Jewish advocacy group AJC opens regional office in Poland
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Jewish advocacy group AJC opens regional office in Poland

New center will work to strengthen relations between European and Baltic countries as well as improve their ties to Israel

The American Jewish Committee holding a panel on anti-Semitism that coincided with the beginning of the Republican convention, July 18, 2016. (Cleveland Jewish News)
The American Jewish Committee holding a panel on anti-Semitism that coincided with the beginning of the Republican convention, July 18, 2016. (Cleveland Jewish News)

WARSAW, Poland — The American Jewish Committee on Monday opened a regional office in Warsaw to strengthen the area’s ties to Israel as well as its transatlantic partnership.

“It’s exactly what we need here in Central Europe. To engage and talk about civil rights, Jewish rights,” Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich told AFP at the opening gala for the advocacy group’s new premises.

“It’s the right organisation at the right time. Europe is in the midst of significant changes,” he added.

The AJC bureau in the Polish capital will be in charge of the Visegrad Four group of countries — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — as well as Baltic nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Israeli and American Jewish leaders exchange ideas at a charged session entitled, 'Legal Dimensions of Religious Pluralism in Israel' on November 12, 2015 at the American Jewish Committee's Jerusalem office. From left: Dr. Shuki Friedman, Deena Pulitzer, Steven Bayme and Avital Leibovitz. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/The Times of Israel)
Israeli and American Jewish leaders exchange ideas at a charged session entitled, ‘Legal Dimensions of Religious Pluralism in Israel’ on November 12, 2015 at the American Jewish Committee’s Jerusalem office. From left: Dr. Shuki Friedman, Deena Pulitzer, Steven Bayme and Avital Leibovitz. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/The Times of Israel)

“The goal is to step up the dialogue between these countries — which are all members of NATO — and the United States, and to work on transatlantic ties and relations with Israel,” said AJC’s Europe director Simone Rodan Benzaquen.

The AJC plans also to “support the region’s Jewish communities, even if they’re very small, to work on history,” and to address “all the challenges that exist throughout the world like the fight against anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism,” she told AFP.

This marks the group’s fifth office in Europe, after those set up in Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Rome. The AJC previously had a representative in Warsaw, but in 2008 that position was scrapped for budgetary reasons.

Founded in the United States in 1906, the AJC’s “goal is to protect the Jewish community and to protect human and minority rights around the world,” according to Rodan Benzaque.

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