JStreetPAC supports pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy candidates who know that there’s no contradiction between strongly supporting Israel’s security and the US-Israel relationship while also upholding human rights, international law and a vision of democracy, equality and peace.
As a broad-based membership organization, our supporters pool donations of all sizes to support candidates from their primary races through to their first general election and beyond.
“By pooling our donations, we’re sending a powerful message to Congress about our values and priorities and ensuring principled, talented candidates have the support they need to win,” says Tali deGroot, J Street’s Ilya Braverman National Political Director.
“Our strength comes from standing together, and that gives us the power to help candidates overcome smears and attacks from right-wing groups,” deGroot says.
J Street seeks to support candidates who align with both our policies and our community’s values. Below is the criteria that JStreetPAC takes into account in endorsement decisions and the process through which decisions are made.
An Ironclad Commitment to Israel’s Security
The United States plays an indispensable role in supporting Israel’s future as a safe, secure, democratic homeland for the Jewish people.
JStreetPAC only supports candidates who commit to supporting US security assistance to Israel for the terms and duration outlined in President Obama’s 10-year Memorandum of Understanding with Israel, including support for the Iron Dome missile defense system.
J Street advocated for the MOU – which allocated $3.8 billion per year to Israel for 10 years – and continues to advocate for its terms in Congress. It is a vital element of the US-Israel relationship and plays a critical role in maintaining Israel’s security against serious external threats.
The terms of the MOU do not prevent Congress from enacting additional safeguards and oversight measures to ensure our aid is used for legitimate security purposes, and not for actions which violate international law, infringe human rights or deepen the occupation. J Street continues to advocate for such oversight.
Support for Palestinian Self-Determination and Statehood
Israel’s promise as a just, peaceful and democratic homeland for the Jewish people will only be truly realized when all Palestinians have that same right to equality, freedom and self-determination. A two-state solution remains the most viable path to peace.
J Street supports strong US leadership toward a two-state solution which would guarantee security, freedom and independence for all Israelis and Palestinians through the recognition of an independent Palestinian state. Violence, terror and incitement push us further from that goal, as do steps toward annexation, settlement expansion and entrenching the occupation of Palestinian territory.
JStreetPAC only endorses candidates who demonstrate a commitment to a two-state solution, which has been the policy of every US administration – with the exception of Donald Trump – dating back to the Oslo Accords in 1993.
JStreetPAC endorsees support humanitarian aid and other forms of economic assistance to the Palestinian people, and to the UN agencies that serve Palestinian refugees.
Commitment to Peace, Security, Human Rights and International Law
A two-state solution is a long-term goal. In the meantime, the United States must remain engaged, take positions and enact policies which uphold the safety, security, freedom and rights of both peoples.
JStreetPAC endorses candidates with a demonstrated commitment to supporting peace, security, human rights and international law including opposition to indiscriminate rocket fire, reckless military escalations, incitement to violence and violations of the Geneva Conventions.
JStreetPAC endorsees oppose settlement expansion, discriminatory home demolitions and steps which seek to make the occupation of the West Bank more permanent. They recognize that an unjust, unequal, undemocratic system of occupation only serves to fuel ongoing conflict, trample rights and freedoms, and undermine Israel’s own democratic character.
Support for Democratic Values, Rights and Freedoms
JStreetPAC will never endorse candidates who seek to undermine democratic rights, freedoms and institutions either at home or abroad. This includes a commitment to never endorse any candidate who voted to overturn the 2020 election results.
JStreetPAC will also take into account a candidate’s stances on key democratic rights and freedoms that matter to the overwhelming majority of Jewish Americans, including support for LGBT+ equality, voting rights, women’s rights and the right to seek asylum.
Backing an Effective Response to Threats from Iran
The United States must pursue a strong response to the Iranian government’s ongoing threat to safety and security in the region – including its nuclear weapons program, support for terror groups, threats against Israel and appalling treatment of its own people.
Diplomatic engagement is a proven, effective strategy. This includes President Obama’s 2015 seven-party diplomatic agreement which verifiably blocked Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon. Following President Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018, not only did Iran resume nuclear development beyond the agreement’s thresholds, it also ramped up other malign activity in the region, including threats to partners such as Israel.
JStreetPAC endorses candidates who oppose the Iranian government’s malign activities against our allies in the region and its brutal repression of Iranians themselves, and who support diplomatic engagement as the preferred means of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
JStreetPAC seeks to operate a collaborative, constructive and inclusive endorsement process, which may include a series of ongoing meetings and exchanges focused on our issue-set.
J Street offers an array of expertise and materials throughout this process in an effort to deepen political understanding of US-Israel policy, our community’s values and the situation on the ground.
Step 1: Referral / Outreach
The endorsement process can be initiated in a variety of ways. Candidates may reach out to J Street directly, local J Street chapters may refer a candidate, or J Street may initiate an endorsement conversation.
Campaigns may reach out directly by emailing our political team here.
Step 2: Initial Conversation
The next step is usually a meeting between the candidate and J Street’s political team. Often, these meetings are facilitated by local J Street members who have existing relationships with the candidate or staff.
This discussion is useful to introduce staff and candidates to JStreetPAC, answer basic questions, outline the endorsement process and check in on the campaign’s level of engagement on our issues or specific issues of concern within the district.
Step 3: Position Paper
After an initial meeting with staff, campaigns will draft a position paper in response to prompts and questions on our issues. J Street’s team is available to assist with queries about the politics or subject matter throughout this process.
If the position paper aligns with J Street’s values, goals, and endorsement criteria, the candidate will move to the next stage of the endorsement process.
Step 4: Local Engagement
Local Jewish leaders and grassroots supporters are a vital part of J Street’s pro-Israel, pro-peace and pro-democracy movement. The next step in the endorsement process is often a meeting with local J Street supporters in the district.
Our members and leaders are well-connected in Jewish communal spaces – such as within synagogues, federations and Jewish Community Centers – and can provide campaigns with a vital networks to reach the wider Jewish and pro-Israel community. Local leaders provide a recommendation to JStreetPAC on how to proceed.
Step 5: National Decision
Based on the submissions and recommendations of the process so far, J Street’s National Political Committee will make a final decision on endorsement. The group is composed of top J Street political leaders from across the country who place the recommendations of local members and J Street staff in high regard.
Step 6: Endorsement
Once a candidate is officially endorsed they will be added to the JStreetPAC website where members can contribute to the campaign. JStreetPAC works with local supporters to host local or national fundraisers for endorsees and sends national emails to members drawing attention to priority races and candidates.
If you have any further questions about the JStreetPAC endorsement process or the criteria, please don’t hesitate to email our political team.