December 21, 2023
Since Hamas’ brutal attack on October 7, American Jewish Committee (AJC) has been at the forefront of advocating for the safety and security of the Jewish people and Israel. We continue to press for the return of the hostages who were violently taken from their families and are still being held by Hamas so that their stories are at the forefront of the minds of leaders throughout our communities.
During visits to Washington, DC, AJC has assisted more than 35 families whose loved ones are held hostage by Hamas in conveying their stories with decision-makers and leaders. These stories have been shared with more than 125 members of Congress, multiple national media outlets, the State Department, high-level administration officials including the Vice President, diplomats, and interfaith and intergroup leaders.
Members of Congress have shown genuine empathy towards the families of the hostages during meetings on Capitol Hill. They have taken a keen interest in listening to their stories and asking insightful questions about the events that took place in the towns and Kibbutzim near the Gaza border on October 7, demonstrating their commitment to understanding the situation. They have been vocal about the situation, using press conferences, social media, roundtables, and their platform from the House and Senate chambers to raise awareness and share the names and stories of the hostages. AJC activists sent more than 96,000 emails to members of Congress and this advocacy resulted in the successful passage of strongly bipartisan House and Senate Resolutions calling for the immediate release of all hostages. The House Foreign Affairs Committee markup featured moving speeches by Chairman McCaul and Ranking Member Meeks (Starting at 4:01 hrs).
In addition to efforts on Capitol Hill, AJC is orchestrating meetings with federal government agencies and the Biden Administration and hostage families to discuss their stories including:
- Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman of the United States, Doug Emhoff
- Roger Carstens, Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs
- Andrew Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs
- Dan Shapiro, Special Envoy for Regional Integration
Locally, AJC Washington was honored to bring family members of the hostages to meetings with several interfaith leaders including Rev. Dr. Stacey Cole Wilson of the United Methodist Church and Pastor Jim Eaton of the Multi-faith Neighbors Network. The families shared stories about their loved ones and what it feels like to not know when they will be returned or what they are experiencing. They asked for our interfaith partners’ help to share the stories of the hostages so they are not forgotten and help press for their immediate and safe return.
You can help! Act now to add your name to the thousands who have already emailed leaders at the UN to demand that Hamas release ALL of the hostages. These efforts have already resulted in the release of two young hostages, and we must continue to do more.
Listen to some of stories of several hostage families on AJC’s People of the Pod podcast: