JStreetPAC Tops 2008 Totals, On Pace to Raise $1 Million

July 1, 2010

Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace PAC Closes Quarter with over $650,000 for 61 Candidates

WASHINGTON — The country’s only pro-Israel, pro-peace PAC announced it has already raised more money in this non-Presidential election year than it did in all of 2008, putting it on pace to raise over $1,000,000 in candidate contributions in only its second election cycle.

JStreetPAC has distributed over $650,000 to 61 congressional candidates this cycle who believe that active American diplomacy is necessary to reverse the untenable status quo in the Middle East, advance U.S. interests, and bring lasting peace and security to Israel and the region through a two-state solution.

The PAC has already distributed over $75,000 to Pennsylvania Senate candidate Congressman Joe Sestak. In the last election cycle – JStreetPAC’s first – the PAC raised $578,186, making it the single largest pro-Israel PAC.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the deep well of financial support that exists in the pro-Israel, pro-peace community for candidates who have the courage to stand by their convictions on Israel and the Middle East,” said JStreetPAC President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “No longer must candidates fear that staking out sensible, mainstream positions on Israel and the Middle East will translate into a loss of financial support.”

In its second election cycle, JStreetPAC has endorsed a diverse roster of challengers and incumbents that include Senator Russ Feingold, Missouri Senate candidate Robin Carnahan, and leading pro-Israel voice Congressman Gary Ackerman. Endorsees also include 12 committee and subcommittee chairs, 10 members of the Jewish Caucus, leading members of the House’s Black and Hispanic Caucuses, decorated officers in the armed services, and the first Muslim American elected to Congress.

A full list of endorsees is included below. JStreetPAC launched multiple online campaigns to raise money for its candidates, employing innovative internet fundraising techniques to mobilize thousands of small dollar donors alongside a growing network of top-tier political donors.

“JStreetPAC’s thousands of contributors demonstrate that there is more than one way to be pro-Israel and raise support,” said Ben-Ami. “Attempts to intimidate, cajole and attack those who promote peace and security for Israel and the region only make us and our candidates stronger.”

In response to Alan Dershowitz’s endorsement of the Republican opponent of JStreetPAC endorsee Rep. Jan Schakowsky, JStreetPAC staged an online fundraiser to coincide with a Dershowitz-headlined event, netting $40,000 in contributions to Congresswoman Schakowsky’s campaign in a matter of hours. When candidate Doug Pike renounced JStreetPAC’s endorsement under political pressure and returned $6,000 in contributions, JStreetPAC launched a fundraiser that raised ten times the amount Pike returned — $60,000 — for candidates with the courage of their convictions on Israel and the Middle East. Pike subsequently lost his primary contest.

Of the 41 candidates endorsed by JStreetPAC in 2008, 33 went on to win their elections. In 2009, the PAC helped tip the scales in now-Congressmen Bill Owens and Scott Murphy’s hotly contested special elections.

JStreetPAC launched in April 2008 as the first and only federal political action committee established to explicitly promote meaningful American leadership to end the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. The PAC provides political and financial support to candidates for federal office from Americans who believe an active American role in the Middle East will best advance U.S. interests in the region and promote real peace and security for Israel and its neighbors. The PAC is legally unconnected to J Street, a 501(c)(4) lobby and advocacy organization, and the J Street Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization for education and outreach. JStreetPAC 2010 Endorsees To Date: Gary Ackerman (NY-05) Tammy Baldwin (WI-02) Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) Charles Boustany (LA-07) Bruce Braley (IA-01) Lois Capps (CA-23) Michael Capuano (MA-08) Robin Carnahan (MO Senate) Russ Carnahan (MO-03) Steve Cohen (TN-09) Gerry Connolly (VA-11) John Conyers (MI-14) Jim Cooper (TN-05) Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03) Danny Davis (IL-07) Susan Davis (CA-53) Donna Edwards (MD-04) Keith Ellison (MN-05) Anna Eshoo (CA-14) Sam Farr (CA-17) Russ Feingold (WI Senate) Bob Filner (CA-51) Bill Foster (IL-14) Barney Frank (MA-04) Joe Garcia (FL-25) Charles Gonzalez (TX-20) Raul Grijalva (AZ-07) Deborah Halvorson (IL-11) Jim Himes (CT-04) Maurice Hinchey (NY-22) Rush Holt (NJ-12) Mike Honda (CA-15) Jay Inslee (WA-01) Hank Johnson (GA-04) Steve Kagen (WI-08) Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15) Ron Kind (WI-03) Dave Loebsack (IA-02) Dan Maffei (NY-25) Betsy Markey (CO-04) Betty McCollum (MN-04) Jim McDermott (WA-07) James McGovern (MA-03) George Miller (CA-07) Chris Murphy (CT-05) Scott Murphy (NY-20) Bill Owens (NY-23) Donald Payne (NJ-10) Tom Perriello (VA-05) Chellie Pingree (ME-01) Jared Polis (CO-02) Steve Pougnet (CA-45) David Price (NC-04) Charles Rangel (NY-15) Janice Schakowsky (IL-09) Joe Sestak (PA Senate) Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) Jackie Speier (CA-12) Peter Welch (VA At-large) Lynn Woolsey (CA-06) John Yarmuth (KY-03) ###