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Pro-Israel Super PAC is spending big money to defeat Bernie Sanders in Iowa

on 22 Comments

With the Iowa caucus just days away, Democratic Majority for Israel’s PAC (DMFI) has launched a negative ad in the state targeting presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

The PAC has reportedly spent almost $700,000 to run a television spot that questions Sanders’ health (the Vermont Senator suffered a heart attack) and claiming that he’s not electable. “I do have some concerns about Bernie Sanders’s health considering the fact that he did have a heart attack,” says one person in the ad. “I like Bernie, I think he has great ideas, but in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, they’re just not going to vote for a socialist,” explains another, “I just don’t think Bernie can beat Trump.”

The ad does not mention Israel or Palestine at all.

DMFI was formed in 2019 by Democratic insiders and donors to stave off growing pro-Palestinian sentiment within the party. The organization has repeatedly attacked Sanders for alleged anti-Semitism within his campaign. If elected Sanders would become the country’s first Jewish president.

“I think for many months now, the consensus has been that he really didn’t have much of a chance at winning the nomination,” said DMFI president Mark Mellman in a recent interview, “We looked at the situation a couple of weeks ago and decided that assumption was no longer valid — that he really does have a chance to win the nomination. And we thought that would be bad for Democrats, in terms of our ability to defeat Donald Trump, and bad for the issues that we care about.”

Although DMFI has branded itself as a more liberal lobbying group than the average pro-Israel organization, it maintains close connections to to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Although members of the group have avoided talking about these links, a recent article by Alex Kane at The Nation points out that 11 of the 14 board members at DMFI have worked for, spoken at, volunteered with, or donated money to AIPAC. “It’s a rebrand for AIPAC, which has been losing progressives over the past decade,” IfNotNow national coordinator Emily Mayer told Kane.

Sanders campaign co-chair Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) sent out a tweet condemning the ad. “For a Democratic SuperPAC to attack ⁦health is beyond the pale of decency,” it read, “Imagine the outrage if a Dem group had run attack ads about FDR’s polio. Every Presidential candidate must denounce this & call for the ad to be taken down.”

DMFI is stacked with members of the Democratic establishment. In fact, board member Meghan Stabler was just Democratic National Convention Platform Committee by DNC Chair Tom Perez.

As the investigative reporter Alex Kotch pointed out on Twitter, DMFI co-chair Ann Lewis previously worked for Hillary Clinton and co-chair Todd Richman has been a fundraiser for Minnesota Senator (and current Sanders opponent) Amy Klobuchar, as well as the conservative West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.


DMFI’s concerns about the shifting views of Democratic voters are well founded. Recent polling indicates that a large majority of Democratic voters support conditioning aid to the country over its human rights abuses and that almost half of the Democratic voters who have heard of the BDS movement are supportive of it.

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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22 Responses

  1. JohnSmith on January 29, 2020, 3:14 pm

    I don’t know if Bernie Sanders is the first Jew to run for president, or at least to be a leading candidate for president, but it’s pretty rich for people to attack Bernie Sanders because they want to support a corrupt, colonialist, explicitly racist foreign country rather than support an American co-religionist.

    If Bernie Sanders won the presidency it would be one of the most inspiring, historically important moments in American history: the first Jewish president of the United States!

    Not that I personally want Sanders to win–I think he’s a jerk, a crank, and too old, but those things are even more true of Biden (at least as regards the “jerk” part, in my humble opinion). But any eventual Democratic candidate who wins the presidency will be a relief after Trump’s blatant corruption. So, thanks, supporters of Israel, thanks for working to damage democratic candidates for president. If Trump wins reelection, the U.S. will go further down the tubes….

    • Keith on January 29, 2020, 5:42 pm

      JOHNSMITH- “If Bernie Sanders won the presidency it would be one of the most inspiring, historically important moments in American history: the first Jewish president of the United States!”

      Surely you jest. Apparently you weren’t paying attention to how little changed when Barack Obama was elected President. We are a corporate/financial oligarchy for cry sakes. Deal with it.

