“Chicago hosting NATO was the perfect opportunity for our city’s AJC leadership to engage directly with the leaders of countries, many of whom have long been known to us, and all of whom are important to our concerns as Americans and as Jews,” said Dan Elbaum, director of AJC Chicago. “We were pleased with our friendly and intensive discussions.”
Over a two-day period, AJC Chicago leaders met privately with, among others, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneiev; Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird; Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs; Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Boguslaw Winid; Romanian Foreign Minister Andrei Marga; and Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margello.
Topping the agenda in each meeting was Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons capability, which AJC, like the U.S. and EU, views as a grave threat to global security. An AJC full-page ad on the Iran nuclear threat appeared in Monday’s Chicago Tribune. AJC encouraged the NATO ministers to continue to stand firm in implementing ever-increasing sanctions against Iran and, at the same time, to keep all options credibly on the table.
Other pressing issues discussed included the implications of political upheavals across the Arab world, how to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the importance of a vibrant transatlantic partnership and robust NATO. AJC took a leadership role as a NGO in advocating for the successful expansion of NATO to include Central European countries formerly under Soviet domination.