Blog Posts Related to the American Jewish Community

  • Letter from Prague: Every Day a Miracle

    Ambassador Norm Eisen and his Mother

    Ambassador Norm Eisen and his mother. (Photo from United States Embassy in Czech Republic)

    Many of our US ambassadors have strong family connections to their host nations, and I am no exception.  My mother, who passed away earlier this year, was born in then-Czechoslovakia, survived the Holocaust, and later fled Communism and immigrated to the US.  She was very proud that I had returned to the Czech Republic representing the mightiest nation on earth.  She liked to tell people that “the Nazis deported me and my family to Auschwitz in a cattle car, and my son flew back on Air Force One!”  I am so glad that we shared a last adventure together in the form of my ambassadorship before she passed.

    While it is a great honor to serve, returning to a place where my mom, the rest of my family, and so many other Czechs and Slovaks were oppressed by the Nazis and the Communists, was not without its challenges.  I felt the weight of that history particularly during the first weeks of living in my residence – a home built by a Czech Jewish family that was commandeered by the Nazi General Staff before being purchased by the US after World War II.  Not long after moving in I discovered a swastika and a Nazi inventory number affixed underneath a beautiful antique table in my foyer—-seeing that was a stab in the heart.

  • Jack Lew Speaks to the American Jewish Committee Global Forum

    Last night, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew spoke at the American Jewish Committee Global Forum. There, he praised the Committee’s decades of work to build a better world at home and abroad. He also stressed the steps the President has taken to prevent a second Great Depression and create an economy built to last. And he reiterated our commitment to the unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel.

    Below are his full remarks as prepared for delivery.

  • Remarks by Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Anti-Defamation League

    On April 29th, Secretary Janet Napolitano was honored by the Anti-Defamation League with the William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award for her work as Secretary of Homeland Security in combatting terrorism, extremism, and injustice. The Secretary's full remarks are below.

    Thank you, Abe, for your kind words.

    I’ve been privileged to work with the Anti-Defamation League since the 1990s and was honored to receive the ADL Leader of Distinction award as Arizona Attorney General, and your “Torch of Liberty” award as Governor, as Abe mentioned.

    I am truly humbled again tonight to receive the William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award, for the Department of Homeland Security’s work to “combat terrorism, extremism, and injustice”.

  • Remarks by Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer to the American Jewish Committee of Greater Miami and Broward

    Last week, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer addressed the American Jewish Committee of Greater Miami and Broward where she reiterated the Administration's committment to normalizing Israel's status in the UN and countering efforts to de-legitimize the Jewish state.

    Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer's full remarks are below.

    I want to thank Brian Siegel and the American Jewish Committee of Greater Miami and Broward for hosting me and opening your doors again for me to discuss multilateral cooperation between the United States and Israel.

    Today I am going to focus on the Administration’s far-reaching efforts to normalize Israel’s status in and across the UN and broader multilateral system, and to counter head-on efforts of de-legitimization. I know these are issues AJC cares deeply about and has focused on internationally.

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Commemorates Holocaust Days of Remembrance at Marshall Center

    This morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered remarks at the Marshall Center commemorating the Holocaust Days of Remembrance. The Secretary's full remarks are below.

    Well, thank you very much, Tina.  And thank you for the work that you do and the bureau does and the impact that it continues to make.  I’m very pleased to join with all of you today.  I want to welcome Ambassador Szapary and Ambassador Simonyi – former Ambassador Simonyi, other distinguished guests, and in particular, just a few of the extended Lantos family members.  But I would like the Lantos family members, in particular her – Annette’s daughters, “little” Annette and Katrina, and the other members of the family just to stand so that we can recognize you.  (Applause.)

     

  • President Obama Speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

    President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., April 23, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama spoke at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about honoring the pledge of “never again” by making sure we are doing everything we can to prevent and end atrocities and save lives.

    After being introduced by Professor Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, the President spoke of the importance of telling our children—and all future generations—about that dark and evil time in human history when six million innocent men, women, and children were murdered just because they were Jewish.

    We must tell our children. But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, "never again" is a challenge to us all -- to pause and to look within.

    For the Holocaust may have reached its barbaric climax at Treblinka and Auschwitz and Belzec, but it started in the hearts of ordinary men and women. And we have seen it again -- madness that can sweep through peoples, sweep through nations, embed itself. The killings in Cambodia, the killings in Rwanda, the killings in Bosnia, the killings in Darfur -- they shock our conscience, but they are the awful extreme of a spectrum of ignorance and intolerance that we see every day; the bigotry that says another person is less than my equal, less than human. These are the seeds of hate that we cannot let take root in our heart.

  • Preventing and Responding to Atrocities: An Interactive Discussion

    Ed. Note: This live event has concluded. Watch the on-demand introduction video below and watch all of the panels on the White House's YouTube page.

    This morning, President Obama spoke at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate the Holocaust, saying, "We must tell our children. But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, "never again" is a challenge to us all -- to pause and to look within." Read the President's full remarks here.

    This afternoon, the White House is hosting an event to honor the pledge of "never again" and we are inviting all of you to join in the interactive discussion. Beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET, you can watch the White House event with Administration officials, student leaders and organizations about how communities across America are mobilizing and playing a role in saving lives around the word. 

  • Panetta Honors Holocaust Victims and Survivors at Pentagon

    Secretary Panetta and Israeli Defense Minister Barak Light a Candle at Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony

    Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta assists Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, as they light candles during a Holocaust Remembrance Observance held in the Pentagon Auditorium Thursday, April 19, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Glenn Fawcett, Department of Defense)

    Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta joined Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak in commemorating the victims and survivors of the Holocaust at an event marking Yom HaShoah. The Secretary's remarks are below.

     

    Holocaust Remembrance Day Observance
     
     
    As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, The Pentagon Auditorium, Washington D.C., Thursday, April 19, 2012
     

    Thank you Secretary Mabus.

    Minister Barak, distinguished guests, members of the DoD family:  Thank you all for taking the time to come together on this day of remembrance of one of the most painful and horrific chapters in the history of the Jewish people and, more importantly, in the history of the world. 

    Today we pause to remember and honor six million souls who were murdered not because of anything they had done, but because of who they were.  They will always be in our memory, they will always be in our prayers, and they will always be in our hearts.