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Congressional Jewish Caucus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Congressional Jewish Caucus is an organization of members of the United States Congress who are American Jews. The caucus focused on issues affecting Jews and Israel, such as antisemitism and U.S.-Israel relations. The caucus was founded in 2023 during the 118th United States Congress, spurred by increased antisemitism in the United States during the 2023 Israel-Hamas war.


There were 36 Jewish members of the 116th United States Congress, which sat from 2019 to 2021, an increase from 30 during the 115th United States Congress. In the 117th United States Congress, there were 26 Jewish lawmakers in the U.S House of Representatives, all but two of them members of the Democratic Party.[1] While there were other Congressional affinity groups, such as the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, none of them were bipartisan with members of both the Republican and Democratic Parties.[2]


In 2019, Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress called for a bipartisan Congressional Jewish Caucus as a Congressional caucus in response to increasing antisemitism, political factionalism in the Jewish community, and anti-Israel advocacy in Congress.[3] An informal group of Jewish members of the U.S. House, almost all members of the Democratic Party, led by Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, had met since at least to discuss issues such as antisemitism. However, there was no formal body similar to the New York City Council Jewish Caucus and the California Legislative Jewish Caucus. Following controversial comments by Ilhan Omar, in which she referred to Americans who supported Israel as "pushing for allegiance to a foreign country," conversations to formalize the group increased.[4]

Citing a rising in antisemitic hate crimes and to coordinate a unified policy on U.S.-Israel relations, Jewish members of the 117th United States Congress had formed an informal Jewish caucus by May 2023. The group was led by Jerry Nadler, the longest-serving Jewish member of Congress and the dean of the Jewish delegation. The caucus met as a group with Israeli ambassador Michael Herzog during the crisis over the 2023 Israeli judicial reform.[5]

During the 118th United States Congress, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz filed to create a Jewish Caucus in November 2023, in the context of the 2023 Israel-Hamas war. The caucus was formally approved by the House Administration Committee.[2] According to Wasserman Schultz, the caucus would be secular and have the purpose of seeking Jewish unity in the U.S. House. The caucus held its first meeting on December 1, 2023, convened by Wasserman Schultz.[1]


Nadler announced he would not join the caucus, citing the existence of the informal group and the "chaos" of the Israel-Hamas war.[2] Nadler was also upset that Wasserman Schultz had apparently not consulted with all Congressional Jews before creating the caucus.[1] David Kustoff, one of two Jewish Republicans, also did not plan to join, because he does not join caucuses in Congress.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Kampeas, Ron (December 1, 2023). "There's a new Jewish Caucus in Congress. Its mission is still unclear". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d Solender, Andrew (November 14, 2023). "Scoop: Bipartisan Jewish Caucus begins to take shape". Axios. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  3. ^ Rosen, Jack (April 15, 2019). "It's time for a 'Congressional Jewish Caucus'". The Hill. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  4. ^ Kornbluh, Jacob (April 23, 2019). "Jewish Dems working to organize Congressional Jewish Caucus". Jewish Insider. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  5. ^ Solender, Andrew (May 24, 2023). "Inside Congress' little-known, makeshift Jewish caucus". Axios. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
This page was last edited on 20 March 2024, at 18:51
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