Yesterday it was the allegation that maps depicting Palestinian dispossession are anti-Semitic. Today J Street is called anti-Semitic. This type of rhetoric shows how useless the term has become– it is used to smear any opponent to one’s left.
The Forward’s Nathan Guttman reports on the battle for a Chicago-area congressional district between a Zionist zealot Republican incumbent, Joe Walsh, with ties to the Netanyahu camp, and a two-state-consensus challenger, Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth.
You can see that the issue is getting politicized more and more, though the discourse is still far right. There are few Jews in the district, but many Jewish donors with a political interest in the conflict are funding the races.
Walsh has opposed the two-state solution, saying all of historical Palestine is Israel’s. The shocking statement in my headline appears late in these excerpts.
Duckworth, a decorated combat pilot who lost both her legs and partial use of an arm during the Iraq war, supports the consensus upheld by Israel and by the organized pro-Israel Jewish community in America, from the establishment American Israel Public Affairs Committee to the upstart dovish lobby J Street:
“I support a two-state solution arising from direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” Duckworth’s official position paper states. “Israel must be recognized as a Jewish democratic state, living in peace alongside a non-militarized Palestinian state. There can be no substitute for direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”
…Walsh, according to federal filings for this election cycle, has received $2,500 in donations from the Allies for Israel PAC, a pro-Israel campaign finance committee considered to be right-of-center. Its key contributor is Cherna Moskowitz, wife of casino operator Irving Moskowitz, who has bankrolled the purchase of Arab homes in East Jerusalem for resettlement by Jewish Israelis. Other donors to the PAC include Republican activists Cheryl Halpern, a former chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and Richard Schifter, who served as assistant secretary of state for human rights in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Cherna and Irving Moskowitz have also contributed a combined $5,000 to Walsh’s campaign as individuals.
Though not listed formally as a pro-Israel PAC, the Miami based American Principles PAC, which donated $1,000 to Walsh, includes members of the Falic family in Florida among its donors. Members of this family were among the top donors to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party primary campaign earlier this year.
Duckworth is being backed by J Street PAC, the political fundraising arm associated with the dovish lobby J Street. In the second quarter of 2012 the PAC raised $58,000 for Duckworth out of a total of more than $1 million the PAC raised for all the candidates it endorsed.
“We love to stand up for people who support two states,” said Dan Kilik, director of J Street PAC. “Walsh,” he added, “is one of the worst candidates on our issues.”
The PAC’s support for Duckworth has itself become an in the campaign. “J Street,” Walsh told the Forward, is “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic” and “a group of loony people from the far left” backed by George Soros, the liberal hedge fund billionaire. “Taking even one dollar from J Street is saying you are anti-Israel,” he said.