Joseph Sestak was born in 1951. He is a former U.S. Representative. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for U.S. President in 2020.
Sestak served as the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District from 2007 to 2011 and was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in 2010.
Prior to his election to Congress, Sestak served as a career Navy officer, reaching a rank of three-star vice admiral. He held a series of operational commands, including commanding the USS George Washington carrier strike group during combat operations in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean in 2002. He served as the Director for Defense Policy on the National Security Council staff under President Bill Clinton. Sestak was the highest-ranking military official ever elected to the United States Congress at the time of his election.
Below is former U.S. Representative Sestak’s voting record and public positions on issues important to the Jewish community.
Former Rep. Sestak supported the Iran nuclear deal. Recently he declared that if he is elected President, the United States would reenter the nuclear agreement. He argued that “America broke its word. We must keep our word and, as long as they have not violated it, that’s why I support getting back into the accord.”
In July 2019, Sestak said if elected President, he would undo U.S. President Donald Trump’s relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He argued that the embassy needs to be moved “back out of Jerusalem, but with the understanding that, ultimately, I believe we need to have the capital be there. But it needs to be worked out in a two-state solution and then our embassy needs to be there.” Sestak is a supporter of the two-state solution, which he believes to be in the interests of Israel and the United States.
In 2010, Sestak signed a letter, along with 53 other Members of Congress asking President Barack Obama to put pressure on Israel to ease the siege of the Gaza Strip. A few month after, Sestak reportedly said he regretted signing the letter. In March 2007, he signed a bipartisan letter to the European Union to withhold assistance to the Palestinians in response to Hamas and Fatah forming a coalition government.
Following the November 2019 announcement of President Trump’s administration that it would no longer view Israeli settlements as “inconsistent with international law”, Former Rep. Sestak called it an “ill-considered statement”. He said that “any final status agreement between Israeli and the Palestinians for a two-state solution cannot have America predetermining the outcome of its conditions if Palestinians is to eventually agree.” He went further to argue that “we did that once, wrongly, with the unilateral movement of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem; we are now doubling down on abandoning a peaceful two state solution.”
Supported the Iran nuclear deal https://www.timesleader.com/opinion/columns/377016/joe-sestak-iran-deal-can-avert-mideast-nuclear-arms-race
Supports reentering the Iran nuclear deal https://www.cfr.org/article/joe-sestak
Supports moving the U.S. embassy back out of Jerusalem https://www.jns.org/presidential-candidate-joe-sestak-would-move-the-us-embassy-back-out-of-jerusalem/
Supports the two-state solution https://www.jns.org/record-at-a-glance-joe-sestak-a-supporter-of-israel-though-against-iran-sanctions/
Backed off Gaza letter https://www.politico.com/blogs/ben-smith/2010/09/sestak-backs-off-israel-letter-028989
Position on Israeli settlement activity https://twitter.com/JoeSestak/status/1196541139094048768
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