Intercommunity Relations and Human Rights

For AJC human rights are non-negotiable. Minorities are often the first victims of human rights abuses; and an attack on one minority is an attack on society as a whole. As a Jewish organization, our core values consist of standing up for the rights and equality of all humans and building bridges across religious, ethnic, and cultural lines.

Human rights

The Central Europe office’s commitment to human rights stems from the core values of the American Jewish Committee, which has combatted religious intolerance, torture, and all forms of discrimination since its establishment in 1906. Since then, AJC has continuously engaged with governments, diplomats, international organizations, and civil society advocating for human rights around the world. At the founding conference of the United Nations in 1945, for example, AJC served as non-governmental consultants and helped convince the assembly to include international human rights guarantees in the text of the UN Charter.

“Religious freedom is not selective, we have an equal obligation to protect the rights of all believers and people of no belief – only then will we be completely free.”

– David Harris, AJC CEO during Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief (Polish MFA / U.S. State Department, 2020)

Today, AJC Central Europe carries on this work by monitoring and responding to all forms of discrimination together with local partners. The social impact of discrimination is one of the biggest concerns for the well-being of the Jewish people and humanity. AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) works to combat religious intolerance, end torture, and oppose all forms of discrimination, issues of central importance to the Jewish community and beyond. We protect human rights around the world by engaging with governments, diplomats, the United Nations and other international organizations, and civil society partners.

Learn more about the Jacob Blaustein Institute

Intercommunity dialogue

Our work is often defined by our cooperation and dialogue with other communities sharing common values. Some of our greatest achievements would not be possible without the engagement of local communities and their representatives. Our office regularly works with other religious and ethnic groups, forming partnerships around common causes and speaking with one voice when advocating for religious freedom.

AJC’s mission to Auschwitz together with the Muslim World League in 2020

In 2020, AJC and the Muslim World League (MWL) organized a high-profile visit to Poland. Through a cooperation agreement with the MWL, Secretary General Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa brought a delegation of 62 Muslim dignitaries from 28 countries to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, visit synagogues, and engage with the Jewish community. Commemorating the Holocaust with the most influential Muslim organization not only has a lasting impact on the Muslim world, but strengthens AJC’s interfaith cooperation and friendship with the Muslim community.

“To be here, among the children of Holocaust survivors and members of the Jewish and Islamic communities, is both a sacred duty and a profound honor. The unconscionable crimes to which we bear witness today are truly crimes against humanity. That is to say, a violation of us all, an affront to all of God’s children.”

– Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, MWL Secretary General

Building a Community of Conscience

In 2021, our extensive coalition building efforts culminated in the establishment of the Community of Conscience – A Coalition of Mutual Respect. This interfaith group, including twelve prominent Polish community leaders, aims to fight exclusion and discrimination against religious, ethnic, and cultural minorities.

“In times of crisis of authority figures, a strong voice of opposition to humans hating other humans is needed – the voice of people of conscience speaking together in the name of mutual respect, despite the differences between them.”

– the group stated during its launch event, watch it here.

The Community of Conscience includes a wide range of representatives of the three main Abrahamic religions, leaders of minority communities’ organizations, and professors of religion.

Learn more about the Community of Conscience