The International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians (ICJP) was founded following a series of bi-annual meetings of Jewish government ministers and members of parliaments from around the world, held in Israel starting in 1988. These conferences established a global network of relationships among Jewish officials and parliamentarians and enabled greater knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing Jewish parliamentarians and communities in Israel and the Diaspora.

These earlier sessions were organized and supported by the Knesset, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the World Jewish Congress.

The growth from an initial 20 participants in 1988 to over 80 by 2006 reflected the interest in engaging in a global dialogue on the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

At its January 2005 meeting in Jerusalem, the ICJP Steering Committee adopted a number of resolutions that built on this foundation. Ruth Kaplan, former Chief of Staff to four Speakers of the Knesset and an ICJP veteran, was also appointed as ICJP Coordinator.