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Harris is one of the Jewish people’s leading advocates and most eloquent
spokesmen. The Executive Director of AJC since 1990, he travels the globe
meeting with world leaders to advance the well-being of Israel, combat
anti-Semitism, monitor the condition of Jewish communities, and promote
intergroup and interreligious understanding.
the highlights of his work, he was centrally involved in the emigration of over
one million Jews from the Soviet Union and was described by The Washington Post as “one of the
leading spokesmen” for the Soviet Jewry movement. In the course of this work,
he was twice detained by Soviet authorities and once expelled from the country.
He was asked by the Jewish community to serve as the national coordinator for
the historic Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jewry, the 1987 demonstration in
Washington that drew over 250,000 participants.
Harris also played a behind-the-scenes role in the rescue of the Ethiopian
Jewish community in the early 1980s, before the historic Operation Moses of
described as one of the foremost American advocates for Israel’s political and
diplomatic standing, Mr. Harris meets frequently with world leaders to discuss
issues affecting the Middle East. In this regard, for example, his efforts were
credited by the Japanese government for bringing about change in Tokyo’s
position on its long-standing adherence to the Arab boycott against Israel and
toward a more balanced approach to the larger Arab-Israeli conflict.
one of his many achievements at AJC, he was a key figure in the successful
sixteen-year struggle to repeal the infamous “Zionism is racism” resolution
adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1975, only the second time in UN history
a resolution was actually repealed. And he spearheaded AJC’s successful
campaign to correct Israel’s anomalous status at the UN, where it had been the
only nation ineligible to sit on the Security Council, and to include it in one
of the UN's five regional groups that determine the all-important committee
a leading Jewish advocate, he has been invited to speak at some of the world’s
most prestigious forums. He was the first head of an American Jewish
organization to address the World Economic Forum in Davos, at a session chaired
by Tony Blair.In addition, he has
testified before the United States Congress on several occasions on matters
related to the Middle East, NATO enlargement, Russian and Soviet affairs, and
anti-Semitism, as well as before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
and the French Parliament.
Mr. Harris has been honored more than ten times by the governments of Azerbaijan, Bulgaria,
France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Spain, and Ukraine for his international efforts on behalf
of the defense of human rights, advancement of the transatlantic partnership, and dedication to
the Jewish people. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary doctorate
by Hebrew Union College.
to joining AJC, Mr. Harris graduated with honors from the University of
Pennsylvania. He pursued his graduate studies in international relations at the
London School of Economics and then spent a year as a Junior Associate at
Oxford University (St. Antony’s College). He was a Visiting Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of
Advanced International Studies (2000-02) and a Senior Associate at St. Antony’s
College (2009-11).He is a member
of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Harris is the author of seven books – The
Jewish World, Entering a New Culture, and five volumes of In the Trenches – and
co-author of an eighth, The
Jokes of Oppression. He has written hundreds of articles,
op-eds, letters, and reviews in leading newspapers and magazines. Since 2001,
he has had a regular spot on the CBS Radio Network, reaching 30-35 million
listeners.He also has a popular blog on
international affairs at The
Huffington Post and TheJerusalem Post and is a monthly contributor to the Spanish
daily El País.
is married and the father of three children.