Project Interchange

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Project Interchange is an AJC run project to bring foreign "opinion makers", e.g., journalists, editors, politicians, academics, "terrorism experts", to Israel; in particular, PI has targetted "radio talk show hosts" in the United States. The program is meant to present the Israeli positions and to create a sympathetic ally in the country of origin of the persons who attend the program. While in Israel the PI-attendees meet with government officials, journalists, etc., and of course, a mandatory visit to the Yad Vashem memorial. They are also subjected to a well structured lecture program. To read about what PI program consists of for student leaders see: Israel... An Amazing Experience.

From the AJC Project Interchange website about us:

Founded in 1982, Project Interchange is the only national organization solely dedicated to providing educational seminars in Israel for America’s policy and opinion makers.

Over 3,500 American leaders have participated in Project Interchange's intensive seminars in Israel.

Project Interchange Seminar Participants Include:

  • Members of Congress
  • State and County Officials
  • Homeland Security Officials
  • Congressional Aides
  • Newspaper Writers and Editors
  • Television, Radio Reporters & Producers
  • Counter-Terrorism Experts
  • University Student Leaders
  • Rhodes and Marshall Scholars

Past Project-Interchange Groups

During 2007, there were 26 delegations sent to Israel for indoctrination -- this is the record for Project Interchange.[1]

