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Alan Lowenthal, J Street-aligned Democrat, retiring from Congress

Representative from Long Beach, California has been in Congress since 2012; has pushed for two-state solution

Alan Lowenthal participates in a joint hearing by the House National Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, in Irvine, California, on October 18, 2021. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via JTA)
Alan Lowenthal participates in a joint hearing by the House National Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, in Irvine, California, on October 18, 2021. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via JTA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alan Lowenthal, a Jewish Democrat from California who has been a leader in efforts to preserve the two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is retiring.

“It is time to pass the baton,” Lowenthal, 80, said in a statement. “It is time to rest and surround myself to the benefits of a life well-lived and earned honorably in the service of my fellow citizens.”

Lowenthal, elected to Congress in 2012 from Long Beach, a city in Los Angeles County, is best known for his work advancing the restoration of infrastructure in a way that protects the environment.

In recent years, he has aligned closely with J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, and has become a leader in efforts to preserve the two-state outcome, backing bills and letters.

In 2019, Lowenthal led passage of a resolution that committed Democrats to the two-state outcome at a time when then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-United States president Donald Trump appeared to be backing away from it. The message, with almost all Democrats signing on, was clear: if Netanyahu proceeded with annexation he would risk cutting off the entire Democratic Party.

Lowenthal had always strongly identified himself as Jewish, albeit with a classic liberal tint: His sons recall Shabbat dinners that featured Bob Dylan songs. A son, Josh, has lived in Israel.

Lowenthal’s district may disappear as a result of post-census redistricting; his departure means that a neighboring Democrat, Lucille Roybal-Allard, whose district may also be up for removal, will likely be reelected.

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