Who are America's Jewish senators and congressmen?

A look into the Jewish candidates, who won and lost seats in Congress and Senate, and their views on Israel.

November 9, 2016 13:06
4 minute read.
US Senator Pat Toomey

US Senator Pat Toomey . (photo credit: REUTERS)


Democrat Steve Cohen, reelected for his 5th term in Congress for Tennessee's 9th District, was endorsed by J Street. Cohen supported the Iran deal, even boycotting Netanyahu's speech to Congress. In an official statement Cohen said that though he was boycotting the speech it was not a reflection of his support for Israel.

"I have always strongly supported Israel and I always will," he stated.

David Kustoff, Republican, beat out Democrat Rickey Hobson for the open Congress seat in Tennessee's 8th District. Kustoff has called "fighting terror" a number one priority, according to the Forward. He has said that under Obama,l "Our allies don't respect us and our enemies don't fear us. This must change." When it comes to the Iran deal, Kustoff has stated that is a threat to America's interests as well as Israel's.

New York

Re-elected to Congress in New York's 1st District, Lee Zeldin, Republican, was called by The Forward a "go-to pro-Israel lawmaker." Zeldin was opposed to the Iran nuclear deal. Lee is also an Army veteran having spent four years on Active Duty. He was deployed to Iraq in 2006.


Brad Schneider, Democrat, made a congressional come back, beating incumbent Republican Robert Dold in the 10th District Illinois House seat. Schneider had previously served in 2012. Having worked on tougher Iran legislation he has called the Islamic Republic "the most dangerous threat  to the entire region."

Having visited Israel more than 15 times, Schneider stated that there is "no more important strategic partner for the United States in the Middle East." He fathered the Israel Qualitative Enhancement Act in 2013, a bill that worked to insure Israel's ability to defend herself. In 2014, along with Mark Meadows, he introduced the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which Obama signed into law in December 2015.

A supporter of the two-state solution, he has stated, "I will diligently continue my strong advocacy for the US – Israel relationship to ensure that Congress remains actively and constructively engaged in preserving this critical strategic relationship."


Jamie Raskin, Democrat, was elected to Congress in Maryland's 8th district, defeating Republican Dan Cox in the open race. Raskin is a strong supporter of the Iran deal. A supporter of the two-state solution, Raskin told Washington Jewish Week, “We must redouble our efforts not only to guarantee Israeli security against terror, but to assist in accomplishment of a comprehensive settlement for peace, security, human rights and the rule of law for Israelis and Palestinians alike.” 

New Jersey

New Jersey's 5th Congressional district went to Jewish Democrat  Josh Gottheimer, after incumbent republican Rep. Scott Garrett held the position for more than 10 years. Calling Israel a "bastion of stability" in the Middle East, Gottheimer has stated that he will work tirelessly to strengthen America's relationship with Israel.


Democrat Jack Rosen defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian for the open house seat in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District. Rosen, who is a former Synagogue president, has no mention of Israel policy on her official campaign website.

The Las Vegas Sun in April reported that she didn't outright oppose or support the Iran deal quoting Rosen as saying, “right now, it is what we have; it is what we have to work with.”

Rosen also stated that the president had, "made the best deal that he thought he could at the time, or he probably wouldn’t have made it."

However, in May Rosen told political talk show host Jon Ralston that had she been in congress at the time of the Iran deal she would not have voted for it.


Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, who had previously represented Wisconsin's 27th District in Senate from 1993 to 2011 was defeated by incumbent Republican Ron Johnson. Feingold held an endorsement from J Street.


Democrat Jason Kander was defeated by incumbent Republican Senator Roy Blunt. Kander held the minority view within his party on the Iran nuclear deal – he doesn’t think it’s working out, he recently told Jewish Insider. However, he’s also of the “what’s done is done” school and, unlike Republicans who want dismantle it, Kander wanted to see its restrictions rigorously applied.


Sen. Pat Toomey, Republican, was re-elected, defeating Katie McGinty, Democrat. Toomey, who has the support of the Republican Jewish Coalition who spent $500,000 backing him, is a vocal friend of Israel. He has visited the Jewish state in the past, and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Toomey has said he supports "the strongest possible sanctions on Iran." The senator also supports moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, co-sponsoring a bill that would do so, and he has called for the US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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