Pro-Israel challengers are launching political campaigns against the Democrat Party’s biggest congressional antisemites, including Reps. Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Jamaal Bowman, among others.
“On Monday, Bush became the latest anti-Israel House member to pick up a primary challenger, who cites Bush’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict as one of the reasons he’s joining the race,” according to the Jewish Insider.
Wesley Bell is his name, and he’s the prosecuting attorney of St. Louis County. He’d reportedly previously announced a candidacy against Sen. Josh Hawley but has since ended that campaign and launched a new one against Bush.
“As a country, we have to be reliable partners. We have to stand by our fellow democracies, and we have to stand against terrorism. Hamas is a terrorist organization and I will not waver in my support for Israel,” he told the Jewish Insider.
Yet, to hear Bush tell it, it seems as if Israel is the true terrorist organization:
We can’t be silent about Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign.
Pregnant women, dead.
Generations of families, dead.
Millions of people in Gaza with nowhere to go being slaughtered.
The U.S. must stop funding these atrocities against Palestinians. https://t.co/IlhoZvDD3P
— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) October 30, 2023
During a press conference announcing his candidacy, Bell further said, “We cannot give aid and comfort to terrorist organizations.”
Asked by the Jewish Insider to explain this comment, he pointed to Bush’s vote against funding Israel’s Iron Dome system and noted that America’s enemies, including Hamas, “pay attention” to public disputes in the U.S.
“They want propaganda to try and create confusion and disinformation. I think it matters a lot. And then obviously how one votes. There’s certain things that we cannot politicize and that’s one of them, in my opinion. And as we see — Republicans and Democrats alike, one of the few issues that we all come together on,” he added.
He continued by noting that Bush’s comments on the Israel-Hamas war had played a role in motivating him to challenge her.
“It contributed to [my decision] for the surface reasons that those comments were offensive on many levels, but also from a national security level as well. It’s going to take steady and effective leadership to ensure that we’re able to bring about peaceful resolutions and that often means standing with fellow democracies,” he said.
Omar, meanwhile, may soon face another challenge from former Minneapolis city councilman Don Samuels, who ran against her but lost in 2022.
Speaking with the New York Post, Samuels said he’s considering a new campaign against her in light of her continued antisemitic rhetoric.
“She does knee-jerk reactions to global events which require thoughtful and coordinated responses. It’s a disconnection from the issues of her district. Those issues are public education, public safety, housing prices, affordable housing, and homelessness,” he said.
Next is Bowman, who’s facing what the Post describes as “a potentially strong challenge from Westchester County Executive George Latimer.”
“I have been asked to do it by people who are important and friends of mine. They have expressed an unhappiness with the incumbent over a lot of different issues. Israel is obviously very high on that list. I am a strong supporter of Israel,” Latimer told the paper.
While Rep. Rashida Tlaib isn’t facing a primary challenge yet, this week a nonprofit called the Democratic Majority for Israel released a six-figure ad targeting her.
The Democratic Majority for Israel launched a 6-figure ad buy in Detroit accusing Rep. Rashida Tlaib of consistently siding “with those who support Israel’s destruction” for voting against Iran Dome funding and refusing to publicly condemn Hamas pic.twitter.com/cOvwpMHAR7
— Jacob N. Kornbluh (@jacobkornbluh) November 2, 2023
Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, is facing a challenge from Tina Forte, a Republican who’s been critical of the congresswoman’s unprecedented attacks on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
“AIPAC endorsed scores of Jan 6th insurrectionists. They are no friend to American democracy. They are one of the more racist and bigoted PACs in Congress as well, who disproportionately target members of color. They are an extremist organization that destabilizes US democracy,” the congresswoman tweeted Tuesday.
In response, Forte tweeted the following:
I find it laughable @aoc calls @AIPAC “an extremist organization that destabilizes US democracy” when she stands arm in arm with the @DemSocialists – a Communist front group here in America. #FireAOC https://t.co/R2Lbmfw2Yn https://t.co/WwLTKtooqm
— Tina Forte for Congress (@TinaForteUSA) November 2, 2023
Regarding AIPAC, the Jewish Insider notes that it’s been “working to recruit challengers to Squad members,” though that isn’t its primary focus at this exact moment.
“There will be a time for political action, but right now our priority is building and sustaining congressional support for Israel’s fight to permanently dismantle Hamas, which perpetrated this barbaric, terrorist attack on the Jewish state,” a spokesperson told the paper.
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