  • Minority Ethnic or Religious Leaders, August 2008[2]
  • Asian-American leaders, December 2007[3]
  • Thai journalists, November 2007: "A group of leading Thai journalists are visiting Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar"."[4]
  • Philippino Journalists October 2007: "A group of leading Filipino journalists is in Israel on a PI seminar organized together with AJC's Australian partner, AIJAC."[5]
  • Indonesian Journalists October 2007: "A group of Indonesian journalists, coming from the world's most populous Muslim nation, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, made an historic visit to Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar. The delegation included top TV, print, and web journalists."[6]
  • US State and representatives: "State senators and representatives from Illinois, Kansas and Missouri, as well as the Lieutenant Governor of New York, are in Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar focusing on energy."[7]
  • Europe's top security experts September 2007:"Thirteen of Europe's top experts in security and counter-terrorism visited Israel this week on a Project Interchange educational seminar. Coming from Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Turkey, participants included professors, government advisors, university chairs and policy analysts at leading institutions, such as the Centre for European Reform (London), TESEV think tank (Istanbul), the Spanish Ministry of the Interior and the Sciences-Politiques (Paris)."[8]
  • Indian Muslims August 2007: "A delegation of Indian Muslim leaders arrived in Israel today for an unprecedented visit to advance interreligious dialogue and peace. The six-day visit is sponsored by AJC's Project Interchange, in coordination with AIJAC (Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council), an AJC international partner.[9]
  • German Journalists and Policy Advisors July 2007: " Project Interchange is currently hosting an educational seminar in Israel for German policy advisors and journalists. Participants include parliamentary staffers, state officials, journalists and civil society leaders who represent all of the major political parties in Germany."[10]
  • Presidents of US Universities June 2007: From the AJC Newsletter #261: "Project Interchange is hosting its second educational seminar in Israel for presidents of leading U.S. universities. The group will meet with leaders in education and research at the Weizmann Institute, the Technion, Hebrew University, Ben Gurion University and Al-Quds University. They will focus on the challenges of higher education in Israeli and Palestinian societies and explore opportunities for student and faculty exchange, research, and technology transfer, especially in the fields of biotechnology and environmental research." And of course, the focus on this group has all to do with attempting to undermine the calls for an academic boycott of Israel.[11]
  • Greek Journalists: June 2007: "As part of its extensive programming in Europe, Project Interchange held an educational seminar in Israel for leading Greek newspaper editors and television reporters. The group met with Israeli author A. B. Yehoshua; Rajeb Majadele, Israel's minister of Culture, Science and Sports; and the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church. In addition, they attended a concert with Yehuda Poliker, Israel's most popular Greek-Jewish musician, and visited Sderot to examine damage from Qassam rockets and discuss the impact of these attacks with local residents."[12]
  • Turkish journalists April 2007: "A group of leading Turkish journalists and editors met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and other top Israeli officials on a Project Interchange education seminar in Israel. The delegation also met with the Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Israeli journalists, and business leaders advocating stronger ties between Israel and Turkey. Barry Jacobs, AJC's director of strategic affairs, staffed the seminar. This was the fourth Project Interchange mission from Turkey."[13]
  • Rhodes Scholars March 2007: "A group of Rhodes Scholars visited Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar. The group discussed U.S.-Israel relations, the role of the Israeli military in civil society, human rights and Palestinian society. The participants visited the Weizmann Institute to discuss the Israeli hi-tech industry, and toured Sapir College and Hebrew University. The delegation was accompanied by Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC's associate director of Contemporary Jewish Life. The trip for Rhode Scholars is an ongoing program of Project Interchange."[14]
  • Christian Clergy March 2007.[15]
  • Congressional Staffers Feb. 2007: "A bipartisan delegation of senior House and Senate staff, including chiefs of staff and legislative directors, is visiting Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar. The congressional staffers are meeting with, among others, Knesset members and Israeli Foreign Ministry officials. The group will also visit with the Bedouin community in Israel's south and learn about the development of the Negev."[16]
  • Christian Clergy Feb 2007: "Christian clergy from Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia are participating this week in a Project Interchange educational seminar in Israel. The delegation will discuss the complexity of interfaith relations with leading Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy in Israel and the role of religion in peacemaking. The group will travel to Christian sites in the Galilee, meet with Christian, Muslim and Jewish theologians, and learn about the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."[17]
  • Chilean journalists and parliamentarians Jan. 2007: "A group of Chilean journalists and parliamentarians is visiting Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar co-sponsored by AJC's Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs and the Chilean Jewish community organization, CREJ (Confederacion Representiva de Entitades Judias). The group will be briefed by Ms. Irene Bronfman, Chile's Ambassador to Israel, and Hebrew University professor, Mario Sznajder, who will discuss Israel's work addressing the painful history of the Holocaust. Additional sessions will examine Israeli media, women's rights and Israel's efforts to integrate new immigrants, particularly its growing Spanish-speaking community."[18]
  • Student Presidents, Editors Jan. 2007: "Project Interchange is currently hosting educational seminars in Israel for college student body presidents and college newspaper editors. The student body presidents will meet with counterparts at Hebrew University and the College of Judaea and Shomron in Ariel, as well as student pioneers who are developing the Negev. The newspaper editors will meet with Ethiopian, Russian and mainstream Israeli radio and print journalists; student journalists, IDF soldiers from the leading radio station in Israel, Galei Tzahal, and a Palestinian journalist. In addition to meeting senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, academics and leaders, some members of each group will travel to Israel's north to survey the effects of the summer war with Hezbollah."[19]
  • Immigration Specialists Dec. 2006: "Project Interchange hosted an educational seminar for immigration and integration specialists from Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands and Turkey. The group, visiting Israel this week, participated in a workshop to share best practices in immigration and integration with some of Israel's leading authorities."[20]
  • American counterterrorism experts Nov. 2006: "Project Interchange hosted an educational seminar for American counterterrorism experts. The group, visiting Israel this week, includes specialists from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies, U.S. National Academies, Global Advisory Services, and the Counter-Terror Units of the New Jersey State Police and Monmouth County Police."[21]
  • US Latino Leaders Oct. 2006: "Latino leaders from across the U.S. traveled to Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar. The group included representatives of the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, as well as individuals involved in business, news media, and universities. [...]This is one of 26 Project Interchange seminars in Israel this year."[22]
  • Spanish academics, journalists and parliamentarians Sept. 2006: "A group of academics, journalists and parliamentarians from Spain visited Israel earlier this month on a Project Interchange educational seminar. During their visit the group visited Rambam Hospital in Haifa, where they met with doctors and visited patients injured in Hezbollah rocket attacks. The group also met with mayors of Israeli Arab and Jewish communities in Israel's north, and learned about the economic, psychological and social impact of the war on their citizens. Participants met with Herzl Inbar, former Israeli ambassador to Spain, among other officials. This was the third group from Spain brought to Israel under Project Interchange's expanding efforts in Europe."[23]
  • US Latino leaders Sept. 2006[24]
  • Thai Police Sept. 2006: "In cooperation with AIJAC, AJC's partner in Australia, a group of police officers and military officials from Thailand are visiting Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar. This is the second group from Asia – the first was from India in July – to visit Israel under the auspices of Project Interchange, an AJC institute. The Asian groups are part of Project Interchange's expanding international reach."[25]
  • Leading US military and security analysts Aug. 2007: "A group of high-level U.S. and Australian military and strategic analysts is visiting Israel on a Project Interchange educational seminar. Among the participants are Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.; Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters, of the Armed Forces Journal; Max Boot, of the Council on Foreign Relations; and Anthony Bergin, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. During their visit the group is visiting sites on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, and in the south alongside Gaza to get a first-hand assessment of the threats Israel currently faces, respectively, from Hezbollah and Hamas."[26]
  • Indian leadership delegation July 2007: "An Indian leadership delegation, including parliamentarians, journalists and businesspeople, returned two days ago from a trip to Israel co-sponsored by AJC's Project Interchange and the Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council's Rambam Fellowship program. The trip was designed to highlight current areas of cooperation between Israel and India, and the delegation met with prominent figures in Israeli politics, including First Lady Aliza Olmert. Though participants were offered an opportunity to head home early as the violence in Israel escalated this past week, all opted to remain until the official end of the trip, and were each awarded a certificate of appreciation by Israeli Minister of Tourism Isaac Herzog."[27]
  • Central European Leaders July 2006 [28]
  • University Presidents June 2006: "Four university presidents from the University of Florida, State University of New York - Stony Brook, Washington and Lee University, and the University of the District of Columbia participated in a Project Interchange educational seminar chaired by Harold Shapiro, president emeritus of Princeton University and the University of Michigan, and accompanied by Steven Bayme, director of AJC's Koppelman Institute on American Jewish-Israeli Affairs. The seminar focused on offering a comprehensive introduction to Israel, creating relationships between colleagues and institutions and providing opportunities for collaboration in research, faculty and student exchanges. During the week they met with presidents and leading faculty of Israeli and Palestinian universities."[29]
  • European academics, parliamentarians and journalists June 2007: "AJC's Project Interchange has brought a series of high-level officials from Europe to Israel for weeklong educational seminars. The seminars included a group of Italian journalists and academics involved with mainstream, Protestant, Catholic and Muslim media outlets. The trip was staffed by Lisa Palmieri-Billig, AJC's representative in Rome. Another group from Greece, including journalists from major Greek newspapers as well as members of Parliament traveled with Project Interchange..."[30]
  • African American Christians June 2006: "African-American members of the Pan-Methodist Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns have concluded a weeklong leadership seminar in Israel hosted by AJC's Project Interchange."[31]
  • Hispanic American Leaders April 2006: "A group of Hispanic leaders from the U.S. is visiting Israel as part of a Project Interchange educational seminar. Assembled in cooperation with the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the mission includes representatives of NCLR, the Cuban American National Council, the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, the National Hispana Leadership Institute, the Dominican American National Roundtable, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The PI trip is the latest initiative of AJC's Latin American and Latino Institute."[32]
  • French graduate students March 2006: "Forty graduate students from one of France's most prestigious schools of higher education, the Institute for Political Sciences in Paris, are producing a film and writing a magazine article based upon their first-time experiences in traveling throughout Israel. The trip, organized by AJC's Project Interchange, marked the first time the French university sent its students to Israel."[33]


