June 29, 2022 — Los Angeles, CA
On June 28, 2022, AJC Los Angeles celebrated a successful year at our 77th Kaufman Family Annual Meeting. Elected officials, diplomats, community leaders, and members of the extended AJC family gathered at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills to reflect on recent achievements and outline goals for the future. In addition to our “Year in Review” and the nomination of new Board members, the gathering included several distinguished speakers, including Hillel Newman, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, and U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman. For this year’s Neil Sandberg Memorial Program, His Excellency Shaikh Abdullah Bin Rashid Al Khalifa, Ambassador of Bahrain to the United States, shared poignant video remarks reflecting on the Abraham Accords and pondering the future of the U.S. - Israel - Bahrain relationship. The event recognized AJC’s work fighting antisemitism at home and abroad, as well as our diplomatic efforts that were instrumental to the Abraham Accords.
Click below to watch a video of Ambassador Al Khalifa addressing the Annual Meeting.
The Annual Meeting began with remarks from AJC LA President Marc Graboff, who detailed AJC’s advocacy work and recognized current events that underscore the urgency of our mission to advance human rights. Following, Israeli Consul General to Los Angeles Dr. Hillel Newman offered brief remarks commemorating the Abraham Accords. He praised the courage of the countries involved and offered Israel’s hand of peace for future diplomacy with Middle East neighbors. Dr. Newman’s speech preceded a presentation from Jason Kessler, who was recognized for his work dispelling misinformation and antisemitic tropes through his YouTube series “Jew or False”. Kessler discussed the importance of combating antisemitism on social media and shared a highlight reel from the podcast series. AJC LA Director Rick Hirschhaut then reported on several substantive issues guiding our work. Finally, Eva Dworsky, AJC LA Vice President and Nominating Committee Chair, concluded the business portion of the Annual Meeting by leading the confirmation of our 2022-23 leadership slate.
Following a brief intermission, the evening concluded with addresses by His Excellency Shaikh Abdullah Bin Rashid Al Khalifa and Congressman Brad Sherman. Ambassador Al Khalifa celebrated the Abraham Accords and discussed the fruits of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s “warm peace strategy” with Israel. “The men, women, and children in each and every Abraham Accords country has begun to replace ignorance in one another with a vested interest in one another,” declared the Ambassador, “...and the influence of Jewish Bahrainis, Jewish Israelis, and Jewish Americans will only increase in our kingdom.” Ambassador Al Khalifa pointed out several sectors already benefiting from a relationship with Israel, such as tourism, commerce, and healthcare, and expressed deep gratitude to AJC for our indispensable role in facilitating the peace talks. The Ambassador’s speech enthusiastically heralded his country’s multilateral diplomacy and foreshadowed future normalized relations between Israel, her Middle East neighbors, and the involvement of AJC.
Congressman Brad Sherman concluded the Annual Meeting, providing insights on the Abraham Accords from the perspective of his role on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He focused on Israeli innovation, US-Israel relations, and the threat of Iran. Representative Sherman specifically highlighted Israel’s scientific innovation and economic output as key contributions to the international community. “The Abraham Accords between Israel and Bahrain has already led to innovation,” the Congressman said, adding: “... think of science when it comes to Israel”. Finally, Representative Sherman sounded the alarm for Iran’s nuclear weapons program, discussing Iran’s rapidly progressing uranium enrichment and predicting potential escalation in the near future. His address provided an enriching American perspective to the Abraham Accords and effectively closed out the Annual Meeting.