|AJC has long been active with the Latino communities in the U.S and in international diplomacy with the highest levels of government in Latin America. Our diplomacy in this region is done principally through the Latino and Latin American Institute, the latest initiative in AJC's efforts to further American Jewish relations with the Latino community in the U.S. and countries across Latin America. The Institute works with AJC partners to strengthen Jewish life in the region, deter terrorism, ensure that democracy and pluralism remain strong, and advance relations between Latin American countries and the U.S. and Israel. Among the priority issues for the institute is the continuing threat of terrorism in Latin America. The 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy and 1994 bombing of the AMIA headquarters in Buenos Aires remain unsolved. AJC leaders frequently visit Latin American countries. We maintain international partnerships with the Jewish communities of Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Venezuela.
Sr. Luis Grynwald, President
Dr. Daniel Pomerantz, Executive Director
Lic. Anita Weinstein, Director, Federation of Jewish Communities
In December 1998, AJC and the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) formalized a cooperative relationship to advance shared goals. Established in 1894, AMIA remains the central Jewish institution responsible for providing a wide range of communal services, social assistance, and educational programs to Argentina's Jewish community, the largest in Latin America.
In August 2000, The American Jewish Committee and the Centro Israelita Sionista de Costa Rica (the Jewish Zionist Center of Costa Rica), established a cooperative association to advance the interests of the Costa Rican and American Jewish communities.
The agreement with CISCR, Costa Rica's central Jewish organization representing Costa Rica's 2,500 Jews, came about after the AJC Board of Governors met in San Jose, Costa Rica to help build a new community center.
"The American and Costa Rican Jewish communities share not only our rich Jewish heritage, but also a deep commitment to democratic values and human rights," said AJC President Bruce M. Ramer.
"Our new relationship with the American Jewish Committee is an expression of support for our own task as well as an acknowledgement of the historic commitment that the Costa Rican community has been fulfilling," said Mr. Julio Klerszenson, President of the CISCR.
AJC and the Centro Israelita Sionista de Costa Rica work together to strengthen Jewish communal life; deepen bilateral relations between Costa Rica and the United States; enhance Israel's security, peace and diplomatic normalization; combat anti-Semitic and other hate groups in their respective societies and strengthen the forces of democratic pluralism and mutual understanding.
They also jointly advance the cause of human rights; promote education and memory of the Holocaust and counteract the dissemination of Holocaust revisionism; and encourage greater dialogue and understanding within the Diaspora and between Israelis and Jews in other lands.
In October 1998, the American Jewish Committee established institutional ties with the highly-regarded Tribuna Israelita, based in Mexico, in an effort to advance joint interests.
Founded in 1944, TI is the analysis and opinion agency of the Jewish community of Mexico. It promotes an ongoing dialogue with influential leaders in Mexico and cooperates with diverse national organizations. In combating intolerance, and anti-Semitism in particular, TI generates a series of publications on the religious, ethical and philosophical facets of Judaism, and the Jewish presence in Mexico, as well as on racism.
AJC and TI will collaborate and consult on matters of common interest through the exchange of research, analysis, archival data and other materials.
AJC President Bruce M. Ramer expressed the significance of AJC's new association with TI: "Our aims, in so many ways, coincide with TI and are a perfect fit. Beyond that, this relationship emphasizes the importance of Mexico to the U.S. and the Jewish communities of the world, and is an example of the urgency for all Jews to work together to pursue Jewish communal interests."
TI President Jorge Salamonovitz commented: "The exchange of information and experiences will enhance the relationship between our institutions and, at the same time, provide us with new tools to improve our own work on behalf of the Jewish communities in Mexico and the U.S."
CAIV is responsible for promoting close relations with Venezuela's government and civil society and with institutions abroad. CAIV encompasses five organizations: The Jewish Association of Venezuela (Sephardic), the Jewish Union of Caracas (Ashkenazi), the Venezuelan Zionist Federation, B'nai B'rith of Venezuela, and the Federation of Venezuelan Jewish Women. Also affiliated with CAIV are several youth movements and representatives from smaller communities in Venezuela.
The agreement was the culmination of close ties that have developed through the presence of Venezuela's leadership during the last annual meetings. In addition, AJC has been monitoring very closely the unstable situation in the country under the Chavez presidency and has lent its support in times of need. An important CAIV delegation traveled to Washington to participate in the conference The Middle East Terrorist Activity in Latin America and the Caribbean in March, 2004 on Capitol Hill.
AJC voiced its alarm at the unwarranted raid on the community day school by Venezuelan school forces on November 29, 2004 that left many students and their families traumatized. Government forces reportedly were searching for arms, based on the false accusations spread by Venezuelan state media, purporting that Israeli intelligence was connected with the recent assassination of federal prosecutor Danilo Anderson.