AJAC Aims to Institutionalize Relations Between Jewish and Armenian Communities in the United States
The Israeli American Civic Action Network (ICAN), Jewish World Watch (JWW), and the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) today inaugurated the Armenian Jewish Advisory Council – AJAC (pronounced “a-jack”) as means to institutionalize relations between the Armenian and Jewish communities throughout the U.S., united by shared values, historical experiences, and a vision for a more robust intercommunal collaboration.
“The Armenian and Jewish people’s shared history of persecution reflects our will to thrive. One of the essential lessons learned from our scarred histories is the value of allyship in the face of injustice. At a time in history when genocide continues in many nations and distortion and denialism are pervasive, this alliance sends a clear message: Together, we intend to ensure that ‘Never Again’ is a call to action,” shared Serena Oberstein, Executive Director of Jewish World Watch.
AJAC will serve as a platform for regular communications and consultations on a multitude of issues of concern to participant organizations on the local, state, and federal levels.
“Israelis and Armenians in America are friends, neighbors, coworkers, and even family,” said Dillon Hosier, CEO at ICAN. “Our two communities face the same challenges and share the same concerns for our future, so we’re excited about this new alliance and the opportunity to work together and create shared solutions.”
Organizations serving the Jewish and/or Armenian communities that share AJAC’s mission and goals are welcome to apply for membership by filling out an online form. The Council – made up of one appointed representative per member organization – will be admitting new organizations on a rolling basis by consensus.
“The Armenian and Jewish people share many parallels in history, traditions, and values. We’ve been proud to partner with ICAN, JWW, and other community organizations serving the Jewish community in America on a wide range of issues, such as Holocaust and Genocide education, combatting genocide denial, safeguarding our communities against hate speech and hate crimes, and so much more,” remarked the ANCA-WR Executive Director Armen Sahakyan. “AJAC — which has been in the works for months — aims to take this relationship to the next level to better coordinate and expand our community partnership moving forward.”
The Council will serve as the main body and will operate exclusively on the basis of general agreement. For the first year — between November 1, 2021 until October 31, 2022 — the Council will be co-chaired by inaugural members ICAN, JWW, and ANCA-WR. The Council will then devise an internal rotation system of co-chairmanship with one organization representing each community.The Council may also appoint prominent individuals to the Board of Advisors to serve on a renewable one-year basis.
Additionally, the Council may create permanent and/or ad-hoc working groups and committees to work on specific issues and report back to the Council on their findings and recommendations. This may include Holocaust and Genocide education; combatting dangerous speech and hate crimes; organizing delegation visits; fundraising; and more.
Given AJAC’s advisory nature, the Council’s decisions will not be binding on any of its member organizations.
— The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.
Jewish World Watch is an expression of Judaism in action, bringing help and healing to survivors of mass atrocities around the globe and seeking to inspire people of all faiths and cultures to join the ongoing fight against genocide.
The Israeli-American Civic Action Network is dedicated to empowering Israeli immigrants and American allies to create change for a better America, a more secure Israel, and a stronger U.S. – Israel alliance through advocacy education and civic action. Learn more at IsraelUSA.org.