A longtime critic of violence and warfare, Jerry opposed the war in Iraq from the outset and worked with the Out of Iraq Caucus to end America’s involvement in that sectarian civil war. In response to the attacks of 9/11, he voted in favor of using military force in Afghanistan to destroy Al Qaeda strongholds and prevent further attacks. Since that specific mission was accomplished, however, Jerry has been at the forefront of the opposition to continuing that now-unfocused and wasteful war. He believes that the Afghan war has needlessly cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars, endangered the U.S. reputation in the world, and done little to resolve an intractable civil war.
Jerry is a lifelong supporter of Israel and its right to exist peacefully, and a firm believer in a two state solution that would grant security to Israelis and self-determination to Palestinians. He greatly values the unshakeable bond between the U.S. and Israel and supports U.S. efforts to promote safety, security and prosperity there. And he has long believed that the U.S. has an important and unique role to play in the peace process. The Jewish Press wrote that Jerry “is a consistent and lifelong supporter of Israel, as well as a strong community activist in both the Jewish and general community.”
While Israel and her neighbors struggle to find peace, there is a disturbing trend of growing anti-Semitism around the world. This blind and irrational hatred of the Jewish people rears its ugly head not only in Arab nations that do not support Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, but in other countries as well, particularly in parts of Europe. Jerry believes that it is vitally important to work against the scourge of anti-Semitism around the world. As such, he has spearheaded a number of efforts to use congressional power and influence to do just that.
One of his signature achievements in this regard was, on the heels of the infamous 2001 UN Conference Against Racism in Durban, successfully persuading the Ford Foundation to issue new funding guidelines, to immediately cease funding of groups that promote “bigotry, hatred or the destruction of any state,” and to strengthen its approach to oversight of grant-making. These efforts have played a major role in catalyzing the philanthropic sector generally to become a strong partner in combating global anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hatred.