April 27, 2023 — Washington
American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people, today helped relaunch the Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus, which is devoted to fostering collaboration between both communities in the fight against hate, as well as forging closer ties between the U.S., Latin America, and Israel.
First established in 2011 with AJC support, the bipartisan Caucus has cemented stronger bonds based on Latino and Jewish communities’ shared histories as immigrants and minorities. It has also been vocal in responding to the growing wave of antisemitism across the globe and anti-Latino hate in the U.S.
AJC CEO Ted Deutch, a former member of Congress whose Florida district had a heavy concentration of Jews and Latinos, said the Caucus is a vital conduit to showing the communities how much they have in common.
“We stand stronger together thanks to our shared histories, values, and interests,” said Deutch, a former Caucus co-chair. “When it comes to fighting the scourge of antisemitism and hate against Latinos, my former colleagues have shown time and again they will fight extremism and intolerance in whatever form it takes.”
The 25-member Caucus is now led by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Tony Gonzales (R-TX).
“We are all anchored and shaped by the intergenerational experience of being a stranger in a strange land, and we all still carry many of the same hopes, fears and challenges our parents and grandparents brought with them to America. Promoting our shared values of family, hope, and freedom from persecution are what helped bring the Latino-Jewish Caucus together back in 2011, and it remains one of my proudest contributions as a Member of Congress, “ said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “Since then, I have been honored to steward the Caucus’ mission of enhancing ties among Jews and Latinos in the U.S. to promote justice and democracy, and I am delighted to continue this mission with my dear friends and fellow champions of cooperation, engagement, and partnership. I am confident that this Caucus will remain a vital forum for realizing our aspirations, forging new bonds, and ensuring that all of us are unified in pursuit of a brighter future for Latinos and Jews.”
“I am honored to continue to serve as Co-Chair of the Latino-Jewish Caucus in the 118th Congress,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. “Now, more than ever, we must redouble our efforts to confront and condemn the growing threat of antisemitism, as well as human rights, democracy and security in our hemisphere. I look forward to our continued bipartisan work with our Latin American partners to combat bigotry and hatred in all its forms, and to work toward freedom, stability and prosperity in the region.”
“I am excited to return as a co-chair of the Congressional Latino-Jewish Caucus and join with the AJC, my fellow co-chairs, and our Caucus members to work on areas of mutual interest,” Rep. Adriano Espaillat said. “Jewish and Latino communities have lived side by side for generations, from Buenos Aires, Argentina all the way to Washington Heights and throughout my district. In New York City, our communities have joined together to improve the neighborhoods in which we live, and it is this spirit of collaboration that makes me hopeful for growing coalitions on issues that affect each of us—from immigration, civil rights, and education, to efforts to denounce hate and inequality. Our communities have much in common, and we are united in our collaborative efforts to build bridges, stand against injustice, and uplift our shared voices.”
“Strengthening the bond between Latinos and the Jewish people demonstrates our ironclad commitment to combating antisemitism and bigotry wherever it abides,” said Rep. Tony Gonzales. “America is stronger when we come together, and our Caucus will continue to reinforce this principle as we push back against hateful narratives that wrongfully target our communities.”
A reception for the relaunch of the Caucus, for the 118th Congress, was held in the Rayburn House Office Building. It was hosted by AJC’s Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA), which focuses on building coalitions with both communities at the national, state, and local levels and promotes trilateral relations among Iberian American countries, the U.S., and Israel. More than a dozen Iberian American ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives were in attendance at the reception, which also featured OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and Israeli Deputy Chief of Mission Eliav Benjamin.
“U.S. Latinos and Jews have worked together shoulder to shoulder to promote an increasingly democratic and inclusive country and against those voices sowing hate and division,” said BILLA Director Dina Siegel Vann, who was instrumental in founding the Caucus. “The Caucus aims at fostering stronger ties between both communities domestically, hemispherically, and globally, and serves as a bridge that enables Latinos and Jews to take on challenges both here and abroad together.”