AJC’s Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Center for American Pluralism
The Belfer Center advances the fundamental values of diversity and democracy to assure America’s vision as a nation where Jews and all peoples can flourish with mutual understanding and respect.
What We Believe
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called it the "inescapable network of mutuality," - the fact that in our increasingly diverse America no single ethnic or religious minority can succeed independently. As the new century has brought rapid demographic change and a deepening cultural and socio-economic divide, we need to strengthen a democratic pluralistic America and strengthen that sense of mutuality. AJC believes that this is the best guarantor of the security of the well being of the Jewish people, and that it is our responsibility, as citizens and as Jews, to assure that this nation continues to embrace and draw vitality from her diversity. We see the well being of the Jewish community as linked to the well being of America as a whole and look towards Judaism’s humanitarian tradition and America’s historic call to liberty and equality as the foundation for our work.
What we do
We establish and maintain constructive relationships with leading ethnic, national, and religious groups in the U.S., and support our AJC chapters in this work as well. These honest engagements move us beyond easy cordiality to a profound understanding of one another’s issues and priorities that produces important results.
First, on matters affecting the Jewish community, we receive a fair hearing and often expressions of support that positively shape public opinion. Secondly, working in coalition, we strengthen advocacy efforts in support of public policy that serves our mutual interests.
Why our work is critical today
As the U.S. grows more diverse and issues become more complex and often contentious, it is critical that our voice not be lost in the enlarged American chorus.
Sustained, informed, honest dialogue—the work of the Belfer Center—keeps us in the game and helps us achieve these imperatives:
EngagingAmerica: A comprehensive training program for “domestic diplomacy” to develop and support AJC staff and lay leaders in the art, process, and outcomes of building interethnic and interreligious dialogues and partnerships. This program is enhanced by a web resource for practitioners.
Intergroup Leadership Retreats: These provide a unique opportunity for AJC and ethnic group leaders to learn about one another’s communities, history, culture and core concerns, as the basis for future joint advocacy.
Ethnic Advocacy Workshops: Drawing on the learned experience of the organized Jewish community in America, AJC offers full day workshops for emerging immigrant groups in organizational development, political advocacy, and communal relations.
Citizenship Swearing-In Ceremonies: More than 5,000 new citizens from around the U.S. have participated in these events, sponsored by AJC to emphasize the values of pluralism and democracy, celebrate the contributions of immigrants, and demonstrate Jewish commitment to welcoming new Americans and supporting equal opportunity.
Project Interchange Ethnic Seminars: In an effort to build genuine understanding of Israeli society and its quest for peace, American ethnic leaders from government, media, academia, and public service receive an intense and candid exposure to Israel in this program.
The Belfer Center enjoys constructive relationships with many of the nation’s leading ethnic and civil rights organizations, among them:
American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin
American Islamic Congress
Cuban American National Council
India Abroad Center for Political Awareness
Indian American Forum for Political Education
Islamic Supreme Council
Japanese American Citizens’ League
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
League of United Latin American Citizens
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
National Council of La Raza
National Federation of Indian-American Associations
National Immigration Forum
National Urban League
Organization of Chinese Americans
The Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Center for American Pluralism is an institute of the American Jewish Committee.
Milestones: 100 Years of Intergroup Work
African-American Jewish Relations: An AJC History: This timeline demonstrates that Jews and African-Americans have worked together in years past, together and separately, to oppose hate, racism, discrimination, and segregation - advocating for civil rights reforms so that our nation might fulfill its promise of liberty and equal rights for all.