      • Mooser on January 29, 2020, 6:20 pm

        “Apparently you weren’t paying attention to how little changed when Barack Obama was elected President”

        Yes, the Senate and House were both in Republican hands.

      • Keith on January 30, 2020, 12:09 am

        MOOSER- “Yes, the Senate and House were both in Republican hands.”

        The only people more out of touch with reality than Zionists are you Democratic Party loyalists. Both Clinton and Obama stalled for the first 2 years until they were able to engineer a Republican Congressional majority with which to triangulate. Are you not aware of this?

        ” In the November 2008 elections, the Democratic Party increased its majorities in both chambers, giving President Obama a Democratic majority in the legislature for the first two years of his presidency.”

      • Keith on January 30, 2020, 11:07 am

        MOOSER- “Yes, the Senate and House were both in Republican hands.”

        When Obama was elected, the nation was in the midst of a financial crisis. Millions of new homeowners were in danger of defaulting on their junk mortgages, the entire financial system on the brink of collapse. Barack Obama was elected with a solid majority and both the House and Senate were in Democratic hands and would remain so for two years. The public was outraged concerning Wall Street’s behavior and was demanding action. Obama could have seized the moment to, at the very least, make substantial reforms to an extremely corrupt financial system. Alas, underwater home owners are not major campaign contributors, corrupt financiers are. So Obama let the homeowners sink and rescued the bankers from the consequences of their greed and corruption. A “New Democrat” in action.

        “Privately, Obama had told Wall Street executives that he would protect them. On 27 March 2009, Obama assembled the top executives of the bailed-out financial firms in a secret meeting at the White House and he assured them that he would cover their backs; he promised “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks”.(Eric Zuesse)

      • genesto on January 30, 2020, 2:11 pm

        Obama was a spineless centrist who,afraid he’d wind up like M.L. King if he stepped out of line. Bernie is neither. Whether his presence in the WH would make a substantial difference, at least at first, remains to be seen. But, I don’t see him backing down from his strongly held and principled beliefs (except for his liberal Zionism, which is gradually waning). People say he is uncompromising. I say he is honest, has integrity, and refuses to compromise his principles for political gain.

    • Another Steve on January 29, 2020, 8:52 pm

      I don’t know if Bernie Sanders is the first Jew to run for president, or at least to be a leading candidate for president,

      Depends on whether you count Barry Goldwater, whose father was a Jew, but not his mother.

      • genesto on January 30, 2020, 2:11 pm

        What about Jill Stein?

    • Brewer on January 29, 2020, 9:20 pm

      ” those things are even more true of Biden (at least as regards the “jerk” part”

      Biden is not a jerk. That epithet is not a good fit. This documentary from respectable French outfit Les Crises presents a watertight case for “a deceitful, mendacious, duplicitous, fraudulent creep”:

      Part 2 has now been released:

    • lysias on February 1, 2020, 5:57 pm

      Half-Jewish Barry Goldwater ran for the presidency in 1964, but he lost.

      There have been claims that his victorious opponent LBJ was Jewish on his mother’s side, but I have yet to see them confirmed.

  2. Kay24 on January 29, 2020, 10:13 pm

    Israel’s puppets in the US, can be very vicious, will turn on their own if they do not toe the zionist line, and are willing to demonize any American leader who will criticize or stand up to, American leaders who are in the pockets of Israel’s lobbies, and the propaganda machine. This is yet another ugly display of paid for zionist propaganda. Why is Israel, an alien nation, putting out ads and interfering in America’s politics? We are not fools and we know exactly who this ad benefits. Are they afraid their aid will be cut off?
    Will Americans be okay if an Iranian lobby put out such ads against Trump or a Republican?

  3. Elizabeth Block on January 30, 2020, 9:05 am

    Well, well. Any Palestinian American who has doubts about supporting Bernie Sanders should have those doubts dispelled by this news. It’s said that you can tell what a person is like by his friends – but also by his enemies!

  4. PaulMerrell on January 30, 2020, 9:10 am

    I wonder what DMFI’s ads will say in the run-up to the general election if Sanders gets the Democratic nomination?

