Jewish Insider: Birthday interview with RJC and JDCA heads

November 15, 2019

By Jacob Kornbluh

JI: How are you celebrating your birthday? 

Halie Soifer (41st birthday on Sunday): “I’m celebrating my birthday at the JDCA Board retreat. I can think of no better way to kick off my 41st year than strategizing how to defeat Donald Trump and win back the Senate.”

JI: When you look back, how do you reflect on your life so far? 

HS: “I’ve been lucky to work for government officials — including Ambassador Samantha Power and Senator Chris Coons — who are models of political courage and moral leadership. Since leaving government to run JDCA, it’s been gratifying to help build an organization that is values-driven and bringing about political change, including in the 2018 election. Were it not for the Blue Wave, Rep. Nunes would be holding hearings right now on Hillary Clinton’s emails, as opposed to Chairman Schiff leading impeachment proceedings. The 2018 elections were the critical step toward saving our democracy from the corrosiveness of Donald Trump, and I’m grateful every day for JDCA’s role in supporting and electing candidates who share our values — in 2018, in 2020 and beyond.”

JI: What are your birthday wishes, and what do you expect to see by your birthdays next year?

HS: “My birthday wish is to not only ensure that Donald Trump is defeated, but that he gets no more of the Jewish vote than Republicans received in 2018, which was a mere 17% according to exit polling (and 7 points less than 2016). This isn’t a tough sell — Jews overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump because his policies and rhetoric are a betrayal of our values, and believe his emboldening of white nationalism has endangered our community.”

JI: We’re in a very polarized environment, and you will be fighting aggressively for every vote in the coming year. Over the years, have your political differences impacted any personal relationships with your counterparts on the other side of the aisle?

HS: “I value my relationships with Republicans — their views provide an important perspective and certainly bipartisanship is essential to getting anything done on the Hill. That said, most reasonable Republicans I know quietly despise Donald Trump for hijacking their party and damaging our democratic institutions. And since you’re asking, it would be a #shanda if I didn’t wish my Republican counterpart, Matt Brooks, a happy birthday as well. If nothing else, at least we can celebrate our [birthdays] around the same time.”