After serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for 29 years, veteran Jewish Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) announced he would not seek reelection.
Ackerman, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Middle East subcommittee, has been at the forefront of issues pertaining to Israel and its neighbors throughout his tenure in the U.S. House.
According to my colleague Ron Kampeas at JTA, "Ackerman was close to the pro-Israel lobby but willing to speak out when he saw Israel as missing chances for peace."
In addition, Ackerman served on the Financial Services Committee where he scolded officials from the "Big Three" auto companies in 2008 for traveling on a private plane to Washington for a congressional hearing.
"During my years in Congress, it has been my pleasure to address the needs of thousands of individual constituents and to influence domestic and global policy while serving on the Financial and Foreign Affairs Committees in the House. I am most thankful for the opportunity I've had to serve my country and my community," Ackerman said in a press statement.
A senior House staffer for a Jewish Democrat told WJW that "Congressman Ackerman's retirement is a real loss, especially for Jewish Democrats. There aren't that many members of Congress who are truly pro-Israel and pro-peace, but he is one of them. And in a time when members are more and more concerned about being caught up in the 24/7 cable news cycle, Congressman Ackerman was never afraid to say what was on his mind. He will be missed."
Additionally, the National Jewish Democratic Council had this to say about Ackerman's retirement:
"As ardent fans of Representative Gary Ackerman (NY-05), we at the National Jewish Democratic Council are truly saddened to learn the news tonight that he will be retiring at the end of his current term in office. Over the course of 15 terms as a member of Congress, Rep. Ackerman has been a genuine leader on complex foreign affairs issues - a true champion for Jewish interests in Congress, and a key member of the congressional Jewish delegation."