Jewish community leader David A. Harris has been named the executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition, the umbrella organization of 30 national groups involved with pro-Israel education and advocacy across North America. Harris was selected for his outstanding experience advocating for both the American Jewish community and for Israel, for his strong background in coalition work and field organizing, and for his intimate knowledge of public and governmental affairs and media relations.
"As we work to advance a pro-Israel agenda on college campuses, it is crucial that we have a seasoned and knowledgeable professional like David spearheading our collective efforts to educate and train students as advocates and supporters of Israel," said Lynn Schusterman, president of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which, together with Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, is the founding partner of the ICC.
"Not only does David understand community organizing, he is an effective advocate for Israel. We are confident that the ICC will continue its record of success under his direction," said Hillel President-Elect and former ICC Executive Director Wayne Firestone about his successor.
"Though only four years old, the ICC's impact on Hillel and Jewish student life is evident throughout the organization, and we are looking forward to its further growth under David's leadership," added Hillel International President Avraham Infeld. "We also thank Aaron Goldberg, who has served as acting director for the past six months, for the exemplary job he has done running the ICC's operations during the search process."
Harris currently serves as the deputy executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), where he manages diverse aspects of the organization's work, including organizational policy, communications and marketing strategies, and key day-to-day operations of its Washington, D.C., office. His work educating candidates and officeholders about Israeli affairs and organizing missions to Israel for key political leaders, in combination with the multifaceted electronic communications program he established at the NJDC, have made him a well-known and trusted voice on U.S.-Israel and Jewish community relations. A former campus activist, he speaks regularly to student groups about Middle East affairs and domestic policy.
"I am deeply grateful for this wonderful opportunity, and look forward to working with the ICC member organizations to make a significant and lasting impact for Israel on college campuses," Harris said. "Particularly at this critical moment in the Middle East, I am delighted to be turning my full attention to advancing and expanding pro-Israel activism and education on campuses throughout America. I learned first-hand in college how pro-Israel advocacy leaves an indelible imprint on students, and I'm eager to help provide every Jewish college student with a positive, pro-Israel formative experience – like the one I had on campus."
Prior to joining the NJDC in 1999, Harris directed the American Jewish Congress' governmental and public affairs office, where he served as the chief AJCongress Washington representative before Congress, the White House and the federal government. He also represented Israel's interests on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist with the Israel Policy Forum and worked as a legislative fellow for Senator Paul Simon (D-Ill.).
Harris earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a National Merit Scholar and founded the campus AIPAC chapter. He is also a graduate of the Legislative Studies Institute Graduate Program in Washington, D.C.