The American Jewish Congress has been a legacy organization of the Jewish community for over 100 years, working to defend Jewish interests at home and abroad through public policy, advocacy, legislation, and the courts. Founded by great American Jewish leaders, such as Albert Einstein, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and U.S. Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter. The American Jewish Congress first convened in Philadelphia’s historic Independence Hall in 1918 to lay the groundwork for a national democratic organization of Jewish leaders, to rally for equal rights for all Americans. Today, the American Jewish Congress helps shape the Jewish voice of tomorrow.
The American Jewish Congress was the first of the big three Jewish organizations to be outspoken supporters for the founding of the State of Israel, and was fearless in its efforts to warn of the danger of Nazism in the 1930s. It helped German Jews immigrate to America and lobbied the American government to boycott German goods and save endangered Jews during World War II. It was the first Jewish organization to use law and legislation, the tools of democracy, to protect the rights of American Jews and was instrumental to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
During the 1960’s, the Congress was an outspoken voice in the Civil Rights Movement, and stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in solidarity with Martin Luther King Jr. as he delivered his historic “I have a dream” speech. Since then, the Congress has focused on advocating for freedom of speech, church-state separation, education, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and, of course, the rights of Jews across the world.
With growing hostility to the Jewish community around the world, growing instability in the Middle East and persistent threats to the security of Israel, the work of the American Jewish Congress is more important than ever. Our organization is an essential asset in fighting the dangers facing Jewish communities worldwide. With the aim of maximizing our contribution towards a better and more peaceful world, we are currently engaged in:
- Strengthening the bond between the U.S. and Israel
- Combating domestic and global anti-Semitism
- Fighting to defeat the BDS movement
- Preventing a nuclear Iran
- Promoting cooperation and trade between Israel and countries around the world
- Addressing anti-Israel sentiment at the United Nations and other international institutions
The American Jewish Congress works with members of the UN, the Israeli government, the US Congress and the President to advance Jewish rights and an improved understanding of Israel. Among its varied activities, the American Jewish Congress has organized, coordinated, and sponsored numerous initiatives that aim to facilitate communication between policy-makers. These include the International Conference of Mayors and the Science Diplomacy Initiative. The Science Diplomacy Initiative encourages international dialogue between nations and peoples while tackling humanitarian and economic problems to enhance quality of life. Science Diplomacy utilizes Israel’s high tech and scientific advancements to promote and cultivate new relationships and bonds that will help develop deeper diplomatic and political ties between Israel and countries around the globe.
Our work has always been driven by the belief that Jews are more secure in a society that actively defends the rights of all its citizens. Today, we are proud to not only advocate for the protection of all minorities at home, but also abroad.
For over a century, the American Jewish Congress has served as a critical voice on behalf of the Jewish community and supporters of Israel and we look forward to doing so for the next hundred years.