AJC Delegation visits Germany
An AJC delegation just concluded a three-day visit to Germany, which included stops in Berlin and Hamburg.
The AJC group, led by Executive Director David Harris, met with officials, including Christoph Heusgen, Foreign and Security Policy Advisor to the Federal Chancellor; State Secretary Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, Commissioner for the Federal Security Services; and Volker Kauder, Party Whip for the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group.
Among the principal topics discussed were: (a) the ongoing refugee flow to Europe, principally Germany, and its implications; (b) German-U.S. and German-Israeli relations; (c) combating rising anti-Semitism in Europe; and (d) deepening instability in the Middle East.
“We visited Berlin to better understand the current situation in this key European country, exchange ideas, and reinforce relationships,” said Harris. “We traveled in the spirit of friendship and cooperation that has long characterized AJC's relationship with the Federal Republic of Germany.”
The trip included a visit to the Führungsakademie, the Leadership Academy of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), where Harris addressed nearly 100 senior military officials from a dozen NATO member states. As part of its 21-year groundbreaking partnership with the Bundeswehr, AJC frequently hosts visiting delegations from the Führungsakademie at its headquarters in New York, and Harris has spoken at the Hamburg academy at least seven times.
The visit also featured a powerful meeting with 30 members of the Yazidi refugee community in Berlin, who shared stories of persecution, murder, and rape at the hands of ISIS in Iraq. AJC has provided two grants to IsraAID, the Israeli humanitarian group, for assistance to the Yazidi population in Iraq's Kurdish region.
Moreover, the trip included an AJC-hosted diplomatic luncheon with the ambassadors to Germany from Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, India, Morocco, and Uruguay -- all countries with which AJC has maintained close ties. The AJC delegation also met privately with U.S. Ambassador to Germany John Emerson.
On Monday, AJC Berlin hosted more than 120 government officials, diplomats, interfaith partners, and civic leaders for its annual Hanukkah reception. Earlier that day, Harris addressed a high-level group of business leaders, policy experts, and diplomats at the Aspen Institute's Berlin office.
The visit concluded after a meeting with Olaf Scholz, the Mayor of Hamburg, who became the tenth German mayor to join AJC's Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism campaign, which also includes to date many mayors from the U.S., France, and other European countries.
AJC was the first, and for decades the only, global Jewish organization to engage with postwar Germany and, in 1998, to establish a full-time presence in Berlin, through the vision of Lawrence and Lee Ramer. Today, the office is directed by Deidre Berger, and Anthony Meyer and Steven Wisch co-chair the AJC Berlin Ramer Institute Advisory Board.