    • lysias on February 1, 2020, 6:05 pm

      Probably will be like the Dem establishment’s treatment of George McGovern in 1972.

  5. Jackdaw on January 30, 2020, 9:20 am

    Many Jews are concerned that Sanders has accepted support from Congressmen Omar and Tlaib as well as Linda Sarsour.

    • Misterioso on January 30, 2020, 11:23 am


      “Many Jews are concerned that Sanders has accepted support from Congressmen [Congresswomen] Omar and Tlaib as well as Linda Sarsour.”

      If I were a Jewish American, I’d be very ‘concerned,’ indeed, enraged, that ‘many Jews’ have jumped in bed with Trump and his fellow dim witted, racist, neo-fascist, inept, deceitful and corrupt thugs. As for ‘Omar and Tlaib as well as Linda Sarsour,’ I would be very pleased that they are members of Congress. It’s long since time that America heard the voices of such intelligent, amazing and dedicated American Muslim women.

  6. [email protected] on January 30, 2020, 1:18 pm

    I just donated to Bernie’s campaign. His vision of the future for all of us is the one I want for my children and grandchildren. Donate to him, if you can, even just $2.70 a week until the end of the primaries. Less than $50. What are you waiting for?

  7. echinococcus on January 30, 2020, 4:09 pm

    I’ll tell you what I am waiting for:

    – for irrefutable proof that the old mountebank is doing the diametrical opposite of what he was doing in 2016, i.e. playing the usual Dim sheepdog (a figure that appears at every election to spread a lot of empty “leftie”-but-not-working-class rhetoric in order to mobilize all disgruntled voters — and they are a lot — to vote again for the Democratic Party, organ of the ruler class to organize imperialist war of aggression. No such proof seems possible right now, as he again declared that he will throw the vote to whoever is appointed by the imperialist owners of the (single) party.

    – for any signs that this leopard miraculously changed his spots from murderously Zionist (of the “liberal” or “Labour” variety, you know, those who founded the Zionist entity on mass murder and land theft, then continuously warred and expanded it) because he is now convinced — not for the obvious convenience of adapting his words to his voter base: doesn’t cost him anything, as it’s just words to make them vote for Biden or the Clinton Harpy or Warren or whichever zombie will be appointed…

    – to get out of the imperialist ruler class administrative organ, i.e. the Single Party and its “Democratic” wing of it, and show leadership in solving the key problem with our country: the so-called two-party dictatorship for a single War Party.

    For his minor peccadilloes, those are not a real problem: the obvious fact that his so-called socialism consists in clamoring for slightly more crumbs falling from the bloody war table to be thrown to the middle class and upper middle class — in exchange for their support to imperialist war and mayhem (as proved again and again for his Zionist policies, his blood-chilling support for intervention and war of aggression, his vote for the AUMF 2002 (and the Iraq war, look up what was the legal basis of that aggression), for all military appropriations, his raucous cheering for intervention in Venezuela, Honduras, Libya… one gets tired of repeating the same things and get starry-eyed hollow nonsense from groupies who can’t be bothered to check the goddam record — to understand the crime that support to the “two-party system” is. All that is not really a problem as presidential elections go.

  8. lysias on February 1, 2020, 6:02 pm

    Did anybody in 1956 make an issue of Ike’s heart attack? What about FDR’s visibly failing health in 1944?

    • just on February 1, 2020, 7:42 pm

      I am also weary of many peoples’ accusations of “he/she being too old”. America seems to continue to devalue those that are lucky enough to surmount the travails of life on our polluted planet, to continue to read and evolve, to be able to reach into history and inform the otherwise smartphone occupied youth, to thrive without trashing others. I am not talking about any candidate~ it’s a general observation. And you are correct about Ike and FDR. Bernie snapped back after his MI and is more vigorous than my neighbor @ 27. I know lots of folks in wheelchairs that are sharper than those on a daily Peloton workout.

      Ageism and discrimination wrt disabilities persist in the good old USA.

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