Gary Ackerman (1942-) is a U.S. Representative (D-New York), from the 5th Congressional District of New York. After graduating from college, he was a junior high school teacher for five years, then founded a weekly community newspaper called The Flushing Tribune.
Considered left of center, he had a 2008 0% rating from American Conservative Union and 100% from Americans for Democratic Action. He is involved in human rights groups, such as the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.
Committees and Caucuses
During the 2010 Congressional campaign, the political action committee of J Street held a fundraiser for Ackerman, Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME), whom they called "...excellent advocates for pro-Israel, pro-peace positions in Congress and courageous leaders on other progressive issues as well, such as health care and climate change." J Street did not disclose if he had sought the endorsement. In the same state of the campaig, "right-leaning Jewish activists will gather at consecutive events in Hillcrest, Queens, and Great Neck to denounce Ackerman, who they believe has a mixed record on Israel because he has supported President Barack Obama's Mideast policies and did not support an initiative by Rep. Pete King calling for the U.S. to withdraw from [the] UN Human Rights Council." Other opponents to Ackerman's positions on Israel were "Jeff Weisenfeld, a former aide to Gov. George Pataki, Jan Fenster, a former president of the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council, Dr. Joseph Frager, president of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim (a group that reclaims formerly Jewish land in Jerusalem's Old City) and others."
Ackerman is "the Jewish equivalent of [Yasir] Arafat," said Weisenfeld, "not because of terrorism but because he says one thing to a Jewish audience and one thing to another, and it's all empty."
In January 2010, he disassociated himself from J Street, for its support of a draft United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israel's settlements in the West Bank. "After learning of J-Street’s current public call for the Obama Administration to not veto a prospective UN Security Council resolution that, under the rubric of concern about settlement activity, would effectively and unjustly place the whole responsibility for the current impasse in the peace process on Israel, and—critically—would give fresh and powerful impetus to the effort to internationally isolate and delegitimize Israel.
"America really does need a smart, credible, politically active organization that is as aggressively pro-peace as it is pro-Israel. Unfortunately, J-Street ain’t it.”
- Adam Dickter (13 October 2010), "J Street Fundraiser For Ackerman", Jewish Week
- Ackerman Blasts J-Street support for UN Condemnation of Israel, Office of Gary Ackerman, U.S. House of Representatives, 25 January 2011