WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A leading Greek American organization honored AJC Executive Director David Harris today with its prestigious Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award at a ceremony in the Capitol building. The Oxi Day Foundation chose Harris in recognition of his "lifelong contribution to combating anti-Semitism, discrimination and intolerance, and for his efforts to forge strong bonds between the Greek and Jewish peoples."
Ambassador Thomas Miller, former U.S. ambassador to Greece, presented the award during the Third Annual Washington Oxi Day Celebration, attended by Members of Congress, ambassadors and other dignitaries.
"This award is an inspiration to me and AJC to understand that there is always something else, something more we could do," said Harris, who has headed the global Jewish advocacy organization since 1990. "When it comes to moral courage, Metropolitan Chrysostomos set the bar incredibly high."
The award is named after Metropolitan Chrysostomos, the Greek Orthodox Church leader on the island of Zakinthos who, together with Mayor Loukas Karrer, saved all 275 Jews on the island during the Nazi occupation. When the Nazis asked Chrysostomos for a list of all Jews living on Zakinthos, he produced a list of two names only, his and the mayor's. In 1978, Yad Vashem named Chrysostomos and Karrer "Righteous Among the Nations" for saving Jews during the Holocaust.
"Like the Metropolitan, Mr. Harris does not wait for a convenient time to put himself and AJC on the right side of history," said Rep. Gus Bilirakis, co-chair of the Hellenic-Israel Alliance.
The Alliance's other co-chair, Rep. Ted Deutch, said, "David Harris is the Secretary of State of the American Jewish community."
Senator Ben Cardin praised Harris for his leadership in "fighting all forms of discrimination."
The Washington Oxi Day Foundation is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization dedicated to informing American policymakers and the public about the profound role Greece played in bringing about the outcome of World War II and celebrating modern day heroes who exhibit the same courage as the Greeks did in continuing to fight to preserve and promote freedom and democracy around the world.
"I cannot tell you how important, how very important, David Harris' voice is--in support of Greek-Jewish relations, in support of Greece-Israel relations, in support of Greece-U.S. relations," said Rep. Nita Lowey. "No matter what the injustice, David's voice is there. No matter what the issue, David Harris--with his eloquence, intelligence, and respect--is there."
Last year's recipient of the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award was Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee