Staff

Geri Palast, IAN’s Executive Director, is responsible for overall IAN operations and directs and supervises all IAN staff. She has extensive experience organizing and leading broad-based national grassroots and legislative issue campaigns. From 2000-2011, she founded and ran two NGOs on school finance reform to ensure adequate funding for poor children and justice system reform.  From 1993-2000, she served as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs during the Clinton Administration. Previously, she served as the national Legislative and Political Director of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). She has served on numerous boards, including the JCPA, taught at universities, ran three social justice NGOs and she is an attorney.

Ethan Felson, IAN’s Executive Director, has worked to make the case for Israel and for Israeli-Palestinian peace for more than twenty-five years. Since 2004, he has been in the forefront of efforts to challenge anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions. Prior to joining IAN in 2016, Ethan served as Senior Vice President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs which he joined in 2001. He led JCPA’s participation on more than 20 Supreme Court briefs, the creation of a groundbreaking project to restore civility in public discourse, and the formation of national and grassroots dialogues with mainline and evangelical Protestant leaders. He has led numerous Israel missions for Christian leaders. From 1988 to 2001, he served the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford where he directed the Jewish community relations council and federation Assistant Executive Director. He is a graduate of Lehigh University and the University Of Connecticut School Of Law. Ethan is the author of chapters in several books, including “Uneasy Allies: Evangelical Jewish Relations and the National Affairs chapter of the American Jewish Yearbook (2006-2015),” as well as articles in Sh’ma, JTA, and other journals and periodicals.

Stephanie Hausner, IAN’s Deputy Director, is responsible for strengthening the capacity of local community professionals in countering the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. In this role, she coordinates the activities Israel advocates throughout North America, leads mobilization programming, and proactively builds partnerships with communities vulnerable to anti-Israel messaging. She manages the Community Strategy staff and will be the point of contact for Federations and JCRCs. Among the initiatives Stephanie leads are the Bridges to Tomorrow program, legislative advocacy, and campus/community partnerships. Stephanie came to IAN after working in the Federation system in various capacities, most recently at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. Stephanie was part of the precursor to the IAN, the Israel Advocacy Initiative, as the Coordinator of Campus and Israel Programs. Stephanie also has over a decade of experience in political organizing. Stephanie serves as Councilwoman in the town of Clarkstown, a position she had held since 2010. Stephanie graduated from Johns Hopkins University, with a degree in International Relations, and a concentration in American Foreign Policy. Lastly, she was named one of Rockland County’s “40 under 40″ in 2010 and in 2013 was included in “The Jewish Week 36 under 36.”

Jennifer Hillel, IAN’s Director of Development, joined the team in February 2017 to build a national fundraising campaign for IAN through her expertise in foundation relations, major gifts, strategic planning, event planning, and young adult engagement. Prior to IAN, Jen served as Associate Director of Foundation Relations at Birthright Israel Foundation where she built relationships with institutional funding partners to secure increased support for the Birthright Israel program since 2010. With more than 13 years of experience in professional and lay roles in the Jewish community, Jen has also held positions at the Berman Jewish Policy Archive, Columbia/Barnard Hillel, the 92nd Street Y, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. She holds a BA from Indiana University (joint majors in History and Jewish Studies) and an MPA from New York University (focus in Nonprofit Management).

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Avi Weinryb, IAN’s Assistant Director of Community Strategy and Communications, manages national organizing campaigns focused on developing, supporting and growing a collective of advocates across multiple disciplines to counter attacks on Israel’s legitimacy. In this role, he identifies and coordinates teams of faculty and other professionals, fostering relationships and creating resources to further their engagement and support. Avi regularly leads campaign teams comprised of national agencies and local community organizations in his efforts. Avi previously worked at the Canadian branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center on campus affairs, conducted research at a public affairs think tank, and more recently coordinated communications for a political campaign in an Ontario provincial election. His writings on diverse topics have appeared online and in print. Avi holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and a graduate degree from the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy at IDC Herzliya in Israel.

PC Staff PicturePaulina Carey, IAN’s Program and Communications Associate, joined the team in June of 2015. Working primarily between two areas of operations, community engagement and communications, Paulina handles a variety of day-to-day and immediate tasks, including website maintenance, research and monitoring, and aiding in the creation of a diverse range of publications. Prior to joining IAN, Paulina was an intern for the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Division, where she assisted in opposition research. An alumna of Barnard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Paulina is interested in Middle Eastern and West Asian politics as well as non-profit development and programming.

PC Staff PictureZachary Schaffer, IAN’s Community Strategy Associate, educates and organizes the Jewish community to challenge the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. He guides professionals through community relations crises and helps them with messaging, advocacy, and organizing. He trains activists in relationship-building and empowers people to articulate their support for a two-state for two-people solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Zachary also helps oversee national organizing and outreach campaigns with Mainline Protestants and supports local community efforts to deepen relationships with the African-American community. He is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Nonprofit Management. In 2015 he was recognized by the Jewish Educators Assembly as one of twenty emerging Jewish leaders in their twenties. He graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Rhetoric and Political Science and a Certificate in Corporate/Community Relations.

Headshot_Julie_V2Julie Rephen, IAN’s Community Strategy Assistant, handles a variety of day-to-day and immediate tasks, including outreach to the Jewish community, monitoring current events relating to the delegitimization of Israel, and aiding in the creation of various information guides sent out to the field. Prior to joining IAN, Julie studies Middle Eastern studies at Syracuse University, where she was involved in many Israel related groups on campus, including Hillel and AIPAC’s Syracuse campus cadre.