May 22, 2012 – New York – AJC condemned a YouTube video that misrepresented the global Jewish advocacy organization, and that assailed the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.
Ambassador Rice recently spoke at the B’Nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, an event AJC co-sponsored.
AJC Executive Director David Harris dismissed the claim in the video, posted to YouTube by Alan Bergstein, that AJC is a “left-wing Jewish organization” as preposterous.
“AJC is an avowedly centrist, non-partisan, pro-Israel organization,” said Harris. "Not a week goes by that voices on the ideological left and right don't criticize us with equal doctrinal fervor."
Harris, echoing the synagogue’s own statement, said that Ambassador Rice’s presentation did not, as the video tried to suggest, involve fundraising for the Obama campaign.
“We proudly co-sponsored the Boca Raton event with Ambassador Rice, just as we were honored to host her at AJC headquarters in New York several times,” said Harris. “For the U.S. ambassador to the UN -- and a member of the Cabinet -- to participate in a conversation with concerned American Jews about the pressing issues of the day is, in our view, a privilege. Of course, there may be different outlooks in any such meeting, but the common denominator should be civility and respect.”
In January, Rice engaged in an hour-long conversation with Harris during the AJC Board of Governors meeting, an event covered in major media.
“Ambassador Rice has exerted leadership in defending Israel during critical times at the United Nations,” said Harris. “In her tenure, the U.S. pulled out of the anti-Israel Durban 3 conference last September, helped ensure that the Palestinians did not have the requisite Security Council votes to bypass the negotiating table and gain statehood unilaterally, and has spoken out repeatedly against Iran's ominous nuclear ambitions and Syria's murderous regime.”
In the YouTube video, Bergstein is turned away from entering the synagogue building. The synagogue had enhanced security for the event after Rabbi Steinhardt and his staff received warnings that protesters were planning to disrupt the event.