israel is not about politics at home and certainly not about winning popularity contests at the United Nations,” said Baird. “It’s about values.”

Canada’s support of Israel, Baird said, is based on shared values of “freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

“We make it clear that Israel’s right to exist is non-negotiable,” he said. “We vote against one-sided and unfair resolutions,” he added, noting that his government “rejects the concept of moral relativism in international relations.”

Turning the discussion to energy independence, Baird reminded the audience that Canada has the third-largest oil reserves in the world. He spoke of Canada’s strong support of the somewhat controversial—in America—Keystone XL pipeline project. While extolling the benefits of the project, he engendered good-humored laughter from the audience when he characterized the pipeline as “all about the money…ah, many jobs” it would create.


When Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF (Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France) umbrella organization for the French Jewish community, was called to the podium, the specter of the tragedy in Toulouse was active in the room. Standing before photographs of those killed—Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two small sons, Aryeh and Gabriel, and the delicate picture of little Miriam Monsonego—he questioned how a man could grab a child by her hair, then shoot a bullet through her temple.

More than ever, he said, the French Jewish community will work “to strengthen the values of Judaism.” The room fell silent as a cantor intoned the solemn Kaddish prayer memorializing the dead.


AJC’s May 4 plenary juxtaposed U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Weekly Standard founder William Kristol in a debate about the upcoming American presidential election. Frank said President Barack Obama is a strong friend of Israel, citing the “unexpected victory” for Israel at the United Nations as a clear result of the Obama administration’s international lobbying.

“The notion that you are only a friend of Israel if you agree with everything Israel does is counterproductive,” Frank said.

Kristol countered, saying Republican Mitt Romney “will be more reliable than Obama” if elected. He contended that any positive results achieved by the Obama administration came only when it followed George W. Bush’s Israel policies. He criticized the current administration’s efforts to quell the Iranian nuclear program through diplomacy.

Frank, however, said the people at the Pentagon were engaged in “serious thinking” about Iran. Obama, he said, “has eliminated the concept of containment.”

“We are probably talking about the most serious military undertaking since Vietnam,” Frank said. “We must do careful planning in communication with all our Middle East allies. It is unfair for Israel to be asked to take on the burden of the military action.”

The Algemeiner newspaper delivers breaking news and insightful commentary from Israel, the Middle East and Jewish communities around the world | Host to an international Jewish interest blogger community covering Zionism, Israeli politics, Middle East security, terrorism, Jewish tradition, Jewish art, Jewish culture, Jewish music, Jewish activism, Jewish family and spirituality, interviews, profiles, features, video and much more. Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Israel Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel

    Jerry Seinfeld to Make Comedy Debut in Israel – Famed Jewish-American comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld is slated to make his comedic debut in Israel later this year. Seinfeld, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents from the Ukraine and Syria, will perform in Tel Aviv’s Mitvtachim Menorah Arena on Dec. 19 as part of a world tour. The comedian is most known for his enormously popular NBC sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from 1989-1998 and is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. […]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    New Video Shows American Kids Reviewing Israeli Food After Tasting Dishes for First Time (VIDEO)

    A new video circulating online shows eight American children reacting — mostly positively — to their first taste of the famed Israeli eggplant salad/dip, known in Hebrew as “salat hatzilim” and in other parts of the Levant as baba ganoush. The clip, created by, features the youngsters trying a variety of exotic dishes from other countries as well, such as Hawaiian poi, Colombian pork belly and Russian borscht. The Israeli delicacies served include schnitzel, slices of pita, hummus and the baba ganoush salad. “If someone […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Pioneers/Philanthropists ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit

    ‘Start-Up Nation’ Israel to Host Forbes Magazine Young Entrepreneurs Summit – Forbes magazine announced Tuesday that it will host its Under 30 EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Summit in Israel for the first time in April 2016. The conference is expected to bring together some 600 young entrepreneurs, with 200 from Europe, 200 from the U.S., and 200 from Israel. The summit has been hosted in Philadelphia for the past two years. It will include presentations, speeches, a pitch competition, and cultural immersion opportunities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →