Pittsburgh Jews decry pro-Israel group’s assist for Republican extremists

Pittsburgh Jews decry pro-Israel group’s assist for Republican extremists

Greater than 240 Jewish American voters in Pittsburgh have signed a letter denouncing the US’s largest pro-Israel group for backing extremist Republican election candidates whereas spending hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to oppose a Democrat who can be Pennsylvania’s first Black feminine member of Congress.

The letter condemned the highly effective American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) for its makes an attempt to defeat Summer time Lee, a candidate for the district that features Pittsburgh, after failing to dam her through the Democratic primaries earlier this yr due to her criticisms of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

The signatories mentioned they have been “outraged that at this important second in American historical past, Aipac has chosen to solid Democrats like Lee as extremists” whereas endorsing greater than 100 Republican candidates who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The letter instructed that Aipac doesn’t symbolize the views of nearly all of American Jews and is working towards their pursuits by additionally endorsing Republicans who promote white supremacy, a very delicate subject in a metropolis the place 11 worshippers on the Tree of Life synagogues have been murdered in an antisemitic assault 4 years in the past.

“We additionally condemn AIPAC’s endorsement of lawmakers who’ve promoted the antisemitic ‘Nice Alternative’ conspiracy concept that helped encourage the homicide of 11 members of the three synagogues housed at Tree of Life,” the letter mentioned.

“Clearly, their definition of ‘excessive’ is totally reverse to that held by nearly all of American Jews – who fear in regards to the stark rise in antisemitism and white nationalism in our state and in our nation.”

It’s the first time Aipac has funded assist for a Republican contender for Congress over a Democrat in a basic election, marking an additional shift away from its as soon as extra bipartisan method.

Aipac’s marketing campaign funding arm, the United Democracy Venture (UDP), is paying tons of of 1000’s of {dollars} for tv promoting and mailings towards Lee. The group is backing Mike Doyle, who helps a federal ban on abortion and has described himself as very conservative.

The UDP has posted a leaflet to voters calling Lee “too excessive” due to her positions on police, jail and immigration reform. The leaflet makes no point out of her criticisms of Israeli authorities insurance policies which don’t seem like an election subject for many voters, though Aipac has beforehand mentioned that its “sole issue for supporting Democratic and Republican candidates is their assist for strengthening the US-Israel relationship”.

Lee has drawn Aipac’s hearth for her assist of setting situations for the US’s appreciable support to Israel, for accusing Israel of “atrocities” in Gaza, and for drawing parallels between Israeli actions towards Palestinians and the taking pictures of younger black males within the US.

In a tweet earlier this week, Lee accused Aipac of funding extremists: “8 days from making historical past in PA–the place Black girls have by no means had federal illustration–AIPAC is funding my excessive GOP opponent. Since endorsing 100+ insurrectionists, AIPAC has repeatedly proven us that democracy has by no means been as vital as holding progressives out.”

Lee’s marketing campaign has a further trigger for concern as a result of her Republican opponent has the identical first and final identify because the outgoing Democratic member of Congress she is searching for to exchange. In an obvious try to use potential confusion, Doyle’s web site doesn’t point out that he’s a Republican.

Aipac’s marketing campaign towards Lee is a rematch after it tried and failed to dam her through the Democratic primaries earlier this yr.

The UDP spent greater than $25m within the primaries to defeat candidates it deemed too important, or insufficiently supportive, of Israel, together with about $2.6m towards Lee. A lot of the candidates opposed by Aipac misplaced however Lee gained her race by a slim margin.

A lot of the promoting in assist of Aipac-backed candidates within the primaries performed up Democratic get together values comparable to equality. A kind of opposed by the foyer group, Congressman Andy Levin who misplaced his main and seat, on Wednesday tweeted that Aipac’s opposition to Lee revealed its professed assist for liberal values to have been a sham.

“If it wasn’t clear earlier than, it definitely is now: AIPAC doesn’t care about our get together’s values and priorities and it’s prepared to empower extremists and undermine American democracy in an effort to defeat principled, progressive candidates,” he wrote.

A kind of who initiated the letter from members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish group was Ritchie Tabachnick who sits on the steering committee of a extra average pro-Israel organisation, J Avenue. Tabachnick mentioned the letter speaks for almost all of the town’s Jews as a result of they’re disturbed at Aipac “supporting a number of the most excessive Republicans, individuals who make brazenly antisemitic remarks promote antisemitic conspiracy theories”.

“It’s fairly potential to be pro-Israel and antisemitic. They usually go hand in hand. Aipac have chosen to prioritise the-pro Israel and ignore the antisemitic components that go together with it,” he mentioned.

Tabachnick mentioned he believed Aipac was trying to close down widening criticism of Israel within the US, a job made extra pressing by the anticipated return of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister in coalition with far-right Jewish nationalists.

“They’re making an attempt to regulate the narrative,” he mentioned.

However Tabachnik mentioned he doesn’t consider Aipac represents the views of many of the US’s Jewish group.

“They’re a loud, politically good minority,” he mentioned of the group.

Aipac denies taking sides towards the Democrats, saying that Lee’s views put her “outdoors of the Democratic mainstream”.

Aipac has been approached for remark.

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