Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP; often referred to as the Presidents' Conference) is a non-profit organization that describes itself as "a central address for key American, Israeli and other world leaders to consult on issues of critical concern to the Jewish community."

Currently comprising 51 national Jewish organizations, the Conference meets relatively infrequently to make major statements or meet with important leaders. The Conference was founded to develop a consensus voice among various Jewish organizations when dealing with the executive branch, and to promote the State of Israel in the United States; those remain its primary task. The Conference does not draft comprehensive policies, nor does it do conventional lobbying; these are done, respectively, by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.



The Conference was created in 1956 in response to requests from President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his administration. The American Jewish community of the period was experiencing a large growth in its similar policy groups (such as the American Jewish Committee and American Jewish Congress) and the increasing influence of the Jewish denominations on politics (particularly from Orthodox and Conservative Jews). The Eisenhower administration wanted an easier method to gauge the opinion of the community, without having to wade into the internal politics of the community, and polling leaders of each organization. The Conference established a unified voice for the community, one that government officials could consult on important matters.

For its first 30 years the Conference was led by one man, Yehuda Hellman. After his death in 1986, Malcolm Hoenlein became Chairman; Hoenlein remains the Conference's Executive Vice Chairman. Hoenlein took a much stronger role in shaping U.S. policy, especially within the executive branch.[1]

The Presidents Conference and AIPAC work together closely, with all members of the conference sitting on AIPAC's executive committee, which is distinct from its board of directors. The two organizations follow a clear division of labor, however; the conference focuses on the executive branch of the U.S. government, while AIPAC concentrates its lobbying on Congress.[1]

The Conference's chairperson is Alan Solow.[2]


The Conference's website states that it engages in "consensus policy, collective action, and maximizing the resources of the American Jewish community," in particular, "when events in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere affect the American Jewish community."

The stated goals of the Conference include:

  • Strengthening and fostering the special U.S.-Israel relationship.
  • Ensuring that Israel's interests are heard and understood by policy makers, opinion molders and the American public.
  • Addressing critical foreign policy issues that impact the American Jewish community.
  • Representing the interests of organized American Jewry.
  • Protecting and enhancing the security and dignity of Jews around the world.[3]

International Leadership Award

In December 2008, the Conference presented Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and his government as a whole, with its inaugural "International Leadership Award" for his support for Israel. Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the conference, stated that the award was given to express the group's appreciation for Canada's "courageous stands" to boycott the Durban II anti-racism conference. He also praised Canada's "support for Israel and [its] efforts at the U.N. against incitement and ... the delegitimization [of Israel], where they have taken a role in the forefront."[4]

Support for Jonathan Pollard

In December 2008, the Conference asked President George W. Bush to pardon Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. navy analyst who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel. Malcolm Hoenlein stated that Pollard should be pardoned on humanitarian grounds, adding that "It's time that he be released. He has expressed remorse."[5]

Meeting with Pope Benedict XVI

On February 12 2009, the Conference's leaders met with Pope Benedict XVI in order to re-assert the importance of Jewish-Catholic relations in the wake of the controversy over negationist comments made by Society of St. Pius X bishop Richard Williamson. [6]

List of member organizations

As of 2008, member organizations included the following:

