Tom Nelson is a candidate in Wisconsin’s Democratic Senate primary and has been involved in Wisconsin politics and public office for decades. He currently serves as the Outagamie County Executive, a position he has held since 2011, and prior to that served six years in the Wisconsin State Assembly. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2010 and was a JStreetPAC endorsee as a candidate for Congress in 2016.
Nelson’s views on J Street’s issues are shaped by his upbringing as a Lutheran pastor’s son. He has always been drawn to the Jewish values of tikkun olam, and because of that, “cannot sit idly with the present situation and neither should anyone who seeks to be a leader.” Nelson condemns the cycle of violence fueling this conflict and believes the United States absolutely has a role in building the road toward peace in the Holy Land with security for Israel and dignity for the Palestinian people. He believes that “both Israel and the Palestinian territories have seen more than their fair share of violence that has taken too many innocent lives” and that “Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorist attacks and indiscriminate rockets being fired upon civilians…at the same time, we must ensure that the Palestinian people have an avenue to peace and dignity.” Nelson also believes the Israeli government must stop the creeping annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a first step towards peaceful resolution to this conflict, and that settler projects and legal machinations that displace Palestinians from their homes and families as in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan are unjust and will add more tension to a land that has seen far too much bloodshed. To that end, he believes in “transparency measures that ensure that US aid to Israel cannot be used for activities that fuel more division, such as settlement expansion and demolitions of Palestinian homes.”