American Jewish World Service decries proposed cuts to State Department and foreign aid budgets
NEW YORK, NY – American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading American Jewish human rights and development organization, strongly opposes President Trump’s proposed FY18 budget, which would harm the most vulnerable people in the world by slashing crucial aid and development programs and weakening institutions critical to upholding human rights worldwide.
Statement of Robert Bank, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service:
“As the leading American Jewish organization that works to end poverty and support human rights in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, we fiercely and unequivocally oppose President Trump’s radical and cruel cuts to the proposed foreign aid and international affairs budget of the United States,” said Robert Bank, President and CEO of AJWS.
“We know from our three decades of work around the world that U.S. foreign assistance, which only makes up one percent of all spending by the U.S. government, plays an indispensable role in advancing human rights, combatting poverty and mitigating global challenges such as epidemics and climate change. At a time when poverty, human rights abuses, famines and conflicts are wreaking havoc globally, the United States must not abdicate its long bipartisan tradition of providing development assistance and diplomatic support to the most vulnerable people around the world.
“We call on members of Congress from both parties to stand in opposition to these draconian cuts. Moreover, we call upon American Jews and the organizations and leaders that represent them to raise their voices in fierce opposition to President Trump’s proposed budget, which rejects our values and history, and undercuts our vision for America’s role in the world as a champion of human rights and dignity.
“The vision of U.S. foreign policy outlined in the White House’s budget violates the longstanding bipartisan consensus that successful foreign policy is predicated on robust development assistance and tenacious diplomacy. The sweeping and unprecedented cuts to development programs and diplomacy will hobble the ability of the United States to lead internationally, which includes our ability to promote essential human rights such as freedom of assembly, political participation and democratic governance. Ethnic minorities, political dissidents, women and girls, LGBTI people and other communities that have counted on the United States to stand up to authoritarian regimes and lead on promoting human rights, will be hardest hit by these cuts.
“We are gravely concerned that eliminating long-term development investments, ending funding to multilateral human rights organizations and gutting vital sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls will disproportionally affect the communities worldwide that AJWS supports through our grant making and advocacy.
“This budget breaks with the longstanding tradition of U.S. administrations funding robust foreign aid as a crucial part of our global responsibilities and national security. It would also undercut American leadership on the world stage and broadly set back efforts to advance human rights. When Secretary of State Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill to address the President’s budget, he must be prepared to answer how he plans on ensuring our leadership on human rights can be sustained in the face of these cuts. If he cannot do so, it is incumbent on Congress to exercise its constitutionally designated power to preserve the U.S.’s ability to stand up for human rights by rejecting the President’s budget.”
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About American Jewish World Service
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS defends civil and political rights, advances sexual health and rights, promotes climate justice and aids communities in the aftermath of disasters. We pursue lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and by advocating for U.S. and international policies for justice and equality worldwide. Learn more at www.ajws.org.
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