In the 1970s, leaders at the Japanese American Citizens League, one of the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organizations, felt the prospect of reparations for their wartime incarceration was out of reach.

Many Americans knew little about how the government had imprisoned more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent, most of whom were American citizens, during World War II. Large civil rights organizations were preoccupied with the broader fight for gender and racial equality, and even other Asian American groups were reluctant to support reparations.

Then came a surprising endorsement from the American Jewish Committee. It was the start of a decadeslong bond between two of the country’s most established Jewish and Japanese American civil rights groups — a relationship cherished by both of their communities.