Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Back to Opinion

Alon’s New Hat

The naming of Alon Pinkas as the new chief executive officer of the American Jewish Congress breaks just about every rule in the unwritten code of Israel-Diaspora relations. It puts an Israeli citizen at the helm of a venerable Jewish agency that prides itself on its distinctly American identity. It puts the organization on a dovish path at a time when hawks rule the roost in most of the organized Jewish advocacy field.

Most important, it violates a sensitive Israeli rule that diplomats not move directly from a diplomatic posting into a local job in the country where they served. In Israeli eyes, such behavior is seen as tantamount to jumping ship.

For all that, the appointment may well be the master-stroke that puts the American Jewish Congress back on a path to recovery after years of drift. Pinkas is one of the smartest players in the international field of Middle East diplomacy, and his leadership will automatically put the organization back at the center of things. As a Laborite serving as a spokesman for a Likud government, he knows when to pick a fight and when to fall in line. A former journalist and a lead figure in Israeli outreach to the Diaspora, he knows the American Jewish communal world and its role in the broader national debate better than almost anyone else, American or Israeli.

Most important, he is a pragmatic dove who can put the American Jewish Congress back where it belongs, as a voice of smart, tough-minded American Jewish liberalism.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.