Arlene Bridges Samuels
The Eclectic Evangelical @InEssentialsUnity

Pro-Israel America: A Bipartisan Debut to Reshape the Political Landscape

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The 2020 American election season is picking up speed like a freight train. Loaded with campaigns and candidates-bombarding Americans with robocalls, campaign stops, and social media-the train will barrel down the tracks and at last pull into the station on November 3, 2020. Mentally exhausted Americans will go to their voting booths with a sigh of relief.

A fresh new organization though is onboard for the 2020 election. Pro-Israel America (PIA) recently hooked its car to the election train and plans on serving as a popular stop along the way. Its goal is to reshape the landscape of political giving. Building from the ground up, PIA is an organization with a Political Action Committee set to enlarge grassroots giving, appealing to Americans who want to give to a pro-Israel candidate. PIA’s portal is built on common-sense simplicity where Americans can now donate to pro-Israel Democrats or Republicans in one, curated place. The guesswork is gone!

Here’s how PIA describes itself: “Pro-Israel America works to strengthen support for the U.S.-Israel relationship by independently promoting and supporting the election of pro-Israel candidates to federal office, regardless of party; Educating voters about pro-Israel candidates and their Congressional races; and creating a simple, accessible, online portal for our members to make pro-Israel campaign contributions.” The new political organization with its cutting-edge Political Action Committee will serve as a welcome concept for millions of pro-Israel American citizens since most Americans are not in favor of Super PACS.

Super PACs, resident in each party, have dominated the political skyline with enormous contributions, for example, from one wealthy person or unlimited donations from corporations, unions, and associations. The 2010 law then allows unlimited donations for or against political candidates. That’s where Pro-Israel America comes in. The beauty of PIA’s strategy is that it engages the smaller political players, where they have the choice to support the PAC AND they can donate directly to candidates they choose. The flexibility gives them control over who they support but with a pro-Israel message. The smaller donations from everyday people add up joining with others around America with a pro-Israel message.

The genius of Pro-Israel America is its one-stop BIPARTISAN portal for Americans from all walks of life on one issue – support for the multi-faceted friendship between Israel and the United States. It offers educational updates on politicians from both parties about their viewpoint on Israel. Sweeping across the “fruited plain,” and “from sea to shining sea” the landscape will open up for more individual Americans to contribute $5, $50, or up to the current Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) limit of $2800 per cycle.

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Pro-Israel America serves as an almanac of lawmakers, their voting history, and everything related to their outlook on Israel. Currently softening up the political soil, PIA’s pro-Israel list is already planted with 27 endorsements, both Democrat and Republican. The numbers will grow over time in states across America.

How will this new venture fare in the upcoming political campaigns when $6.5 billion flooded into the 2016 congressional and Presidential campaign war chests?

Pro-Israel America’s top executives offer one big clue. With a finely-honed toolkit packed with achievements and experiences, Executive Director Jeff Mendelsohn and Board Chair Jonathan Missner are powerhouses of passion, talent, and contacts. Jonathan grew up in Highland Park, Illinois, and Jeff in San Antonio, Texas. Both credit their parents with early exposure to politics. Even before a double-digit birthday, Mendelsohn’s parents included Jeff in political campaigns giving out flyers and staffing polling places. Jeff quips, “I read Myths and Facts (about Israel) before the Hardy Boys.” Jonathan remarks that his interest also began as a young child studying partly in Israel. “My parents were Zionists and believed deeply in a strong Israel and a strong America.”

Mendelsohn and Missner share splendid educational and professional backgrounds, making them a perfect fit for the new bipartisan PAC. Both are attorneys. Jeff graduated from Harvard, Summa Cum Laude, then graduated from Harvard Law School. Jonathan holds a J.D. from Georgetown, an M.B.A. from the George Washington University and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

After clerking for a New York City Federal Judge, Mendelsohn went on to spend twelve years on Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff for two Hispanic House members from Texas. AIPAC then hired him as their National Outreach Director. He pioneered AIPAC’s outreach to non-Jews, first in the evangelical Christian community, then added African American, Hispanic, Veterans, and Progressive communities to round out the historically Jewish AIPAC family. After almost eleven years, Jeff left a successful legacy of diverse communities in place, ready for another pioneering effort to expand the pro-Israel movement.

In Missner’s early career, he is credited with leading two high-growth businesses in health care and founded AmericasDoctor.com. He and Mendelsohn met when AIPAC hired him to first oversee the regional offices and later became the Managing Director of National Affairs. Revenues tripled during his decade on staff. A long-time Adjunct Law Professor at Georgetown University, he went on to join Stein, Mitchell, Beato, and Missner, LLP as a Managing Partner in Washington, DC. In the firm, he also chairs the Global Practices and Corporate Strategy Groups using his expertise to create synergistic partnerships based on his worldwide connections.

Missner and Mendelsohn will be a force to be reckoned with as they build out the educational bipartisan PAC.

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Jonathan Missner comments about timing, “Now is an inflection point. It is imperative that those who believe in a strong U.S. – Israel relationship have their voices heard and amplified. Pro-Israel America provides the platform to do so. Participating in the political process is spectacular citizenship.”

Jeff Mendelson reflects on the opportunities for all Americans saying, “Our bipartisan PAC gives me a new opportunity to engage diverse communities that I value — pro-Israel Jews, Christians, Hispanics, African Americans, veterans and progressives — all part of the pro-Israel American landscape. Now their communities have a new clear-cut pathway to the specific pro-Israel politicians of their choice.”

With American’s already wide-ranging support for the Jewish state, linked up with Mendelsohn and Missner’s successes, they will make their mark in “capitol” letters in the United States pro-Israel political world.

Sign up here. Your membership is FREE. www.proisraelamerica.org

About the Author
Arlene Bridges Samuels has held pioneering positions with Israel Always, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, (AIPAC) and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's project (ICEJUSA), American Christian Leaders for Israel. Traveling to Israel since 1990, she is now an author at the Times of Israel, The Christian Post, Contributor to The Christian Broadcast Network and a networker, consultant, and speaker. Her articles have also appeared in Philos Project, Providence Magazine (The Institute on Religion and Democracy), ICEJ's Word from Jerusalem, Mercy Ships, and Concerned Women for America. She shares her devotionals, The Eclectic Evangelical, on Facebook and is an active member of a small Anglican church. After attending Winthrop University in her home state of South Carolina, Arlene earned her Masters degree at the University of Alabama. Every season, she looks forward to the Alabama Crimson Tide winning SEC and national football championships!
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