NEW YORK, July 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Japanese American Citizens League last night honored AJC for its role in the successful campaign to achieve redress for the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 provided an official U.S. apology and reparations for those shamefully held in detention during the war years.
"After the Japanese American community launched its quest for redress and reparations, the American Jewish Committee was the first non-Japanese organization to lend its support," said JACL Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida, who presented the award at the JACL National Convention in Washington, D.C. "The support of organizations like AJC helped turn the tide."
Ouchida cited former Cabinet Secretary Norm Mineta's observation that the passage of the legislation was a universal alignment of sun, moon and planet. "AJC's partnership was a part of that alignment and the beginning of the formation of a broad mainstream coalition," said Ouchida.
Richard Foltin, AJC's Director of National and Legislative Affairs, told the JACL National Convention that participating in the JACL redress campaign was an "apt expression of AJC's credo: You cannot effectively protect the rights of any one community if you do not support the rights of all—and where more so than in the case of a community that was singled out whole scale, as Jews all too often have been, for malign treatment for no other reason than who they are."
Ernest Weiner, the long-time head of AJC's San Francisco office, now retired, played a significant leadership role in galvanizing broad support for the legislation. He received JACL's Edison Udo Award in 2008. AJC Executive Director David Harris, who at the time was director of AJC's Washington Office, worked closely with Weiner and the JACL in advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill in support of the landmark bill.
"We are proud for many decades now to have been partnered with JACL—an effective and principled champion of the civil rights of Japanese Americans and of all Americans—in the quest for an ever better America," said Foltin, who accepted the award on behalf of AJC.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee