June 12, 2020 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) honored Dr.Felix Klein, the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, with the inaugural AJC Project Interchange Alumnus of the Year Award. Klein visited Israel with AJC Project Interchange in 2016, as a member of an official German delegation.
“Felix Klein’s profound appreciation for the threat that antisemitism poses to German society underscores why he was the right choice to fill this critically important and necessary post,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who presented the award to Klein today. “His experience with AJC Project Interchange deepened an understanding of Israel, and the very thin line separating haters of Israel and traditional antisemites.”
The award was presented ahead of the AJC Virtual Global Forum, which will begin on Sunday. The five-day, signature annual event was originally scheduled to take place in Berlin for the first time in AJC history, but the coronavirus pandemic led to the shift to an online conference.
Dr. Felix Klein said after receiving the AJC Project Interchange award, "I feel deeply honored and grateful being the inaugural recipient of the Project Interchange Alumnus of the Year Award. This Award is particularly meaningful to me because it reflects the importance of global cooperation and the power of dialogue that leads to greater understanding. I am a great believer in giving people opportunities to meet and share experiences in all sorts of contexts. Everyone who has been to Israel, who has experienced the country, comes back a different person and speaks differently about Israel. Everyone who has ever been to a synagogue, who has gotten to know a Jewish community and has taken part in a Jewish religious ceremony has a different picture."
Klein has credited AJC Berlin for its advocacy in the German Parliament that led to the creation in May 2018 of the government office he heads.
“Felix Klein exemplifies a deep commitment to strengthening relationships with the Jewish community and Israel that AJC Project Interchange has been initiating and nurturing through hosting delegations in Israel for 38 years,” said Nisha Abkarian, AJC Project Interchange Director. “We are delighted Dr. Klein is the inaugural recipient of the Project Interchange Alumnus of the Year award in recognition of his contributions to fighting antisemitism and strengthening bilateral relations with Israel.”
About AJC Project Interchange: For over 35 years, AJC Project Interchange (American Jewish Committee) has brought 6,000 influential figures to Israel from 120 countries and all 50 U.S. states, offering broad exposure and first-hand understanding of the complex issues facing Israel and the region. www.projectinterchange.org