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American Jewish Committee

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Not to be confused with American Jewish Congress.
American Jewish Committee
Motto Global Jewish Advocacy
Formation 1906
Type Pro-Israel, Jewish supremacism
Headquarters New York, NY
Executive Director
David Harris
Key people
Robert Elman - President
Website www.ajc.org/

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) was founded in 1906 by American Jews who were ostensibly concerned about pogroms aimed at Russian Jews. The group was the forerunner to the American organization Anti Defamation League and has a similar agenda of collecting information on their enemies within the host nation. Another purpose of the organization is to silence the critics of Israel.

The group has local chapters in 32 American cities, 8 overseas offices, and 27 international partnerships with similar Jewish organizations around the world.

Louis B. Marshall served as president from 1912 until 1929. Under his tenure, AJC helped create in 1914 the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, established to aid Jewish victims of World War I, and later World War II .

In the 1940s the AJC was instrumental in obtaining indictments against American nationalists and German national who were opposed to FDR's war efforts. The trial would become know as the infamous Great Sedition Trial of 1944.

In the 1970s, AJC spearheaded the fight to pass anti-boycott legislation to counter the Arab League boycott of Israel. In 1975, AJC became the first Jewish organization to campaign against the UN's "Zionism is Racism" resolution.

In December 1987, AJC's Washington representative, David A. Harris, who would later become the organization's executive director, organized the Freedom Sunday Rally on behalf of Soviet Jewry. 250,000 people attended the D.C. rally, which demanded that the Soviet government allow Jewish emigration from the USSR.

In 1992, Japan, citing AJC pressure, reversed its policy of supporting the Arab League boycott of Israel.


In an essay, “Progressive” Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism by Alvin H. Rosenfeld, published on its web site,[1] the AJC attacked Jewish critics of Israel by name, particularly the editors and contributors to "Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" (Grove Press), a 2003 collection of essays edited by Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon. The essay accused them of supporting a rise in anti-Semitism, and of participating in an "onslaught against Zionism and the Jewish State".[2]

In an editorial, The Forward called the essay "a shocking tissue of slander" whose intent was to "turn Jews against liberalism and silence critics".[3] Richard Cohen remarked that the essay "has given license to the most intolerant and narrow-minded of Israel's defenders so that, as the AJC concedes in my case, any veering from orthodoxy is met with censure or, from someone like Reinharz, the most powerful of all post-Holocaust condemnations—anti-Semite—is diluted beyond recognition".[4]

The essay was also criticized by rabbi Michael Lerner[5] and in op-eds in The Guardian[6] and The Boston Globe,[7] where Stanley I. Kutler noted that the AJC itself had opposed the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine until 1946.


See also


  1. Alvin H. Rosenfeld (2006). ""Progressive" Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism" (PDF). American Jewish Committee. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. Patricia Cohen (2007-01-31). ""Essay Linking Liberal Jews and Anti-Semitism Sparks a Furor"". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  3. ""Infamy"". The Forward. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  4. Richard Cohen (2007-02-06). ""Cheapening a Fight Against Hatred"". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  5. Michael Lerner (2007-02-02). "There Is No New Anti-Semitism". The Boston Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  6. Matthew Yglesias (2007-02-08). ""Are we all anti-semites now?"". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  7. Stanley I. Kutler (2007-02-07). ""All critics of Israel aren't anti-Semites"". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-02-08.