December 15, 1918

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 4:50pm

On this day 97 years ago, the first meeting of the American Jewish Congress convened in Philadelphia's historic Independence Hall. Jewish leaders and Zionists came together to lay the groundwork for a populist counterbalance to the American Jewish Committee, which, at the time, was dominated by the wealthy and conservative German-Jewish establishment. Great American Jewish thinkers Stephen S. Wise, Felix Frankfurter, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis gathered to lay the groundwork for a national democratic organization of Jewish leaders, and to discuss Jewish concerns post-World War I; those same men would go on to present a unified American Jewish position at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, and would continue to defend the rights of American Jews and all Americans for the rest of their lives.

We are still active, meeting with world leaders and representing a sensible American Jewish agenda. Last week, I attended the swearing in ceremony of Argentina's new president, Mauricio Macri, who I have had the great pleasure of getting to know over the past few years. Macri attended our annual International Mayors Conference in Israel last year, where he met with Prime Minster Netanyahu and numerous other Israeli political and cultural leaders. I look forward to supporting President Macri as he works to revitalize Argentina's image at home, within Latin America, and around the globe. For the Jewish community especially, President Macri will be an important partner in confronting sponsors of terror and ultimately, creating a safer, more tolerant world.

(Me and President Macri at his swearing in ceremony in Argentina  last week.)
And today, on the anniversary of our founding nearly 100 years ago, I met with the Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations, Antonio Patriota, to discuss Jewish interests in South America and Brazilian relations with the United States and Israel.
Thank you for your continued support over the years. Even as our organization changed -- grew or shrank, altered its platform or its function -- you stayed with us, through thick and thin. So on the anniversary of our founding, we simply wish to express our gratitude.
Jack Rosen
American Jewish Congress


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