The pro-Israel lobby in the United States is running attack ads and supporting primary opponents to challenge members of Congress who are not voting for or supporting Israel’s war on Gaza.
A coalition of dark money and Super PACs, including Israeli-affiliated organizations like Aipac and Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), contributed almost $43 million to US campaigns in the last election cycle, as reported by Open Secrets, a watchdog group on campaign finance.
Rashida Tlaib, a congresswoman from Michigan and the sole American of Palestinian descent in the House of Representatives, is one of their targets. A resolution that Tlaib co-sponsored urged President Joe Biden to issue a cease-fire call. Later, she and several progressive Democrats vetoed a bipartisan resolution endorsing Israel that included any mention of the pain endured by Palestinian victims. Additionally, they have not backed US military aid to Israel.
DMFI has responded by launching a sizable advertising campaign in Tlaib’s district. The ad opens with menacing music and a narrator enumerating her enemies’ complaints. The narrator states that she is one of just nine Democrats who voted against denouncing Hamas’s heinous attack on Israel and one of only seven Democrats in Congress to vote against missile defense for Israel. Inform Rashida Tlaib that she is out of step with humanity and history.
Meanwhile, the millionaire co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, is backing the Mainstream Democrats PAC, which has indicated interest in sponsoring primary challenges against Tlaib and progressive congresswoman Cori Bush from Missouri.
Given that these groups’ prior attacks were mostly directed towards domestic matters, the most recent wave of advertisements marks a strategic change. This time, they are attacking US senators for not endorsing Israel’s war endeavors—a decision that political analysts consider dubious considering the differences among Democrats on the fight. It is noteworthy that Israel has killed over 1,400 Israelis and over 10,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as payback for Hamas’s attacks on southern Israel on October 7.
Actions in Gaza:
There is one Republican who does not support the pro-Israel lobby, and that is Thomas Massie. Even though he declares his support for Israel and its actions in Gaza, he is adamantly against foreign aid and routinely votes against bills and resolutions that ask for US military assistance worth billions of dollars.
The United Democracy Project, Aipac’s Super PAC, has spent close to $90,000 on radio and television advertisements criticizing Massie in his district. Having already experienced Aipac’s attempts to dethrone him, Massie is unworried about the anticipated main challenge.
Though they are unlikely to unseat him, Massie thinks the pro-Israel groups may keep funding attack commercials because it helps them earn money from supporters and sends a message to other members of Congress.
There’s a chance that some Congressmen will be more exposed. Don Samuels, a former Minneapolis city councilman, lost to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar by a small margin, and he is anticipated to declare a rematch. In addition, Sarah Gad, an attorney, is attempting to center her candidacy around the Gaza War.
The United Democracy Project invested $2 million in Pittsburgh in 2022 to challenge Congresswoman Summer Lee in the primary, which she prevailed in by just one point. Israeli interest groups are currently endorsing her opponent, Pittsburgh area borough councilwoman Bhavini Patel. Patel is attacking Lee’s handling of the Hamas attacks and elevating Israel to a primary concern.
According to Patel, our congressional representatives made cautious remarks after waiting their turn to speak. She took issue with Lee’s statement since it implied that Israeli citizens shouldn’t be permitted to defend themselves and did not categorically denounce Hamas’ murderous attack on defenseless civilians.
Lee released a statement denouncing the horrific incident and naming the civilian casualties who were Palestinian. She has also declared, we condemn Hamas in direct response to attempts to remove her from office. We lament the deaths of defenseless Israelis. We are still calling for the hostages to be returned safely. She claimed that although certain Super PACs and their supporters would try to sway her community’s votes away from her support for peace, her community still supports her position against war, in favor of enduring peace, and against the murder of innocent people.