December 15, 2016 -- New York -- AJC CEO David Harris issued the following statement:
A media report suggesting that AJC was "one of four major Jewish groups" refusing to attend an event held in Washington by the Embassy of Azerbaijan -- because of the venue at a Trump-owned hotel -- is untrue. AJC did, in fact, attend.
While I could not be in Washington yesterday to participate personally, of course we would want AJC to be represented due to our respect for the host -- the Embassy of Azerbaijan.
As I know from many visits, Azerbaijan is a country that has extended a welcome mat to the Jewish people since time immemorial and, as illustrated by Prime Minister Netanyahu's recent visit to Baku, has been a close friend and partner of Israel. Azerbaijan has also played a key role at important moments in advancing U.S. interests in the region.
Yesterday's reception to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, a powerful symbol of the age-old quest for religious freedom, was a most thoughtful and welcome gesture on the part of our Azerbaijani friends.