Less than a year after taking the reins of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), CEO Ted Deutch made his first official visit to the Dallas community Sept. 10-12. Deutch, a lifelong Jewish and pro-Israel activist, joined AJC following more than 12 years of service in the United States House of Representatives, representing Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida.
In Congress, Deutch served as chair of the House Ethics Committee, senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which he served as chair of the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee.
He collaborated closely with members on both sides of the aisle to advance the security interests of the United States, Israel and their allies. Deutch authored legislation advancing U.S.-Israel cooperation in energy, agriculture, technology and trade; fought back against efforts to delegitimize Israel at the United Nations; championed U.S. foreign aid investments that promote global human rights and the protection of religious minorities worldwide; and focused on the transformational opportunities made possible by the Abraham Accords. He also passed federal legislation to crack down on companies that financially support Iran’s nuclear weapons program and to confront Iran’s dangerous activities around the world.
As a founder of the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, Deutch spoke passionately on the House floor, confronting colleagues who invoked antisemitic tropes or disparaged Israel. In response to rising hatred on social media, he helped launch an interparliamentary coalition to combat online antisemitism with legislators from Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom and Australia.
AJC Dallas President Stuart Blaugrund noted, “Ted is a towering figure in global Jewish advocacy. With his command of issues ranging from defending Israel against those who would delegitimize it, facilitating the normalization of relations between Israel and key Arab states, tackling antisemitism and preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, our community had the opportunity to see firsthand why he is a key player in government and policy circles on matters of critical import to world Jewry.”
In addition to meetings with key stakeholders, Deutch spoke to AJC Dallas leaders at a board dinner held at Communities Foundation of Texas. Following dinner, attendees were joined for an exclusive dessert reception by members of the host committee for the Oct. 30 Milton I. Tobian Community Relations Award Dinner, which will honor Mark Zilbermann.
At the end of the evening, a dozen and a half members of AJC ACCESS had an opportunity to have a drink with Ted and hear from him in an informal setting. ACCESS, AJC’s young adult division, has only recently been relaunched in Dallas, reflecting AJC’s overarching commitment to young leadership that has grown exponentially in recent years. According to AJC ACCESS Dallas Board Member Olivia Sinrich, “Ted and the local AJC team took great care to ensure that my peers and I could connect directly with him, ask about AJC’s initiatives and voice our concerns about the challenges that we see facing the Jewish community. He did more than just listen, working with us to develop next steps — a testament to AJC’s action-focused mission.”
A breakfast the next morning brought together supporters of AJC and Federation for a candid conversation between Ted and AJC Board of Governors Member Adam Lampert. The wide-ranging discussion included perspectives on the Abraham Accords, AJC’s role in inspiring and implementing the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism and the importance of the recent AJC conference and upcoming Federation mission to Israel during turbulent times.
The breakfast was attended by dozens of AJC and Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas supporters. Rabbi Mordechai Harris, JFGD chief impact officer, said, “Ted’s recap of his first year leading AJC reinforced the tremendous importance of strategic community partnerships. It was also a great reminder that the essential relationships needed to rise to unanticipated challenges, or to seize sudden opportunities, are formed and nurtured well ahead of when their impact is most felt.”