Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the American Jewish Committee (AJC) condemns and pressures Israeli government officials when they brag about their history of pressuring Israel on their website. One wonders how many AJC donors are aware of AJC’s positions in this regard. Given AJC’s roots and history — From opposing the formation of the Jewish state, previous opposition to the Jewish right of return and their continued refusal until today to define themselves as Zionists – one wonders how far today’s leadership is from previous historic AJC ideologies.
Perhaps with rampant American Jewish assimilation, one may surmise that the AJC, which maintains nearly $100 Million dollars in assets could do better things with “American Jewish” money than criticize Israel – but maybe not if one reviews their history. What isn’t widely known about the AJC is that one of their defining documents and ideologies is based upon “the Ben Gurion-Blaustein Exchange”, which insisted that “the State of Israel spoke only for its own citizens, and Jews in other countries had no political obligation to the State of Israel.” The AJC lobbied and pushed for these principles (called an “Exchange of Views”) which were signed by Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and the President of the AJC (Jacob Blaustein), to clearly govern the relationship between Israel & American Jewry. And one imagines for AJC they remain intact. As a condition, the AJC agreed to drop their historic anti-Zionist position. (One imagines many AJC donors shuddering at a Jewish organization standing proudly at their non or Anti-Zionist position.)
On AJC’s website remains their proud statement that they achieved “..the only example of an even partially successful exercise of pressure in which Diaspora leaders operated directly upon the Israeli government, rather than in alliance with a section of the Israeli political or bureaucratic elite…. This is the only case in which Israeli leaders adopted a policy under Diaspora pressure without any significant segment of the Israeli elite being sympathetic to that policy.” To brag about pressuring and weakening Israel is something an American Jewish organization should be proud of ?
Its part and parcel of their history – In 1943, the organization published a “Statement of Views” which objected to Zionism and attempts to establish a Jewish state. As the then AJC President proclaimed “In the United States as in all other countries, Jews like all others of their citizens are nationals of those nations and of no other; there can be no political identification of Jews outside Palestine with whatever government may there be instituted.” They withdrew from the American Jewish Conference, which were the first organized efforts of the American Jewish community against Nazi Germany. At the time, Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the Zionist Organization of America said “the American Jewish Committee, by the decision of its executive committee to withdraw from the American Jewish Conference on account of its Palestine resolution, is taking a step which would willfully retard the most promising effort in a generation to achieve unity in the ranks of American Jewry.” In a subsequent book, “The Speech, and Its Content”, it was written that “The AJC has long regarded as undemocratic the preferred legal status given to Jews under the Nationality Law, which provides that a Jewish immigrant automatically acquires Israel citizenship on arrival in Israel, unless he signs a formal declaration refusing it.”
The AJC continues to pressure the Israeli government throughout history to benefit their interests. Through today, they adhere to a policy which is not favorable to Aliya, and hold positions which are opposed by American Jews and Israelis in advocating for a Palestinian state, endlessly and regardless of the price to Israel. Throughout its history, the AJC has adopted uber-liberal positions which are often at odds with the masses of American Jewry. When the AJC and their President David Harris issue press releases proclaiming to speak in the name of American Jewry, their past and present positions should be kept in mind.
Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur, author & philanthropist. Follow him on Google plus here: https://plus.google.com/101626477323684309698