FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2012
CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, 202.448.1600 or 202.279.0005, [email protected]
WASHINGTON — Today Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) welcomed JStreetPAC’s endorsement, making her the fourth senatorial candidate to receive the pro-Israel, pro-peace PAC’s backing in this election cycle.
Feinstein joins three other JStreetPAC’s Senate endorsees, all running in some of the country’s most closely watched races: Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Representative Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Representative Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.
JStreetPAC was established to demonstrate the wellspring of financial and political support that exists for candidates who support active American leadership to bring peace and security to Israel and the Middle East through a two-state solution.
“We are reminded daily that we live in a period of constant challenges throughout the world particularly in the Middle East,” said Senator Feinstein. “I look forward to working with J Street to promote our shared vision for a secure and democratic Israel.”
For decades, candidates for federal office seeking financial and electoral support in the Jewish and pro-Israel community believed they would only find support by staking out the most hawkish positions possible. Over time, this led to the assumption that to be pro-Israel meant to be as hawkish and militant in one’s views on the Middle East without mention of the need for peace, a two-state solution or diplomacy.
“In taking JStreetPAC’s endorsement today,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, JStreetPAC’s President, “Senator Feinstein joins a long and growing list of American politicians who recognize that there is significant political support to be found from Americans who support Israel and deeply believe that American and Israeli interests would be better served through active American diplomacy to achieve two states. This is a sea change in American politics when it comes to Israel and the Middle East.”
Polls consistently show that the majority of American Jews support a two-state solution and an active US role in helping the parties to achieve it. A July 2011 poll showed that general support among American Jews for the principle of US leadership in helping to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict (83 percent), remains strong when adding specifics such as the US putting forth a peace plan that proposes borders and security arrangements (70 percent) or the US publicly disagreeing with both Israelis and Palestinians (67 percent). When presented with a comprehensive peace agreement that follows the parameters reported from talks during the Barak and Olmert administrations, including borders based on the ’67 lines with agreed upon land swaps, Jews support the agreement by a 57 to 43 percent margin.
As the first female Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, a position she has held since 2009, Feinstein has earned a reputation as an authority on international affairs. She has been at the forefront of the call to prioritize sanctions and diplomacy as the best way to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, a conviction shared by J Street.
Feinstein is a strong supporter of Israel, who consistently votes in support of the foreign operations bill, providing full military assistance to Israel. She has long demonstrated an understanding that the shared US and Israeli interest in achieving true peace and security for Israel is best served by robust US diplomacy in peace efforts between the Israelis and Palestinians. Since the early 90’s when the United States first took on a leadership role in efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Feinstein has introduced numerous resolutions and letters backing the endeavor.
“This is a woman tasked by the United States Senate with oversight of the nation’s intelligence services in whose hands rest much of the responsibility for our security and that of our allies,” said Ben-Ami. “Someone with this level of responsibility and experience gives great weight to the need to pursue diplomatic, not military, solutions to political problems.”
Feinstein is one of 15 California candidates endorsed by JStreetPAC, which this year has endorsed a total of 60 nationwide.
JStreetPAC has consistently broken new ground since its establishment in 2008, becoming the largest pro-Israel PAC in its first election and in each since, as well as the first to disburse more than $1 million in a single cycle. This year, the PAC is not only on track to surpass its endorsement of 61 candidates in 2010, but to distribute more than its previous record of $1.5 million to candidates.