|October 10, 2012 -- Madrid -- An AJC leadership delegation
has concluded a three-day visit to Madrid.
The group was in the Spanish capital for a series of
high-level meetings with government officials and consultations with the
country's Jewish community.
The group's agenda was highlighted by a 75-minute meeting
with President Mariano Rajoy at the Moncloa Palace, as well as separate
meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice, and
Minister of Interior.
A dinner hosted in honor of the AJC delegation by former
Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio was also attended by the Minister of
Education, Culture and Sport and the Minister of Industry, Energy,
Transportation and Tourism.
"We came to Madrid with three objectives," said
AJC Executive Director David Harris. "First, to better understand the
current challenges -- and they are significant -- facing Spain, while
expressing our concern and friendship. Second, to strengthen still further our
enduring bond with the Jewish community, which is profoundly affected by those
challenges as well.And third, to
discuss AJC's priority issues in the global arena, chief among them the threat
posed by Iran's nuclear program. We were warmly received and had productive
discussions throughout our stay."
AJC other's meetings in Madrid included sessions with (i)
the American and Israeli ambassadors; (ii) a roundtable on strategic challenges
with Members of Parliament, scholars and policy analysts; (iii) discussions with
top journalists; and (iv) a lunch at the American Embassy, chaired by
Ambassador Alan Solomont, with 15 representatives of human rights, religious,
and minority communities to discuss models of pluralism and AJC's extensive
experience in the field.
Isaac Querub Caro, President of the Federation of Jewish
Communities in Spain, joined the delegation for the meetings.
"We appreciate this visit a great deal because we
consider AJC our best partner," Querub said. "While AJC is an
American-based organization, its diplomatic skills and wisdom advance the
Jewish agenda in Spain and worldwide. Together, we will work on several
projects -- with the government and with Centro Sefarad Israel [a foundation to
foster closer ties between Spain and the Jewish world] -- to improve the
well-being of Jews and enhance ties among Spain, the U.S., and Israel."
AJC's activities in Spain are coordinated under the auspices
of the agency's Latino and Latin American Institute, headed by director Dina
Siegel Vann, with assistance from AJC's Brussels-based Transatlantic Institute,
directed by Daniel Schwammenthal.
Spanish officials, civic leaders, and Jewish representatives
regularly attend the Institute's annual gathering in Miami and AJC Global Forum
in Washington, D.C.