David Harris (advocate)
- Not to be confused with David A. Harris, President and C.E.O. of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
June 2, 1949 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Advocate; Executive Director, American Jewish Committee (AJC), Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the Executive Director|
Harris was born in 1949. He grew up in New York City and attended the Franklin School. In 1971, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He received a master's degree and completed his doctoral studies at the London School of Economics. Harris also was a Senior Associate at Oxford University (St. Antony's College).
In 1979, he began working for the American Jewish Committee (AJC). In 1981, he left the AJC to take a position at the National Coalition Supporting Soviet Jewry. In 1984, he returned to the AJC and became head of its Washington, D.C. office in 1987. Since 1990, Harris has served as the Executive Director of the AJC.
He is married and the father of three children.
Harris is a leading Jewish advocate who meets with world leaders to advance Israel's diplomatic standing and promote international human rights and inter-religious and inter-ethnic understanding.
In 1974 and again in 1981, he was twice detained by Soviet authorities and, on the first occasion, was expelled from the country. In 1987, Harris was asked by the Jewish community to serve as the national coordinator for Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jewry—the 1987 demonstration in Washington that drew over 250,000 participants, the largest Jewish gathering in American history.
For 16 years, Harris was involved in the successful struggle to repeal the infamous "Zionism is racism" resolution (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1975, only the second time in UN history a resolution was repealed. He spearheaded the AJC's successful campaign to change Israel's status at the United Nations as the only nation ineligible to sit on the Security Council and to include it in one of the United Nations' five regional groups.
On behalf of AJC, Harris has been involved in a number of humanitarian initiatives in response to natural and man-made disasters, including in the Balkans, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States.
Harris has testified  before the United States Congress in both the House and the Senate on several occasions regarding the Middle East, NATO expansion, Russian and Soviet affairs, and anti-Semitism, as well as before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the French Parliament. He has spoken at Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities and many forums in Europe.
David Harris is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2000–2002, he was a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. In 2003, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Hebrew Union College. From 2009-2011, he served as a Senior Associate at Oxford University (St. Antony’s College).
- In the Trenches: Selected Speeches and Writings of an American Jewish Activist, Vol. 1, 1979–99, KTAV, ISBN 978-0-88125-693-2
- In the Trenches: Selected Speeches and Writings of an American Jewish Activist, Vol. 2, 2000–01, KTAV, ISBN 978-0-88125-779-3
- In the Trenches: Selected Speeches and Writings of an American Jewish Activist, Vol. 3, 2002–03, KTAV, ISBN 978-0-88125-842-4
- In the Trenches: Selected speeches and Writings of an American Jewish Activist, Vol. 4, 2004–05, KTAV, ISBN 978-0-88125-927-8
- In the Trenches: Selected Speeches and Writings of an American Jewish Activist, Vol. 5, 2006–07, KTAV, ISBN 978-0-88125-927-8
- The Jewish World, HIAS, ASIN BOOOIBR1MG
- Entering a New Culture: A Handbook for Soviet Migrants to the United States of America, HIAS, ASIN BOOO6CRK6Y
- The Jokes of Oppression (with Izrail Ravinovich), Jason Aronson, ISBN 978-1-56821-414-6
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