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Anglo-Jewish Association (AJA)

The Anglo-Jewish Association (AJA) is a British organization originally founded for the protection of Jewish rights in backward countries by diplomatic means. Its objectives and activities were patterned after those of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. It was established in 1871 with Jacob Waley as its first president; five Jewish members of Parliament served as vice presidents.

By 1900, it had 36 branches, 14 in British colonies. In 1871 it was instrumental in securing the creation of the Romanian Committee and in 1882 collaborated in establishing the Russo-Jewish Committee. From 1878 it cooperated with the Board of Deputies of British Jews in the Conjoint (Joint) Foreign Committee. The AJA undertook educational work among “underdeveloped” Jewish communities, maintaining schools in Baghdad, Aden, Mogador, Jerusalem (the Evelina de Rothschild School), and other places.

In 1893 it became associated with the direction of the Jewish Colonization Association (ICA). As its president, Claude Montefiore condemned the Balfour Declaration. After the Board of Deputies became overwhelmingly Zionist in 1940, the AJA under Leonard J. Stein became a rallying point of non-Zionist sentiment; as a result, ostensibly because it was not a democratically elected body, its representation on the Joint Foreign Committee was reduced and then abolished.

After the establishment of the State of Israel, it modified its attitude toward Zionism. Circumstances have reduced its overseas interests. It published the Jewish Monthly (1947–52), and the AJA Review (1944–55) which was superseded by the AJA Quarterly, and more recently by AJA Today. In recent years it has awarded student scholarships and holds cultural events, but it has also continued to represent the Jewish community on government and international bodies.


AJA Annual Report (1870–to date); Year Book of the Anglo-Jewish Association (1950–51).

[Cecil Roth]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.