AJC Delegation Concludes Spain Visit

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.
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