New Jewish Democratic political group announces executive director

Halie Soifer, veteran Hill staffer, Obama alum and national security expert, will be first leader for JDCA

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) announced the appointment of Halie Soifer, a seasoned congressional aide, Obama administration alum and foreign policy expert, as its first executive director. Her appointment follows JDCA’s successful spring fly-in last month, during which the JDCA National Board and supporters met with nearly two dozen members of Congress and finalized its first round of endorsements in the midterm elections.

“I am honored to lead the JDCA at this critical time in our nation’s history, when we must elect more Democrats in order to ensure the promotion of Jewish values in Congress and the White House,” said Soifer. For the past 16 years, Soifer has served in various national security roles supporting Democrats in the U.S. Senate, House and executive branch. Most recently, from January 2017 until May 2018, Soifer served as national security adviser to Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), where she advised the senator on matters related to foreign policy, defense, veterans and cybersecurity.

Previously, Soifer served as foreign policy adviser for three members of Congress – Sens. Ted Kaufman and Chris Coons (both DE) and Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) – including serving as senior foreign policy adviser and Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee staff director during her four years working for Sen. Coons. Soifer also served in the Obama administration for two years as senior policy adviser for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, and in the Bush administration, where she served as a civil servant in the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

Soifer has a long record working on issues of importance to the Jewish community and of concern to Jewish voters. During President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Soifer served as the campaign’s Florida Jewish vote director, where she led a successful statewide effort to organize the Jewish community in support of Obama during the general election. In her positions on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Soifer served as a liaison to the Jewish community and organizations, and worked extensively on national security issues, including those related to Israel. Soifer received her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Middle East Studies and international economics, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan Honors College. She is a native of East Lansing, Michigan.

“I am thrilled to welcome Halie aboard,” said Ron Klein, the former Florida congressman and chair of JDCA. “Throughout her career, Halie has demonstrated the leadership skills, political acumen, and policy expertise that I am confident will help to grow our organization, promote Jewish values, and ensure JDCA plays a meaningful role in supporting Democratic candidates in November.”

“Halie’s experience serving in high-level positions in government definitely set her apart from the many qualified candidates we heard from in our search. Her strong record working on issues of importance to the Jewish community, coupled with her extensive experience on Capitol Hill, make her a perfect fit to lead our organization,” said Dede Feinberg, the Bethesda, Maryland, JDCA board member who chaired the Search Committee for an executive director.

JDCA was launched in November to serve as the voice for Jewish Democrats, operating at the nexus of the Jewish community and the Democratic Party. The organization is championing the community’s socially liberal, pro-Israel values. Since its creation, JDCA has been vigilant in condemning anti-Semitism, advocating for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, fighting for Jewish values in domestic policy, and offering guidance and support to Democratic candidates and elected officials. The organization is preparing for a major role in the upcoming midterm elections, and last week issued its first round of formal endorsements. Also last week, JDCA condemned U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s public comments regarding Democrats, and encouraged him to “spend more time cultivating the historically bipartisan nature of the U.S.-Israel partnership, as opposed to being politically divisive in his words and actions.”

Previewing the focus of her work in the next six months, Soifer said, “The JDCA will lead a targeted campaign in the midterms, supporting candidates in states and districts where the Jewish community can play a decisive role in ensuring a Democratic victory in November “