NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC CEO David Harris today issued a statement reaffirming the global Jewish advocacy organization's principles and vision for America.
The full statement follows:
In the wake of the U.S. Presidential election, and on the eve of Thanksgiving, it's important to reaffirm what we, at AJC, stand for.
We cherish our great nation and the unprecedented freedom and opportunity it affords, including the precious right to vote, free and fair elections, and smooth transfers of power from one administration to another.
We take special pride in the American motto "E pluribus unum." Indeed, at AJC, we are, and have always been, passionate pluralists. The strength of our nation derives in such large measure from its rich tapestry of racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.
We aspire to live in a society which doesn't simply "tolerate" diversity, but welcomes it, seeing it as a vital component of who we are as a nation.
We seek in our relations with other communities to enhance mutual respect and understanding, and to build coalitions of conscience in defense of shared values.
We fully understand that election periods often divide our nation. Post-election periods should be devoted to uniting us. Presidential candidates may be elected by half the population, but, once chosen, they represent the entire country.
Campaigns frequently generate rhetoric that sounds appealing to some voters, but, in reality, are little more than unexamined sound bites and crowd pleasers. History has shown that not all pledges made in the heat of a tight race turn into policy. This has been true of both Democratic and Republican winners. We need, therefore, to understand how a successful candidate plans to govern before making sweeping judgments based largely, or even exclusively, on the language of the primary and electoral periods.
President Obama recently said: "It's important for us to let [President-elect Trump] make his decisions. The American people will judge over the course of the next couple of years whether they like what they see." We agree with this approach. We may or may not respond well to each appointment, but we proceed in the belief, at the start, that the President will shape the direction of our nation -- and those who work for him must follow his lead.
At the same time, nominations and appointments send signals, all the more so when there is still considerable uncertainty, because of no prior governing experience in the case of President-elect Trump, about our country's course following the inauguration on January 20th. We especially urge President-elect Trump to take into account the concerns of many members of minority communities, who are understandably alarmed about the polarizing, even incendiary, rhetoric used by some in the recent campaign. We respectfully urge him to find early opportunities, both in words and deeds, to stress his commitment to the well-being and protection of all our nation's citizens.
We are strong believers in America's international engagement. While it may be tempting for some to call for retreat from the international stage, history has amply shown the high cost of such views. When America looks inward, huge vacuums are created internationally, which other state and non-state actors, whose values and goals are often diametrically opposed to ours, step in. We must not let this happen.
Particularly important, in our view, is the reaffirmation of our nation's commitment to our allies and treaty obligations, beginning with our most natural partners -- other democratic, like-minded nations on every continent, as well as the unique political structure of the European Union and security architecture of NATO.
In this spirit, we believe that the U.S.-Israel relationship embodies America's highest values, as well as the promotion of our vital interests in the Middle East. And Israel's neighbors and peace partners, Egypt and Jordan, are also among our essential partners in the region, as are America's allies and Israel's future peace partners in the Arabian Gulf and North Africa.
We have long supported Israel's age-old aspirations for enduring peace with all its neighbors, beginning with the Palestinians, and the indispensable role of the United States in the quest for such an accord. Time and again, Israel has been confronted with rejection, incitement, and attempted delegitimization. We long for the day when the Palestinians will extend an outstretched hand of peace, and we urge Israel and the new U.S. Administration not to lose sight of such a possibility -- and the two-state agreement that would result.
We have always been optimistic about the promise of America. We have always believed in America's resilience and regenerative power. We have always advocated for an America that stands for protection of human dignity. And we have always contended that America's unique place in the world is built on the strength of our values as much as the strength of our military and economy.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, a particularly meaningful holiday for all of us, we give thanks, as always, for the gift of America in our lives.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee