David Harris (advocate)

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Not to be confused with David A. Harris, President and C.E.O. of the National Jewish Democratic Council.[1]
David Harris
David Harris (AJC).jpg
Born (1949-09-23) September 23, 1949 (age 69)
OccupationAdvocate; Executive Director, American Jewish Committee (AJC), Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the Executive Director

David Harris (born September 23, 1949) is the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC),[2] one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations in the United States.[3][4][5][6][7]


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).[8]

In 1979, he began working for the American Jewish Committee (AJC).[9][10] 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.

Professional activity[edit]

Harris is a leading Jewish advocate[11][12][13] who meets with world leaders[14][15][16] to advance Israel's diplomatic standing and promote international human rights and inter-religious and inter-ethnic understanding.[17][18]

Harris was central to the emigration of over one million Jews from the Soviet Union.[19][20][21][22]

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[23] for Soviet Jewry[24]—the 1987 demonstration in Washington that drew over 250,000 participants, the largest Jewish gathering in American history.[25]

For 16 years, Harris was involved in the successful struggle to repeal the infamous "Zionism is racism" resolution (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379)[26] adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1975, only the second time in UN history a resolution was repealed.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[27] at the United Nations as the only nation ineligible to sit on the Security Council[28] 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[29] in response to natural and man-made disasters, including in the Balkans, Middle East,[30] Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United States.

Harris has testified [31] before the United States Congress in both the House and the Senate on several occasions regarding the Middle East, NATO expansion, Russian[32] 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.[33]

In 2008, Harris was the first American Jewish leader to speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos at a plenary session entitled, "Faith and Modernization".[34]


David Harris is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[35] In 2000–2002, he was a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.[36][37][38] 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).[8]

Published works[edit]

  • In the Trenches: Selected Speeches and Writings of an American Jewish Activist, Vol. 1, 1979–99, KTAV, ISBN 978-0-88125-693-2[39]
  • 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[40]
  • 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


  1. ^ http://blogs.jta.org/telegraph/article/2011/12/12/3090692/david-harris-david-harris-problem
  2. ^ Cohen, Roger (February 11, 2008). "No Manchurian Candidate - New York Times". Israel;Middle East: Nytimes.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  3. ^ Mozgovaya, Natasha (February 17, 2011). "American Jewish Committee urges UN: Suspend Libya from Human Rights Council - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News". Haaretz.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  4. ^ "Leaders react to foiled Iranian plot - Sun Sentinel". Articles.sun-sentinel.com. October 18, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  5. ^ "CNN - Israeli politics closely watched by American Jews - May 27, 1996". Edition.cnn.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  6. ^ "Column: Will GOP fumble with Jewish voters? –". Usatoday.com. October 31, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  7. ^ "Most Popular E-mail Newsletter". USA Today. October 31, 2011.
  8. ^ a b http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2009/09/08/1007717/why-david-harris-john-mearsheimer-wont-happen-until-2010
  9. ^ Cohen, Patricia (January 31, 2007). "American Jewish Committee - Anti-Semitism - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (August 3, 2011). "Seeking Balance on the Mideast". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Bernstein, Richard (September 3, 1993). "For Jews in America, a Time For New Hope and New Fear - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  12. ^ Schachter, Abby W. (November 8, 2011). "Quel shoc! Sarkozy hates Netanyahu". Nypost.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  13. ^ Eshman, Rob. "Poor sports | Opinion". Jewish Journal. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "Candidates for U.N. Secretary-General post consult with U.S. Jewish leaders; | World". Jewish Journal. September 21, 2006. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  15. ^ http://www.jewpi.com/italy-honors-ajcs-david-harris/
  16. ^ "Lecture by Richard Prasquier and David Harris - Consulat général de France à New York". Consulfrance-newyork.org. November 4, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  17. ^ http://www.ajc.org/atf/cf/%7B42d75369-d582-4380-8395-d25925b85eaf%7D/DAVID%20HARRIS_LIFESTYLES.PDF
  18. ^ "Proposed Unity Pledge Spurs Debate –". Forward.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  19. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vzJIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xAANAAAAIBAJ&pg=1603,3972823&dq=david+harris+american+jewish+committee&hl=en
  20. ^ HighBeam
  21. ^ J.J. Goldberg (April 8, 1999). "Divided we stand - J.J. Goldberg". Salon.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "World's Largest Professional Network". LinkedIn. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  23. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=cdpaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-G0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=3877,2807529&dq=freedom-sunday+jewry&hl=en
  24. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Sr4cAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hGAEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1592,1647648&dq=freedom-sunday+jewry+david+harris&hl=en
  25. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=4LNdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1F0NAAAAIBAJ&pg=1206,9558540&dq=david+harris+american+jewish+committee&hl=en
  26. ^ Minicy Catom Software Engineering Ltd. www.catom.com. "Jewish Political Studies Review - Assessing the American Jewish Institutional Response to Global Ant". Jcpa.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  27. ^ Mozgovaya, Natasha. "Jewish groups congratulate Israel on Gilad Shalit return - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News". Haaretz.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  28. ^ "Why Israel Is Denied Security Council Seat - New York Times". Nytimes.com. September 11, 1995. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  29. ^ Barr, Robert. "Why American Jewish groups support war with Iraq - Iraq". Salon.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  30. ^ "If Iran is building a nuclear bomb, what action should the U.S. take, if any? | 89.3 KPCC". Scpr.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ "National Conference on Soviet Jewry - Pictures". Ncsj.org. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  33. ^ Smith, James F. (April 27, 2009). "US Jews cite gains in racism forum - Worldly Boston - Boston's influence on international and world news". Boston.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  34. ^ Faith and Modernization
  35. ^ "Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations". Cfr.org. December 5, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  36. ^ "The Cutting Edge News". The Cutting Edge News. August 27, 2007. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  37. ^ "Latin American Herald Tribune - Harris: The West Must Not Let Iran Cross the Nuclear Threshold". Laht.com. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  38. ^ "Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs | AJC executive director, David Harris to discuss global leadership at WWS, Feb. 23". Wws.princeton.edu. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  39. ^ http://insct.syr.edu/uploadedFiles/insct/publications/Libya%20Report%2027%20April%202011%20final%20with%20Cover.pdf
  40. ^ http://www.ajc.org/atf/cf/%7B42D75369-D582-4380-8395-D25925B85EAF%7D/wistrich.pdf

External links[edit]