  1. Ameinu
  2. American Friends of Likud, a group supporting the right-wing Likud party that has been a leading force in Israeli politics since 1977.[7]
  3. American Gathering/Federation of Jewish Holocaust Survivors
  4. America-Israel Friendship League
  5. American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
  6. American Jewish Committee
  7. American Jewish Congress
  8. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
  9. American Sephardi Federation
  10. American Zionist Movement, a coalition of Zionist groups and individuals, and the American affiliate of the World Zionist Organization.[7]
  11. Americans for Peace Now
  12. AMIT
  13. Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
  14. Association of Reform Zionists of America/World Union North America, the Zionist arm of the Reform movement and an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism.[7]
  15. B'nai B'rith International
  16. Bnai Zion
  17. Central Conference of American Rabbis
  18. Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
  19. Development Corporation for Israel/State of Israel Bonds: Since 1951, Israel Bonds sales have helped Israel’s Finance Ministry support projects in key sectors. Bond sales have exceeded $25 billion.[7]
  20. Emunah of America: Chapters and divisions around the United States support Israel’s largest Religious Zionist educational and social welfare organizations.[7]
  21. Friends of Israel Defense Forces: Supports social, educational, and recreational programs and facilities for Israeli soldiers and supports bereaved relatives of fallen soldiers.[7]
  22. Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America
  23. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  24. Jewish Community Centers Association
  25. Jewish Council for Public Affairs
  26. Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs
  27. Jewish Labor Committee
  28. Jewish National Fund
  29. Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
  30. Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America (JWV)
  31. Jewish Women International
  32. MERCAZ USA, Zionist Organization of the Conservative Movement
  33. NA'AMAT USA: This group has pursued its goal of supporting the women and children of Israel for the past 80 years.[7]
  34. NCSJ Advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia
  35. National Council of Jewish Women
  36. National Council of Young Israel
  37. World ORT - ORT America branch
  38. Rabbinical Assembly (RA)
  39. Rabbinical Council of America (RCA)
  40. Religious Zionists of America (RZA or Mizrahi)
  41. Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)
  42. Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union or OU)
  43. United Jewish Communities (UJC)
  44. United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ)
  45. Women's International Zionist Organization (WIZO)
  46. Women's League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ)
  47. Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ)
  48. Workmen's Circle (Arbeter Ring)
  49. World Zionist Executive, US
  50. Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)


  1. ^ a b Michael Massing, Deal Breakers The American Prospect, March 11, 2002.
  2. ^ Current Leadership, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations - website.
  3. ^ About the Conference, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations - website.
  4. ^ Presidents Conference to honor Harper, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), December 4, 2008.
  5. ^ Pres. Conf. calls for Pollard pardon, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), December 5, 2008.
  6. ^ Papal audience
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Avrum Ehrlich, Encyclopedia of the Jewish diaspora: origins, experiences, and culture, Vol.1, (2008)p.640

See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS OF MAJOR AMERICAN JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS — (Presidents Conference). The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations was organized in 1955 out of a growing awareness that unified action by major American Jewish organizations was essential to help strengthen American… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — Die Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP, „Presidents Conference“) mit Sitz in New York City ist ein Dachverband jüdischer Organisationen in den USA. CoP beschreibt sich selbst als „eine zentrale Adresse für US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (La Conferencia de Presidentes de las Organizaciones Judías de EE.UU., abreviado como COP) se autodescribe como un lugar central para los estadounidenses e israelíes clave y… …   Wikipedia Español

  • AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE AJC — AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE (AJC), oldest Jewish defense organization in the United States, established in 1906 to prevent the infraction of the civil and religious rights of Jews, in any part of the world. It was formed as one response to the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament — Conference of Presidents redirects here. Conference of Presidents may also refer to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. European Union This article is part of the series …   Wikipedia

  • American Jewish University — Motto The American Jewish University of Tomorrow Established 1947 Type Pr …   Wikipedia

  • National Museum of American Jewish Military History — Coordinates: 38°54′46″N 77°02′31″W / 38.912833°N 77.041917°W / 38.912833; 77.041917 …   Wikipedia

  • AMERICAN GATHERING OF JEWISH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS — AMERICAN GATHERING OF JEWISH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS. Immediately after the World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Israel in June 1981, a new organization was established to prepare for another event, the American Gathering of Jewish… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America — Infobox Organization name = Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America image border = size = 200px caption = membership = 32,000 abbreviation = JWV formation = 1896 headquarters = 1811 R Street NW Washington, D.C. 20009 leader title =… …   Wikipedia

  • Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs — The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) is a Washington, D.C. based non profit neoconservative think tank focusing on issues of United States national security. JINSA s stated aim is threefold: to ensure a strong and effective… …   Wikipedia