Dottie Bennett, National Chairman Judith Bluestone, Vice-Chair Chapter Relations Gerald Charnoff, Vice-Chair Finance Committee
Frederick Fish, Vice-Chair Programming Committee Raphy Haimowitz, Vice-Chair Public Relations Nanci Rands, Vice-Chair Alumni Relations
Terry Meyerhoff Rubenstein, Vice-Chair International Program Committee Joel Sherman, Vice-Chair Governance Committee Ken Smith, Vice-Chair Recording Secretary
Lois Zoller, Vice-Chair Development Committee    
Board Members
Debra Berger, Founder Arlene Kaufman, Past Chairman Stanford Adelstein
Rhoda Baruch Marjorie Blumberg Marlene Borman
Marcella Brenner, Lifetime Vice-Chairman Larry Cooper Betty Cotton
Lisa Eisen Elissa Ellant Katz Lisa Feldman
Don Garlikov Myra Greenspun Bob Grossman
Suzanne Jaffe Thomas Kahn Betsy Landis
Barbara Mines Stuart Nelkin Karen Pack
Bob Peckar Serena Pollack Robert Rosenthal
Richard Schifter William Siegel Fred Siegman
Debbie Smith Saidoff Andrea Solow Harriet Kaplan Suvall
Mary Trachtenberg Roberta Toll Stephen Weinberg
Miriam Yenkin Stuart Zimmerman  
E. Robert Goodkind Dov Zakheim  
Source (Accessed 4 July 2007)



The AJC News releases referenced below can be found here

  1. David A. Harris and Richard Sideman, End of Year Greetings, AJC, 26 December 2007.
  2. Matthew Wagner, The multi-faith contingent, Jerusalem Post, 17 August 2008
  3. AJC News Update 285
  4. AJC News Update 283
  5. AJC News Update 279
  6. AJC News Update 278
  7. AJC News Update 276; also Update 280
  8. AJC News Update 272
  9. AJC Newsletter 268
  10. AJC Newsletter 263
  11. Tamara Traubmann, U.S. university presidents visit Israel to strengthen academic ties, Haaretz, 3 July 2007
  12. AJC Newsletter 258
  13. AJC Newsletter 253
  14. AJC Newsletter 248
  15. AJC Newsletter 246
  16. AJC Newsletter 244
  17. AJC Newsletter 242
  18. AJC Newsletter 239
  19. AJC Newsletter 237
  20. AJC Newsletter 234
  21. AJC Newsletter 233
  22. AJC Newsletter 228
  23. AJC Newsletter 224
  24. AJC Newsletter 223
  25. AJC Newsletter 222
  26. AJC Newsletter 218
  27. AJC Newsletter 215
  28. AJC Newsletter 213
  29. AJC Newsletter 212
  30. AJC Newsletter 211
  31. AJC Newsletter 210 also 206
  32. AJC Newsletter 202
  33. AJC Newsletter 199