May 26, 2020 — New York
The number of viewers watching AJC Advocacy Anywhere sessions, since the program’s inception in March, now exceeds 2.4 million worldwide. The online series examines timely political, geopolitical, diplomatic, and other issues in the COVID-19 era.
“AJC is honored this week to host Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, the first incumbent mayors in our series. Both are alumni of AJC’s Project Interchange seminars in Israel,” said David Harris, CEO of American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global Jewish advocacy organization. “Other highlights include Jusuf Kalla, the distinguished Vice President of Indonesia from 2014 to 2019, and Richard Haass, President of the venerable Council on Foreign Relations.”
Programs last week included:
Religion During and After Coronavirus: Will We Ever Be the Same? This May 18 program with Rabbi David Wolpe, named America’s “Most Influential Rabbi” by Newsweek, and Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, the first woman to head the venerable 184-year-old Union Theological Seminary (UTS), has been seen by more than 35,000 viewers on Facebook. In conversation with Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, Rabbi Wolpe and Rev. Jones discussed the experiences of loss during the pandemic and the ability of religious institutions to adapt.
Challenges to Democracy and Stories of Jewish Communal Resilience in Latin America, May 18. Mariana Salem, AMIA, Argentina; Heni Ozi Cukier, São Paulo State legislator; and Adela Smeke, Founder, Mexican Federation of Young Jews (FeMeJJ), discussed challenges to democracy in Latin America before and during the current coronavirus crisis, and the differences between pandemic-induced antisemitism in the U.S. and Latin America. Muriel Asseraf, AJC Representative in São Paulo, Brazil, moderated the conversation.
Europe, Iran, and the Transatlantic Partnership, May 20. Anna Fotyqa, Member of the European Parliament; Omir Nouripour, Member of the German Federal Parliament; and Mark Dubowitz, CEO, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in conversation with Daniel Schwammenthal, Director, AJC Transatlantic Institute, and Remko Leemhuis, Acting Director, AJC Berlin, discussed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and how to contain the regime’s regional aggression and global terror network. With the arms embargo on Tehran expiring this October, and countries like Russia and China reportedly poised to supply Iran with advanced weaponry, forging a unified transatlantic strategy to counter Iran’s quest for the bomb and regional hegemony becomes a still more urgent task.
A Conversation with H.E. Luis Lacalle Pou, President of Uruguay, May 20, has garnered more than 31,000 viewers on Facebook. In a one-on-one conversation with Dina Siegel Vann, Director, AJC Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs, President Pou indicated he is currently reviewing his country’s stance on designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. He also discussed Uruguay-Israel and Uruguay-U.S. ties, as well as how Uruguay successfully managed the coronavirus to date. As a country committed to human rights and democracy, Uruguay is a longstanding partner of the United States and Israel. In fact, Uruguay was one of the first nations to recognize the newly-formed Jewish state in 1948. In February 2019, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. President Pou, an AJC Project Interchange alumnus, took office earlier this year, just before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Uruguay.
Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) with Yossi Klein Halevi, May 22. In conversation with Myra Clark Siegel, Director of Communications and Senior Strategic Counsel, AJC Project Interchange, Halevi discussed the meaning of Jerusalem for Jews and the city’s unification in 1967; Israeli-Palestinian relations and why peace prospects are so dim; the new Israeli national unity government; and American Jewish-Israeli ties. Halevi, a frequent speaker for AJC events, is Senior Fellow, The Shalom Hartman Institute, and the author of several widely-praised books, including Like Dreamers and Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.
AJC Advocacy Anywhere programs for this week include:
Tuesday, May 26, 6:00 PM (ET) – Communities Under Quarantine: The Impact of Coronavirus on Muslim and Jewish Life in America. The pandemic has shut down mosques and synagogues, bringing about a boom in digital gatherings, virtual prayer spaces, and online learning. Are these changes temporary, or will they fundamentally alter religious life? Join Rabbi Dr. Josh Feigelson, Executive Director, Institute for Jewish Spirituality; and Maggie Siddiqi, Director of the Faith and Public Policy Initiative, Center for American Progress, for an exploration of the impact of the coronavirus on our communities, religion and public life, and Muslim-Jewish relations in the United States. Moderated by Dr. Ari Gordon, AJC Director of U.S. Muslim-Jewish Relations.
Tuesday, May 26, 8:30 PM (ET) – A Conversation with H.E. Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of Indonesia (2004-2009) (2014-2019). Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is current Chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross, has been courageous and outspoken in his appeal for Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, to engage in dialogue with Israel. He will join us for a wide-ranging conversation on Indonesia's response to COVID-19 and the region's economic status; Indonesia's relations with the United States, China, and Australia; and the challenges and opportunities for progress in Indonesian-Israeli relations. This program is offered in cooperation with the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), an AJC partner organization. Moderated by Shira Loewenberg, Director, AJC Asia Pacific Institute. Note the late hour of this program is due to the time difference with Indonesia.
Wednesday, May 27, 12:15 PM (ET) – On the Frontlines of America’s Cities: A Conversation with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Mayor Betsy Price. Mayors across the country and around the world are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, making critical decisions every day about how to protect their communities, while also working to restart their cities' economic engines. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Mayor Betsy Price of Ft. Worth, who have both recently traveled to Israel with AJC Project Interchange, will discuss the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their cities; the integral relationship between cities and the Federal government; the role of political leadership in a time of crisis; and the lessons they've learned about community resilience. Moderated by Melanie Maron Pell, AJC Managing Director, Regional Offices, who accompanied the mayors to Israel.
Thursday, May 28, 12:30 PM (ET) – A Conversation with Dr. Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations. A veteran diplomat, respected voice on foreign policy, and frequent guest on news shows, Richard Haass has served as Director of Policy Planning for the State Department (2001-2003); Special Assistant to President George H.W. Bush (1989-1993); and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. He will join in conversation with AJC CEO David Harris on the state of international relations in the COVID-19 era, as well as Haass’ new book, The World: A Brief Introduction, a primer written for experts and non-experts alike that, in the words of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, “explains how the world really works, how it is changing, and why it matters.”
To date, the three most viewed programs in AJC’s Advocacy Anywhere series are:
AJC CEO David Harris: An Improbable Jewish Journey, with more than 196,000 Facebook views.
David Harris on the Soviet Jewry Movement (Part 1), with more than 136,000 views on Facebook.
From Tragedy to Triumph with AJC CEO David Harris, with more than 95,000 views on Facebook.