Written by: Allan Nadler
While both organizations remain dedicated to combating anti-Jewish prejudice, the ADL's mandate is today more narrowly focused on monitoring and actively responding to instances of bigotry, including not only antisemitic incidents, but all racist activities, and the organizations and public spokesmen who foment them. As such, it has worked closely with other institutions dedicated to fighting racial and religious prejudice, such as the NAACP and Southern Poverty Law Center.
The American Jewish Committee has long sponsored a broader educational and cultural agenda that includes interfaith dialogue with Christians and Muslims, public education about Judaism, and the publication of the prominent pro-Israel journal, Commentary. The American Jewish Committee maintains numerous community-relations boards across the country to foster positive inter-religious and inter-ethnic cultural relations with other minority communities.
The other major national Jewish organization, the American Jewish Congress, was founded in the aftermath of World War I to advocate for the rights of displaced European Jews to immigrate to the United States. For many years, it was led by such luminaries as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and was the most politically outspoken, activist, and powerful Jewish advocacy group in the world.
In 1936, leaders of the American Jewish Congress and a representative group of European Jews created the World Jewish Congress to deal with international affairs of Jewish concern in a similar matter—from fighting Nazism and Communist repression of Judaism in the Soviet Union, to supporting the creation of the State of Israel. The World Jewish Congress today enjoys NGO delegate status at the United Nations. The American Jewish Congress, which since 1936 has focused on North American issues, has maintained an activist, liberal political and legal agenda, from free speech and church-state separation to women's reproductive rights. The President of the American Jewish Committee at the height of the Civil Rights struggle in the deep south, Rabbi Joachim Prinz, was a principle organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington and worked closely with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in advancing equality for African Americans. Of the three major Jewish organizations, the American Jewish Committee is the most ideological liberal and politically activist.