Public Policy

Our Work

AJC Los Angeles builds strong and enduring relationships with political and influential thought leaders at the local, state and national levels. Our advocacy efforts actively advance AJC’s policy agenda by championing domestic policies and legislation that advance Israel’s security, the well being of the Jewish people, and democratic values for all.

Our advocacy efforts:

  • Strengthen Israel's peace and security;
  • Shine a light on Iran's nuclear threat;
  • Promote energy security through the development of an effective public transportation system in Los Angeles;
  • Advocate for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform; and
  • Support legislative and judicial efforts to establish civil marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Public Policy Committee

Ira Handelman Chair      Cole Ettman, Vice Chair  
Siamak Kordestani, Assistant Regional Director

(l - r) Siamak Kordestani, AJC-LA Assistant Regional Director, AJC-LA Regional President Dean Schramm; Dr. Marlene Bane, AJC-LA Board Member; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy; Ira Handelman, AJC-LA Public Policy Chair; Debbie Saidoff, AJC-LA Secretary; Rabbi Mark Diamond, former AJC-LA Regional Director
(l - r) Rabbi Mark Diamond, former AJC-LA Regional Director; U.S. Congressmember Karen Bass; Shelly Rivlin, AJC-LA Interreligous & Intergroup Vice Chair; Siamak Kordestani, AJC-LA Assistant Regional Director 

AJC Los Angeles' Public Policy Committee advances the AJC’s policy and legislative agenda through outreach, advocacy, and by cultivating positive relationships with elected and appointed officials at the local, state, and federal levels. While AJC advocates for a wide range of issues critical to our mission, we currently focus on four priorities that are key to preserving a secure Jewish future and democratic values:

Immigration Reform

National conflict over immigration undermines America’s strength and our country’s commitment to democratic and humanitarian values. With our shared immigrant experience, the Jewish people understand that upholding the rights of immigrants is vital to a strong America. AJC promotes a fair and just immigration policy consistent with our position that a strong America is vital for global freedom and security. AJC Los Angeles advocates for immigration reform through partnerships with civic and religious organizations that cross political and ethnic divides and through vigorous advocacy work with local, state and federal legislators.

Energy Security

AJC began advocating for a reduction in U.S. dependence on foreign oil in the 1970s. We continue to actively support legislation for diversifying fuel options, adopting more stringent fuel economy standards, increasing investment in public transportation, and expanding exploration and development of domestic resources. AJC Los Angeles promotes energy security through the development of an effective public transportation system in Los Angeles, among other state and local policies that reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Israel's Peace & Security

AJC’s diplomacy at the highest levels of government around the world promotes greater understanding and builds coalitions to support the security and standing of Israel. AJC Los Angeles strengthens Israel's peace and security through outreach, education and advocacy at the local, state and federal level and through AJC-LA's consular corps and unique programming including the Consular Corp Tour of Jewish LA.

Iran's Nuclear Threat

AJC alerted the world to Iran’s nuclear aspirations years before many others recognized the threat. We continue to advocate for the denial of Iran’s nuclear capability through high-level global diplomacy and governmental channels. AJC actively promotes global support for heightened economic sanctions, increased political and diplomatic isolation, and for keeping all options credibly on the table. AJC Los Angeles addresses Iran's nuclear threat through advocating for increased sanctions at the local, state, and national level, through education and awareness campaigns with southernCalifornia thought leaders and with partnerships with ethnic communities concerned about the spread of nuclear weapons. 

For more information or to become involved with AJC-LA's Public Policy Committee, please contact Siamak Kordestani, Assistant Regional Director, at or (310) 282-8080.