American Jewish Committee

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The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is an international think tank and advocacy organization formed to “combat anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, promote pluralism and shared democratic values, support Israel’s quest for peace and security, advocate for energy independence, and strengthen Jewish life” [1]. Founded in 1906 after a wave of anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia, it is among the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations in the United States [2]. It currently has local chapters in 32 American cities, 8 overseas offices, and 27 international partnerships with Jewish communal institutions around the world. This organization currently focuses on strengthening ties between Israel and the United States, promoting the Civil Rights of marginalized groups, promoting energy independence for the United States, and combating anti-Semitism by strengthening Jewish life. AJC has since headed advocacy campaigns on issues such as Holocaust denial, church-state relations, and ending the U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Jeffrey Blankfort, a long time critic of the Israel Lobby, reports that three organizations are responsible for influencing the political scene primarily in the United States. AIPAC, AJC and the ADL work respectively on (a) influencing Congress, the (b) foreign policy establishment and (c) monitoring local critics (including spying). AJC operates as the "State Department" of the lobby, focusing on influencing foreign leaders and their organizations.

AJC engages in the following activities:

  1. Talking or lobbying political leaders
  2. Organizing political action (for voting in Congress, European Parliament, etc.) For this purpose, the AJC established the TransAtlantic Institute in Brussels.
  3. Assist Jewish communities across the world to form more effective lobbying and policy-influencing capabilities. See list of "International Partners" below.
  4. Coalition building (It organizes/helps other groups, e.g., Hispanic-Americans or Indian-Americans, to become more effective lobbyists, and they seek to obtain political advantage from such alliances).
  5. Send journalists, student leaders, opinion formers, etc., to Israel for a coordinated program educating them on the Israeli perspective. For this purpose, the AJC established Project Interchange, a dedicated organization to influence key opinion makers.
  6. Create pressure groups to affect organizations that are seen as hostile to Israel, e.g., UN Watch is such a AJC-instigated project based in Geneva.
  7. Create organizations to lobby and influence large constituencies about Israel.
  8. Production of propaganda to smear those opposed to Israel, e.g., Hezbollah.

While AIPAC is usually touted to be the main pro-Israeli lobby, or "The Lobby", in reality this is an erroneous appreciation of the organization. AIPAC's role is mostly related to influencing the U.S. political scene, but other organizations, e.g., AJC do the same. Some of their activities overlap, and on occasion the responsibilities are shifted from one to the other. For example, when AIPAC became notorious due to the spying scandals some of its functions were passed to the other organizations to allay public attention. The leadership of these organizations meet on a monthly basis.[3]


Funding

This organization is funded by contributions and grants, which are used for unrestricted operating expenses, special projects, building improvements and endowments [5].

In 2006, the Committee received a $2 million grant from the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation for their work over the next ten years. [4]

Overseas offices/international affiliates

The AJC operates a network of affiliated organizations:

Affiliated or AJC-instigated projects

International partners

Principals

--AJC Principals (July 5, 2006)-- Contains members found in other listings too.

AJC experts

Anti-Semitism

Energy Independence

Green Building Efforts

International Affairs

  • Jason Isaacson, director of the office of government and international affairs
  • Aaron Jacob, associate director of international affairs (Hebrew)
  • Rabbi Andrew Baker, director of international Jewish affairs
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi, director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute (French, Hebrew and Italian)
  • Deidre Berger, director of Berlin office (German)
  • Barry Jacobs, director of strategic studies (Greek)

Intergroup Relations

  • Ann Schaffer, director of the Belfer Center for American Pluralism

Interreligious Affairs

  • Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs (Hebrew)
  • Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, U.S. director for interreligious affairs

Israel

Jewish Life

  • Steven Bayme, director of the Contemporary Jewish Life (Hebrew)
  • Rabbi Noam Marans, associate director of Contemporary Jewish Life (Hebrew)

Latin American and Latino Affairs

Legal Affairs and Domestic Policy

Russian Jewish Community

  • Sam Kliger, director of Russian Jewish Community Affairs (Russian)

Terrorism and Extremism

  • Yehudit Barsky, director of division on Middle East and International Terrorism (Hebrew and Arabic)

United Nations

  • Felice Gaer, director of the Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
  • Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch
  • Jason Issacson, director of government and international affairs
  • Aaron Jacob, associate director of international affairs (Hebrew)

Young Leadership

  • Rebecca Neuwirth, director of ACCESS: AJC’s New Generation Program and special projects, (German)

Source

Contact details

National Headquarters:

P.O. Box 705
New York, NY 10150
USA
Phone: (212) 751-4000
Email: pr AT ajc.org
Web: www.ajc.org

Offices in:

  • Brussels, Belgium (The Transatlantic Institute)
  • Paris, France
  • Berlin, Germany (Lawrence & Lee Ramer Center for German-Jewish Relations)
  • Mumbai, India (Asia and Pacific Rim Institute)
  • Jerusalem, Israel (Beit Moses)
  • Rome, Italy (Associazione della Stampa Estera in Italia)
  • Warsaw, Poland
  • Geneva, Switzerland (United Nations Watch)

Resources

AJC Weekly News Updates

The News Updates are a valuable source of information on: the personnel involved, the contacts, the coalition building, the networks, the current issues that are important to the organization, and the lobbying effort. The News Updates are held in the Cork PSC PIWP database, and the links below take one to an abstract, comment, and links to related topics and people -- these aid in the research of this organization. See lists here:

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

  • San Francisco Examiner Article: "Anti-Semitic and other religious attacks: They can't happen here right?" [12]
  • Link Between Anti-Semitism and Racism [13]
  • Anti-Semitism in America [14]
  • The American Jewish Committee [15]

References

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. James Petras, The Power of Israel in the United States, 2007. Long discussion about the nature of some of these organizations.
  4. [3]
  5. American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Committee starts Africa Institute, ImpactWire, 11 April 2006.
  6. American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Committee starts Africa Institute, ImpactWire, 11 April 2006.
  7. American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Committee starts Africa Institute, ImpactWire, 11 April 2006.
  8. [4]