September 9, 2016 — London, England
Diplomats from more than 40 countries came together in London yesterday at a landmark seminar and evening reception jointly hosted by The Board of Deputies of British Jews and AJC Europe.
The program included four sessions featuring experts from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Israel and Belgium.
Among the topics discussed on the various panels were: (a) the crisis of antisemitism in the British Labour Party; (b) security and extremism in Europe; (c) memorializing the Holocaust; and (d) ongoing instability in the Middle East.
The events were attended by 60 diplomats, including several dozen ambassadors, from more than 40 countries, as well as many guests from the British Jewish community and AJC Europe.
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush and AJC CEO David Harris both addressed the audience.
"I am very pleased that in a short span of time - just over a year or so - our two organizations have become increasingly close. Today's seminar and reception bear testament not only to the relationship we have at the leadership level, but the enthusiasm of our respective professional teams, who have come together to produce tangible results,” said Arkush.
He spoke of his concern about the British Labour Party's inadequate handling of the antisemitism in its midst, the need to deepen Muslim-Jewish ties in the U.K., and the deep and abiding commitment of British Jews to the well-being of their country.
“What the world needs today -- a world which has, in many ways, become more fractured, tumultuous, and dangerous -- is a community of conscience. In this room are distinguished representatives of many countries and non-governmental organizations who share that vision, who understand that we have achieved something precious in advancing the cherished values of human dignity, human rights, and human freedom. All of us in that community, whether in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Israel must stand together as never before, drawing strength and inspiration from one another, in the face of the relentless challenges to our foundational values. And be assured that AJC --today, tomorrow, and the day after -- will be an active part of that community,” said Harris.
The Board of Jewish Deputies was founded in 1760 and is the voice of British Jews.
AJC Europe oversees the global advocacy organization’s five posts across the continent, including Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Rome, and its most recent addition, the Warsaw-based AJC Central Europe office.
AJC and the Board of Deputies have partnered on a number of projects. Most recently, with the essential help of the Board of Deputies, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, following his predecessor, Boris Johnson (currently the British Foreign Secretary), signed on to AJC’s Mayors United Against Antisemitism campaign. The initiative garnered signatures from more than 500 U.S. and European mayors to publicly address and take concrete actions against rising antisemitism and the use of anti-Zionism as a cover for antisemitism.