New York Jewish Week
November 20, 2012
I read Gary Rosenblatt’s column about Jewish groups being behind the curve in waking up to the “new America” with a smile the day it appeared (“Behind The Curve On Grasping The New America,” Nov 16).
That happened to be the very day an American Jewish Committee group returned from Mexico City. Our delegation, 35 in number, was equally divided between AJC members and Mexican American leaders from across the country. My co-chair of the delegation was Henry Cisneros, former Clinton Administration Cabinet member. Others on the Mexican-American side included distinguished figures in politics, education, culture, labor, journalism, national security, and community activism.
Many have been our longtime partners on a range of domestic and foreign policy issues, from comprehensive immigration reform to the U.S.-Israel relationship. Several are alumni of AJC’s Project Interchange, which takes prominent non-Jews, from the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa to Israel to see the country for themselves, often for the very first time.
This is the third AJC “joint group” organized in recent years by our Latino and Latin American Institute (founded in 2005). The first two went to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Such trips serve to deepen mutual understanding and friendship with important American constituencies.
I could go on about our “Bridging America” program, funded by the Ford Foundation and focused on immigration and Latino-Jewish ties; our unprecedented 2011 national survey of Latino attitudes toward Jews and Israel (conducted by Latino Decisions and available at www.ajc.org); and other intergroup initiatives long in place — and not just built around the rapidly growing Latino population, but also, via our Belfer Center on American Pluralism, with African Americans, Indian Americans, Greek Americans, etc.
In other words, AJC has been quick out of the starting gates in responding to both the opportunities and challenges for the Jewish community of a rapidly changing American landscape.
AJC Executive Director Manhattan