Date published: March 22, 2012
Journal code: JWEX
WASHINGTON (JTA) - Gary Ackerman, one of the veteran Jewish members of the US. House of Representatives, announced he would not run again.
Ackerman, a New York Democrat who has represented a district in Queens and Long Island for 29 years, said last week that he was stepping down at a time that his re-election was reassured.
At 69, he leaves as the ranking Democrat on the Middle East subcommittee. Known for a white carnation he has sported since his days as a schoolteacher, Ackerman was close to the proIsrael lobby but willing to speak out when he believed Israel was missing chances for peace.
He was a leader in 2007 in seeking increased funding for the Palestinian Authority, but also inveighed against anti-Semitism in the Arab world and among Palestinians.
Ackerman was the most prominent stalwart of allies of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to accept the endorsement of its dovish rival, J Street, in the 2010 election, but later broke with J Street when it petitioned the Obama administration not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements.