AJC to launch new centers to combat antisemitism in schools, advance group’s Middle East efforts

The programs, according to AJC CEO Ted Deutch, will bring together and advance existing work that the organization has been doing in both areas

The American Jewish Committee is set to launch new programs focused on addressing antisemitism in education and expanding the organization’s efforts in the Middle East on Tuesday, the group’s CEO Ted Deutch told eJewishPhilanthropy on the sidelines of the AJC Global Forum in Washington, D.C., ahead of the announcements.

Responding to the situation on college campuses and in K-12 education, Deutch said that AJC will be launching a new Center for Education Advocacy, an “expansive” initiative focused on confronting campus antisemitism, which he described as “the most urgent crisis domestically for us to confront.”

He said the program will bring together AJC’s existing education-focused programs, including “empowering” students and parents across the country, helping heads of K-12 schools confront antisemitism and working with university leaders to ensure that they are protecting Jewish students and enforcing conduct codes.

“What’s happening on college campuses isn’t just about Jewish kids. It’s about the future business leaders and tech leaders and elected leaders in America,” Deutch said. “So we feel that it’s vitally important to transform the educational experience on campus, so that universities can rid themselves of antisemitism so that our K-12 schools don’t allow it to seep in, to benefit, again, not just the Jewish kids, but society as a whole.”

He also said AJC will be launching a Center for a New Middle East to advance the organization’s existing work in Israel and the Gulf.

“We think that this is the moment to focus on what’s going to happen when the war ends,” Deutch said. “Everyone’s focused on the day after in Gaza, as are we. We think that’s obviously critically important. But we also think it’s necessary to focus on the decade after in the region, and what it will look like when Israel normalizes with more countries.”

He said the center will host conferences and business programs in the U.S., Israel and the Gulf, as well as work with emerging leaders in Israel and the Arab world.

Deutch said that AJC has “long-standing relationships in Saudi Arabia,” adding that the prospect of normalization with Saudi Arabia would be “a game changer in the region.”

AJC also announced a global call to action against antisemitism at the conference, alongside leaders from 35 countries and three multinational umbrella organizations on Sunday. Deutch said the initiative is an outgrowth of AJC’s past work and its collaboration with the White House on its antisemitism strategy.

He said that “it’s time for the world to approach [antisemitism]” as a threat that “doesn’t just affect the Jewish community” but rather as “a threat that society as a whole ought to confront.”

Additionally, AJC will be collaborating with the Jewish Agency for Israel to educate Jewish Agency shlichim about the antisemitism facing American Jews and initiatives aimed at building ties between Jewish and Israeli teens. In January, the Jewish Agency launched a similar initiative with the Anti-Defamation League.