“Legend in the Jewish world” addresses AIJAC

July 27, 2022 by Community newsdesk
Read on for article

David Harris, the outgoing CEO of the American Jewish Committee, has visited Sydney as a guest of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.

David Harris [2nd left] with AIJAC senior professional staff and AUJS representatives

Harris was described by the late Shimon Peres as the “Foreign Minister of the Jewish People”.

Speaking to AIJAC supporters at a boardroom lunch, Harris was introduced by Paul Rubenstein, NSW Chair of AIJAC, as “a legend in the Jewish world”, and delivered a powerful presentation that only added to his reputation.

Having had a long association with Australia through the institutional relationship of AJC and AIJAC, Harris said that “if Hashem had blessed us with another promised land, it would be Australia”. He commended the community on its vibrant Jewish life, noting the particular importance of Jewish day schools in this mix and singling out for praise Dr Colin Rubenstein and Jeremy Jones, AIJAC’s senior professionals.

In a wide-ranging presentation, he addressed the problems facing the American Jewish community, both internally and externally; the enormous achievement of the Abraham Accords and the complex question of the relationship of Saudi Arabia to Israel and the Jewish people; how Iran has “played its hands brilliantly” to undermine the global ability to restrict the development of weapons of mass destruction and the development of an international terrorist network; the failure of the world to engage with the issue of Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa while romanticising and contributing to the lack of progress regarding Palestinian refugees; and US/Israel relations, both now and looking at future scenarios.

He also stressed that “we cannot afford to lose in Ukraine”, noting that this situation was being closely watched by both the enemies of liberal democracy and by states which have depended on defensive alliances with the West.

During his brief visit, he also met a number of Federal and State MPs, as well as media and civil society leaders. He said that he particularly enjoyed meeting with John Howard, who had been honoured by the AJC for his unswerving friendship with Israel and the Jewish world as Prime Minister.

Demonstrating his genuine belief that the Jewish community should do everything it can to support our students on campus, he took time for a meeting with the leaders of Jewish student societies federally, regionally and from individual campuses.

In his discussions of antisemitism, in which he made a series of sobering comments particularly concerning its growth in the United States and in social spaces occupied by the younger generation, he noted particularly the situation of Jews at many university campuses who were regularly intimidated, bullied, threatened and worse, saying dealing with this must be a priority for serious Jewish communities.


Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.