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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

AJC News Update

American Jewish Committee News Update

Update 208  |  May 31, 2006

March with AJC in Israel Parade

To salute Israel in our centennial year, AJC will have a beautifully designed float in the annual New York “Salute to Israel” parade on June 4. AJC members and family in the New York area are welcome to join us in the march on Fifth Avenue. We will gather on Sunday at 12:30 pm, on West 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and then proceed uptown with our float. Following the parade, join us for a picnic in Central Park at Cedar Hill, near East 79th Street.

AJC Joins Pope in Auschwitz

Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s director of international Jewish affairs, participated in the meeting of international Jewish leaders and Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Auschwitz. While the Pope’s remarks at Auschwitz elicited mixed reactions in the Jewish community, Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs, who has known the Pope for more than 20 years, told the New York Times that “Jewish-Catholic relations anyway are no longer based upon our view of the past but on the nature of relations in the present.” While in Poland, Rabbi Baker also met privately with Poland’s new Foreign Minister, Anna Fotyga, and discussed anti-Semitism and the possibility of Polish law enforcement participating in the hate-crime training program sponsored by the OSCE and spearheaded by AJC security consultant Paul Goldenberg.

British Teachers Union to Boycott Israel

AJC expressed its outrage that the British-based National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) adopted a resolution supporting boycotts of Israeli professors and academic institutions. Click for news release. AJC is committed to assisting scholars and institutions who seek to challenge the NAFTHE resolution. Once again, AJC has opened an anti-boycott fund, as it did last year when the Association of University Teachers (AUT) initially adopted its resolution on Israel. At the time, we were proud to help the University of Haifa with its legal effort in response to the AUT action. Donate to the AJC Anti-Boycott Fund.

Indonesia Earthquake

AJC wrote to the Indonesian Government to express profound sorrow over the thousands of deaths caused by the earthquake, and to offer support in recovery and rebuilding. “Please know that as the people of Indonesia rebuild from the Yogyakarta earthquake, they will have the support and sincere good wishes of the American Jewish Committee,” wrote Gary Jacobs, chairman, and Jason Isaacson, director, of AJC’s Asia and Pacific Rim Institute, in a letter to Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat, Indonesia’s ambassador to the U.S.

Berlin Office Hosts Members of U.S. Congress

Deidre Berger, director of AJC’s Berlin Office, escorted a group of 12 U.S. Senators and their wives to the Holocaust Memorial in the center of Berlin. Among the participants, Senators Gordon Smith (Oregon) and George Voinovich (Ohio) praised the AJC presence in Germany. Also visiting Berlin is Congressman Robert Wexler, for whom the AJC Berlin Office is hosting a dinner with public opinion leaders.

Latino Leaders’ Supportive Statement on Israel, U.S. Foreign Policy

A group of Latino leaders in the U.S. who participated recently in a Project Interchange seminar in Israel has issued a statement declaring their commitment to engage in U.S. foreign policy in support of Israel. “We returned from Israel strengthened in the conviction that the growing relationship between the Latino and Jewish communities in both domestic and international affairs holds great promise for both sides,” says the statement. “We believe that Latinos and Jews can jointly contribute to the shaping of U.S. foreign policy.” The statement is believed to be the first time a group of Latino leaders has spoken out on international issues. Click for statement.

AJC Congratulates Prime Minister Olmert on U.S. Visit

In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, AJC expressed admiration for the Israeli leader’s address before a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. “Your eloquent address spoke to the core values underlying the U.S.-Israel relationship, demonstrated Israel’s solidarity with America in the defense of freedom and democracy, and identified common threats to both nations and a common agenda for regional stability – and was, appropriately, received with enthusiasm,” wrote AJC President E. Robert Goodkind and Executive Director David A. Harris. Click for letter.

Radio Message: Shared Values, Shared Goals

The message of shared values and shared goals in U.S.-Israel relations was the centerpiece of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to Washington last week, observes American Jewish Committee Executive Director David A. Harris in his national radio message on the CBS radio network. Click to listen.

Mideast Briefing: Palestinian Internecine Conflict

In his weekly analysis, Eran Lerman, director of AJC’s Israel/Middle East Office in Jerusalem, assesses the implications of escalating tensions between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza, and the destabilizing and highly dangerous role played by Iran. Click to read.

Immigration Reform Legislation

AJC commended the Senate for passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The measure seeks to replace the existing flawed and chaotic system with one that regulates immigration in a safe, orderly, and legal manner. Although the bill still incorporates some troubling provisions in our judgment, the Senate sought the appropriate balance of enhancing our national security while protecting those who are most vulnerable in our society. Click for news release.

Africa Institute Explores Africa-Israel Ties

AJC’s new Africa Institute co-sponsored a conference, “African Diasporas: Flows Across Time and Space,” with Hebrew and Tel Aviv universities. The conference in Israel was attended by African Studies academics from Cameroon, France, Ghana, Israel, Italy, South Africa, and the U.S. Africa Institute leaders also met in Israel with many African ambassadors, scholars who specialize in African affairs, and organizations that design training programs and agricultural projects for Africa.

Transatlantic Institute on New Italian Government

“Italy under Romano Prodi - A New Foreign Policy?” was the latest in a series of programs hosted by AJC’s Transatlantic Institute in Brussels. Speakers included Senator Antonio Polito, member of the Italian Senate for L’Ulivo (Centre-Left) and former editor of the Italian daily Il Riformista; Maurizio Molinari, U.S. correspondent for the Italian daily La Stampa; and David Hine, lecturer in politics at Christ Church College, Oxford University. Emanuele Ottolenghi, lecturer in Israeli Studies at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University, and columnist for Il Riformista , moderated the discussion, which focused on Italian foreign policy regarding transatlantic relations and Middle East affairs.

UN Watch Director Briefs Brussels Event

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, AJC’s Geneva-based affiliate, addressed a program on the new UN Human Rights Council co-sponsored by AJC’s Transatlantic Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, part of an ongoing series of jointly sponsored events in Brussels. The overflow audience included senior diplomats, EU human rights officials, NATO representatives, and leaders of non-governmental organizations.

Racism, Xenophobia, and Anti-Semitism in Russia

AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights hosted a workshop on combating hate crimes, extremism, racism and xenophobia in Russia. Featured speakers were Russian human rights activists Arkady Leibovsky and Kirill Babichenko who both just completed the 2006 Sakharov Fellowship at Harvard University. Attending the program at AJC were human rights activists, Russia experts, members of the JBI Administrative Council, and AJC staff members. Over the last year, there has been an upsurge of racist and xenophobic attacks in Russia.

AJC ACCESS Featured in State Department Publication

The U.S. Department of State electronic journal, “U.S. Society and Values,”which showcases inspirational examples of Americans and their community service projects, and is intended for foreign audiences, features in its latest issue the AJC ACCESS relief trip to New Orleans in February. Click to view the journal. The ACCESS trip is featured on page 37.

In the Media

The Financial Times published a lead letter by David Harris regarding a viciously anti-Israel op-ed by Tony Judt. Click to read.

The New York Times and Time magazine quoted Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs, on the Pope's visit to Auschwitz. Rosen also appeared on Israel TV to discuss the visit.

The Washington Post published a letter by Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, on the intolerant teachings in Saudi textbooks.

The Boston Globe extensively quoted Larry Lowenthal, director of AJC’s Boston Chapter, in an article on the chapter’s German-Jewish dialogue, which for more than 13 years has focused on discussing the Holocaust and memory.

The New York Post quoted David Harris in a story on a British university teachers’ association decision to boycott Israel.

AJC’s 100th anniversary gala in New York was featured with color photos in the New York Sun. The New York Daily News also reported on the event.

The Chicago Jewish News reported on Chicagoans Howard and Barbara Gilbert’s meeting with Pope Benedict as part of the AJC leadership delegation in March.

The Russian-language Forward devoted an entire page to reprinting David Harris’s address to the Russian Jewish Leadership Conference, which took place in Washington during the weekend following the 100th Annual Meeting.

The New York Jewish Week quoted extensively Ellen Israelson, director of AJC’s Long Island Chapter, in an article on the chapter’s leadership on immigration issues and launching of the Latino-Jewish Council of Long Island.

Please contact Kenneth Bandler, AJC's Director of Communications,
at with any questions or comments.
© 2006 American Jewish Committee

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On Guard - ADL Security Report June 2006

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Summer Camp Safety
School will soon be out of session, and many children will be attending summer camps. Security is vital for Jewish-sponsored camps. Parents, children and camp counselors need to learn precautionary steps to ensure a safe summer.

Physical Security
When the term “safety” is mentioned at summer camps, images of first aid kits and pool life guards often come to mind. If the camp is run by a Jewish organization, parents and counselors must be aware that Jewish children can be potential targets. Provisions must be made to guarantee their protection.

Sleepaway Camps
Sleepaway camps have all the challenges of day camps, multiplied by the fact that their responsibility extends 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that they are often located in remote settings. Given the special nature of sleepaway camps, there are many security concerns to bear in mind.

Information Protection Tips
  1. All data pertaining to campers, employees, their families and their summer schedules should be treated as very sensitive information and kept in a secure and locked location.
  2. If the camp uses the Web to communicate with parents, password protection should be employed.
  3. While it is understandable that camps wish to post as much information as possible on their Web sites, they should remember that once data is on the Website it is impossible ever to “erase” that information from the Internet.
Day Camps
Factors to Consider:
Children are outside more often and for longer periods of time than usual
More field trips may be planned at summer camps than at school
Pickup and drop off times are likely to be crowded
Other uses of the facility may be occurring simultaneously with camp

Did You Know?
The Union for Reform Judaism owns and operates 17 summer camps in the U.S. and Canada
There are 130 non-profit Jewish overnight camps across North America
An estimated 50,000 kids attend Jewish summer camps annually

©2006 Anti-Defamation League. All rights reserved.

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