By AJC, Special for USDR
Founding members of the Latino Jewish Leadership Council (LJLC) gathered yesterday in Washington, D.C. for their first face-to-face meeting since the group was established in January. Expressing “steadfast commitment to jointly advocating for issues of common concern and to defend values cherished by both communities,” Council members adopted a Statement of Latino and Jewish Joint Purpose and Action that sets forth the principles and goals of the new group.
The full statement is available at www.ajc.org and below.
Convened by AJC, the Council is comprised of more than 35 prominent figures in the Latino and Jewish communities across the country. LJLC aims to further strengthen Latino-Jewish cooperation in advocating for issues of shared concern and values cherished by both communities. Many members of the bipartisan group have held important positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations.
During their half-day of discussions, Council members agreed to focus initially on immigration reform, combating discrimination and bigotry, and foreign policy regarding the Americas and the Middle East.
The full statement follows:
A STATEMENT OF LATINO AND JEWISH JOINT PURPOSE AND ACTION
On March 1st, 2017, the founding members of the recently launched Latino Jewish Leadership Council (LJLC) attended the body’s first consultation in Washington, DC. The group of prominent national U.S. Latino and Jewish leaders expressed their steadfast commitment to jointly advocating for issues of common concern and to defend values cherished by both communities.
Members emerged from this meeting inspired by the commonalities that bind the Jewish and Latino experiences, as diverse immigrant and diaspora communities with strong ties to their ancestral and/or native homelands, and as peoples with first-hand knowledge of the consequences of prejudice and discrimination.
United by the shared values of freedom, justice, and human rights, and recognizing joint historical and cultural connections, they share the conviction that this relationship continues to hold great promise as they join forces to advance the multifaceted domestic and foreign policy interests of the U.S.
At a time when prejudice and hate crimes are on the rise and entire communities have been stigmatized, the creation of this Council reinforces the notion of shared destiny, while underscoring that our nation’s strength and resilience derives from its diversity, inclusiveness and openness. The Council will also seek to reinforce the U.S. strategic and mutually beneficial partnership with Latin America and with Israel based on shared values, historical and cultural affinities and vital interests. It will endeavor to ensure that ties between our country and the nations of Latin America are based on friendship, respect and co-responsibility.
LATINO JEWISH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL POLICY POSITIONS
IMMIGRATION REFORM: As communities proud of our immigrant past and present, we acknowledge the economic, social, and cultural contributions of immigrants to the U.S. We call for common sense solutions to meet the economic and national security needs of the U.S. in the 21st century, while reflecting our shared American values of justice, equal opportunity, family unification, and human dignity.
COMBATING DISCRIMINATION AND BIGOTRY: We affirm that diversity is one of this country’s greatest asset. As partners and allies with whom we share common historical experiences, values and interests, we know that our strengths lie both in our commonalities and in our diversity, within and among our communities. The rise of anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric, alongside a resurgence of antisemitism, and the ongoing increase in hate crimes, is inherently at odds with the country that welcomed our families and allowed us to contribute to this nation. Together, we commit to stand up when any community suffers prejudice and bigotry or is targeted for hostile treatment.
FOREIGN POLICY: As leaders, we seek to build a world that is secure and peaceful for all in which U.S. leadership continues to play a constructive role. We affirm our responsibility to contribute to the shaping of U.S. foreign policy in the Americas and the Middle East. Together we will advocate for the furtherance of critical trilateral relationships among the U.S., the countries of Latin America and Israel as strategic allies. We will work to strengthen partnerships that advance stability and prosperity in the Hemisphere for all. We affirm the right of Israel as the Jewish homeland to exist in peace within secure borders. Just as we support the unbreakable bonds of friendship between the United States and Israel, we believe in the critical U.S.-Latin America partnership.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee