Pro-Israel lobby group Aipac secretly pours millions into defeating progressive Democrats | Pressure

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America’s most powerful pro-Israel lobby group is pouring millions into Democratic congressional primaries to counter growing support for the Palestinian cause within the party, including today’s election in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is focused on blocking women candidates who, if elected, are likely to align themselves with the “team” of progressive members of Congress who have criticized Israel.

But it is channeled through a group, the United Democracy Project (UDP), which avoids mentioning its creation by AIPAC and seeks to decide elections by funding campaign messages on issues other than Israel.

The UDP threw $2.3 million into Tuesday’s Democratic primaries race for an open congressional seat in Pennsylvania – one of the group’s few targeted contests where a leading candidate is openly sympathetic to the Palestinians.

The money was mostly spent supporting former Republican-turned-Democrat congressional staffer Steve Irwin in an attempt to block a progressive state Rep. Summer Lee, who is leading opinion polls in the solidly Democratic district that includes Pittsburgh.

Lee spoke out in favor of setting conditions for massive US aid to Israel, accused Israel of ‘atrocities’ in Gaza and drew parallels between Israeli actions and killing of young men blacks in the United States. She is supported by representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, members of “the brigade” who support the Palestinian cause.

Irwin defended Israeli government policies and questioned whether Lee had “a firm belief that Israel has a right to exist.”

The UDP also spent $2 million to support North Carolina State Senator Valeria Foushee in today’s Democratic primary in a bid to block Nida Allam, the political director of the Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and the first Muslim American woman to hold elected office in the North. Caroline. Allam attended pro-Palestinian rallies and was endorsed by team members. She also spoke out against anti-Semitism.

AIPAC launched the UDP in December as a super political action committee, or Super Pac, which is allowed to spend without restriction in support of candidates but cannot donate directly to campaigns.

The lobby group’s decision to fund political campaigns for the first time in its 70-year history was sparked by concern in Washington and Israel over the erosion of longstanding bipartisan support for the Jewish state. in the USA.

Opinion polls show that young Democrats are increasingly critical of Israel, including American Jews, and that there is growing support for the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.

Israel is also concerned about the breaking of a long-standing taboo of comparing Israeli rule over the Palestinians to apartheid in South Africa after the publication of a series of reports by international and Israeli human rights groups. the man accusing Israel of practicing a form of apartheid.

The UDP has also spent $1.2 million to protect Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar, who faces a runoff later next week against Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration lawyer. who spoke in favor of the Palestinians and is endorsed by members of the squad.

Jessica Cisneros
campaign with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Cuellar is described as an ally by AIPAC and co-founded the Congressional Caucus for Advancing Torah Values ​​to fight “anti-Israel bigotry.”

After Amnesty International joined other human rights groups in accusing Israel of imposing apartheid, Cuellar accused the group of endangering Jews. “Israel is not an apartheid state. Full stop. These inaccuracies incite anti-Semitic behavior against the Jewish people,” he said. tweeted.

A smaller, more liberal pro-Israel group, J-Street, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting Cisneros, saying she is committed to a fairer solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.

J-Street spokesman Logan Bayroff accused AIPAC of being a Republican front organization that strongly supports Donald Trump and of trying to intimidate candidates into avoiding criticism of Israel by threatening implicitly to fund campaigns against them.

“Aipac is taking all that money from Republican donors, and they’re masking the fact that they’re a very Republican-aligned organization while trying to persuade Democratic voters who they should support,” he said.

“The United Democracy Project seems innocuous and the advertising they put out in these districts is about health care and reproductive rights and things that have nothing to do with Israel. Which makes sense because things decide elections, not Israel. But the reason they align with some candidates is because they are more aligned with their more hawkish positions on Israel, and because they fear other candidates are more progressive and Palestinian aligned.

A UDP spokesman, Patrick Dorton, said the group was doing nothing more than legitimate political advertising. “All we do is talk about the candidate’s public record and that’s something voters deserve to know,” he said.

Dorton said the group would fund more campaigns.

“Our goal is to build the broadest bipartisan coalition in Congress that supports US-Israel relations. We are proud to support progressive pro-Israel candidates, including women of color,” he said. “We envision another 10 to 15 races where there is a pro-Israel candidate and a candidate who, if elected, would undermine US-Israel relations.”

Earlier this year, AIPAC was accused by other leading Israel supporters of being “morally bankrupt” and putting Israel’s interests ahead of American democracy after launching a political action committee separate that endorsed 37 Republican candidates who voted against certifying Biden’s victory after the 6th January 2021 Capitol storming.

AIPAC said it supports politicians from both parties who “will advance US-Israeli relations.”

“It takes bipartisan support in Congress to pass legislation that would advance this relationship. Therefore, we support MPs from both parties in their electoral contests. In addition to the Republicans we have supported, we have made contributions to more than 120 House Democrats, including half from the Congressional Black Caucus, half from the House Progressive Caucus and key House Democratic leaders,” Aipac said. in a press release.

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