AJC Celebrates 20 Years of "Proven Partnership" with German Armed Forces
AJC marked 20 years of its partnership with the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) on Wednesday night at a momentous ceremony in Berlin.
The program was highlighted by keynote addresses from German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and AJC Executive Director David Harris. More than 150 German military officials, members of the Bundestag, and senior diplomats, including Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt and Israeli Ambassador to Germany Yaakov Hadas-Handelsman, attended the milestone event.
"AJC is a critical partner, as it shares our belief in the importance of freedom and security," Minister von der Leyen told the audience. "Our stance is clear, and can be summarized in one sentence: the security of Israel is non-negotiable."
The evening also featured a panel discussion on "Germany’s Role as European Peacemaker." The panelists were U.S. Ambassador John Emerson; Member of the Bundestag Roderich Kiesewetter; and Dr. Gesa von Geyr, Head of the Political Division at the Ministry of Defense. Dr. Sylke Tempel, Editor in Chief of Internationale Politik, moderated the evening.
"Our proven partnership with the Bundeswehr emerged out of decades of engagement with the Federal Republic," said Harris. "Today, it is more critical than ever that we demonstrate our support for a strong, globally engaged Germany."
Through the AJC-Bundeswehr partnership, hundreds of German military officials have interfaced with AJC across the U.S. Several Bundeswehr delegations have also visited Israel with AJC to gain a firsthand perspective of the region.
The celebration event highlighted a three-day AJC visit to Berlin, which also featured meetings with Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Flügger, President of the Domestic Intelligence Service Dr. Hans Georg Maassen, and more than a dozen Members of the Bundestag. The AJC delegation, which also included AJC Executive Council Member Kim Pimley, also met with the ambassadors from Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Ukraine.
AJC was the first Jewish organization to re-engage with Germany after the Second World War and to establish a full-time presence in 1998, now directed by Deidre Berger.