A new Jewish political action committee (PAC) hopes to give progressive American Jews a vehicle to support Washington politicians who focus on the domestic issues important to them.
Bend the Arc Jewish Action PAC, which launched on 21 April, is the first Jewish PAC not focused on Israel policy, director Hadar Susskind told IBTimes UK.
"There are 34 Jewish PACs in America, all of the rest of them are focused on Israel and Middle East policy, which of course is important to many people," Susskind said. However, he claimed that a "vast majority of American Jews" are Democrats and progressives, who claim that they are driven by domestic policy.
In a statement released on the PAC's launch, Susskind added: "Jews are among the most progressive and engaged constituencies in American politics. The way to win our political support is by standing up for issues like marriage equality, immigration reform, racial justice and the rest of the domestic progressive agenda our community cares about most."
The Washington DC-based director said the PAC is not looking to support Jewish politicians, but rather those who advocate for issues important to American Jews. Two of those key issues, Susskind said, were marriage equality and immigration reform.
"In polling outside of LGBT Americans themselves, the Jewish community polls the highest in support of marriage equality," Susskind said. "It's just something that, overwhelmingly, people see as a very simple issue of right and wrong, and that we should be on the right side of that."
Susskind added that the Jewish community has a long history with being pro-immigration reform and that Bend the Arc has worked with Latino immigration groups in the past.
Bend the Arc, which was established with the financial help of 29-year-old Alex Soros, has initially pledged $200,000 (£133,156) to 12 Democratic members of Congress. Soros, the son of Democratic mega-donor George Soros, has donated $1.2m to Democratic candidates and groups in the previous three elections, Politico reported.
Bend the Arc's initial endorsee list includes: Keith Ellison and Rick Nolan of Minnesota; Jan Schakowsky of Illinois; Alma Adams of North Carolina; Ruben Gallego of Arizona; Barbara Lee, Mark Takano, Xavier Becerra and Mike Honda of California; David Cicilline of Rhode Island; Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey; and Yvette Clarke of New York.
Susskind said that although the initial group of endorsees only includes members of the House of Representatives, the PAC has discussed backing candidates in Senate races.
"We're going to wait for the right opportunity," Susskind noted. "It will probably be fewer Senate races because they tend to be so much more expensive that in order to really make an impact in a Senate race you have to be giving higher dollar level."
He added that Bend the Arc has also considered becoming "a vehicle for contributions to presidential campaigns". According to Politico, the PAC aims to raise $500,000 for the 2016 election cycle.