June 27, 2019

Celebrating AJC NY’s Accomplishments

Capturing the Zeitgeist (spirit of the times) at AJC Global Forum 2019

From June 2-4, 2,500 people from over 50 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. for AJC Global Forum 2019, including over 200 AJC NY and 43 ACCESS NY (young adult) leaders. This year’s Global Forum was designed to capture the Zeitgeist (spirit of the times), to wake up the nation’s capital to a worldwide wave of anti-Semitism and to remind all Americans that the ideals that unite us are stronger than those that divide us.

Highlights included:

  • The announcement of the formation of the Congressional Black-Jewish Caucus of the U.S. CongressThe Black-Jewish Caucus will assemble politicians from both communities and both sides of the aisle to learn from each other and to advocate for joint concerns.

    The Caucus will:

    • Raise awareness of each community’s sensitivities and needs, in Congress and around the country.
    • Provide resources to members of Congress to empower them to bring African-American and Jewish communities together, combating stereotypes and hate, and showcasing commonalities.

On a local level, AJC NY and Attorney General Letitia James convened a Black-Jewish Clergy Roundtable to discuss our communal history, today’s challenging environment, and how we can continue to work together to strengthen the fabric of our society.

  • We were proud to hear from our own representative hailing from Brooklyn, S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, during Global Forum, following remarks by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Jeffries gave a special shout-out to AJC NY, as we have maintained a warm relationship with him since his time in the New York State Assembly. In speaking about the Black-Jewish Caucus, Jeffries shared: “I’m proud of the fact that, yesterday, with AJC’s leadership, we are launching the Black-Jewish Caucus in the United States House of Representatives and I will be a proud founding member of that effort. We’re thankful for that. We’ve stood together, year after year, decade after decade, century into century. We will continue to stand together forever.”
  • The AJC 2019 Great Debate on the topic “Is American Global Leadership in Decline?” with Michael Anton, former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Trump; and Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress; and moderated by Jason Isaacson, AJC Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer.
  • A panel discussion Addressing the Rise of Global Anti-Semitism, during which government leaders discussed whether enough is being done to combat growing anti-Semitism. This conversation was moderated by AJC Europe Director Simone Rodan-Benzaquen and featured: Elan Carr, the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism; John Mann, British Member of Parliament for the Labour Party; and Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency.
  • Greetings from more than half of the 2020 presidential candidates.
  • Advocacy in Action dinners with ambassadors and high-level diplomats from 40 countries, and 140 Face-to-Face advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill, where we urged members of Congress to join the newly established Black-Jewish Congressional Caucus and the Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism, and to co-sponsor the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act to provide tools to support a comprehensive U.S. strategy in the region this support would strengthens regional energy partnerships, ends the arms embargo on Cyprus, and holds Turkey accountable.

Click here for a complete review of all the highlights from Global Forum 2019

AJC’s Groundbreaking Community of Conscience

With an image of the Lincoln Memorial displayed in the ballroom at the Washington Hilton (as hail prevented us from being at to the memorial as planned), AJC unveiled its groundbreaking Community of Conscience initiative. In a moving ceremony, AJC CEO David Harris spoke about the need for us to join together to stand united against hate and violence, and to celebrate pluralism and diversity. More than a dozen religious and community leaders joined AJC in unveiling the declaration of principles, including Dr. Bernice King, the daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and Pastor Eric Manning of the Emanuel Church in Charleston. With President Truman’s and Dr. King’s historic addresses on race and hatred in America in mind, the Community of Conscience gathered to honor the towering legacy of these visionary American leaders and forge a path for our nation based on a shared commitment to unite against hate and to promote pluralism. The ceremony culminated with a moving egalitarian rendition of America the Beautiful by New York Rabbi, Angela Buchdahl, Central Synagogue. Watch milestone moments from the Community of Conscience event.

We invite all who share our concern for the future of this great country, our conviction that it must overcome its challenges, and our resolve to honor the American spirit, to join us in the Community of Conscience. Add your name to join the Community of Conscience and in support of the statement of principles.

For decades AJC NY has served as a bridge-builder in our multi-cultural and ethnically diverse city. We look forward to continuing to build upon these principles outlined as part of a local AJC NY Community of Conscience.

Celebrating AJC NY’s Accomplishments

Earlier this month, both ACCESS NY and AJC NY held their Annual Meetings. Both were opportunities to showcase our work throughout this past year and to welcome new board members to the AJC NY mischpacha (family).

ACCESS NY expanded upon the Community of Conscience, and welcomed our Muslim, Latino, Asian, and Black ACCESS partners to join together for a panel discussion entitled Standing United – Coalition Building to Promote Democratic Values. The panelists discussed the importance of strengthening relationships and combating hate, extending community building beyond the circles in which we normally associate with, and tackling pressing topics, like immigration and intersectional justice.

During AJC NY’s Annual Meeting, we celebrated and highlighted our 75th anniversary as a region. Click here to see a video of our accomplishments. We were delighted to welcome back former AJC Goldman Fellow Michael Snow, who is now Director of Jewish Affairs for Governor Cuomo. Snow presented AJC NY with a proclamation from the Governor’s office on the occasion of our 75th anniversary.

Participants were also treated to a lively dialogue between author Abby Pogrebin and journalist McKay Coppins, on The Intersection of Faith and Politics in the U.S. The conversation focused on the current political climate and the role that religion and faith play in people’s views of world affairs and the administration’s governance. No celebration is complete without a champagne toast and cake, as well as gratitude for our current and past leaders who have who laid the foundation and paved the way for the work of our region.

Green Light for New York’s Immigrants

This year, AJC NY advocated for the Green Light New York bill, which was signed into law last week by Governor Cuomo. The bill is consistent with AJC’s historic commitment to supporting fair and just immigration policy. Green Light New York expands access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, which improves public safety, our state’s economy (estimated at $57 million dollars a year) and promotes greater trust with authorities. AJC NY played an important role reaching out to key NYS Senators to educate them on the merits of the bill. This access is what makes AJC NY such an effective advocacy organization. Read more about the bill here.