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AJC Responds To New York Times Op-ed On U.S. Jews And Hagel

NEW YORK, Dec. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC is dismayed by today's New York Times op-ed article, available online, "Don't Let Pro-Israel Extremists Sink Chuck Hagel." The author is James Besser, a former Washington correspondent for the New York Jewish Week.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100816/AJCLOGO)

AJC Executive Director David Harris issued the following statement in response:

This op-ed is so replete with glaring errors of omission and commission that it's hard to know where to begin. Indeed, the very conceptual, or actually ideological, premise on which it is constructed is without foundation.

Essentially, the author argues that a group of wealthy right-wing zealots now call the shots in American Jewry. They have either taken over or, at the very least, intimidated mainstream groups like AJC into supporting, openly or quietly, their extremist agenda. This includes settlement expansion and seeking to silence anyone who doesn't yield to their political orthodoxies.

To be blunt, this is absolute and total rubbish.

First, AJC does not have such donors. Our donor list is made public in each annual report. I invite anyone to review the list. 

Second, those who know us understand that we would not begin to yield to the will or whim of any such donors, be they of the doctrinal right or, for that matter, the left.

In fact, I can cite the cases of donors on both sides who dropped out of AJC in recent years precisely because we were not right-wing or left-wing enough for their taste.

Decision-making and direction are determined by AJC's Board of Governors through discussion and debate, involving close cooperation between lay leadership and staff. We welcome different points of view among our leaders and outside speakers who inform our thinking, a long-standing hallmark of AJC.

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