Joel Rubin is the Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress. Joel is a Jewish activist and national security leader who has extensive experience working in Washington with both Congress and multiple Presidential administrations for more than two decades.
Joel was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Obama Administration, where he directed the State Department’s work with the U.S. House of Representatives. He also worked in the U.S. Senate as a National Security Advisor, winning the Military Officers Association of America’s bipartisan ‘congressional staffer of the year’ award. Earlier, Joel served in the Bush Administration, winning the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
In the non-governmental field, Joel has led policy advocacy campaigns on national security, Middle East, and nuclear weapons issues for Ploughshares Fund, the National Security Network, and J Street, where he was the organization’s founding Political and Government Affairs Director. In addition, Joel was the Jewish Outreach Director for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign. Joel often appears in the media, including having written for Haaretz, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The Daily Beast, and The Hill. He’s also a frequent commentator on both domestic and international television networks, including MSNBC, FOX, i24, and the BBC.
Joel grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to a 5th generation American Jewish family deeply committed to both Jewish life and Israel. He spent summers at Camp Ramah in Canada and in Israel, including a summer at Degania Alef, Israel’s first Kibbutz. He later attended Brandeis University, during which time he studied abroad at Tel Aviv University and participated in the ‘March of the Living’ Holocaust program in Poland.
After college, Joel joined the Peace Corps in Costa Rica as an Environmental Education Volunteer and then earned a joint Master of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Public Policy and Business Administration. A member of his synagogues’ Israel committee, Joel lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his wife, three daughters, mother-in-law, and rescue dog Maddy, where he also serves as Vice-Mayor in the Town of Chevy Chase.