By Stephen E. Lipken
Temple Sholom, Greenwich, CT and American Jewish Committee (AJC) Westchester/Fairfield presented “From the Front Lines: An Evening with AJC CEO David Harris on Monday, February 5th, attended by over 200 members from Greenwich and outlying Jewish communities.
In his welcoming remarks, Temple Sholom Rabbi Mitchell Hurwitz noted that his youngest daughter took part in the AJC Leadership Training Program.
Harris began by relaying the good news that Israel is truly less isolated today. “I am here to tell you as a front line vocal advocate on behalf of AJC that Israel’s global position has never been higher.
“With Israeli haspara (diplomacy), nations are learning to broaden their political prisms with Israel’s knowledge of cyber security, health security, airport security, counter intelligence…go down the list of what countries need in the 21st Century and you will find Israel has it in spades,” Harris stated.
Mr. Harris mentioned Stanley Fischer, who shepherded Israel through the economic crises of 2008-2012 as well as AJC’s policy of taking political leaders to Israel and even Palestinian Ramallah to see it with their own eyes. One result was the Mexican Ambassador to the UN changing their vote in Israel’s favor.
Regarding the question about Polish President Andrzej Duda signing a Bill making it a crime to make statements indicating Polish complicity in Holocaust crimes, Harris replied that there were no Polish Camps. “They were German. At Auschwitz, ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ is a German slogan.
However, there was the Jedwabne Pogrom with some Polish involvement. That is where the law is problematic.”
“We must not become Binary Jews. I would like to argue that we Jews need to keep an open mind,” Harris concluded.
“David Harris offered a very comprehensive view of world events this evening,” AJC Director Scott Richman observed. “He spoke about many different issues, from Israel to anti-Semitism and the current concern of the Bill that is pending before the Polish President…and the polarization that exists in this country…We need to maintain open, respectful dialogue with one another…,” Richman stressed.