Leading Jewish Democrat: Biden's embrace of Israel sent clear message to party

Published date20 July 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
Paying attention to US party primaries before a midterm is getting deep into the American political weeds. Nevertheless, these primaries will have a significant impact on Israel in that they will determine whether that wing of the progressive flank of the Democratic party that is highly critical of Israel – a wing that includes members such as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – increases or decreases in power in the next Congress

Such a primary was held on Tuesday in Maryland's fourth congressional district, a middle-class neighborhood that encompasses the suburbs of Washington and whose population, according to the last census, was 51% black, 25% white, and 17% Hispanic. It is obviously not a district where the intricacies of the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian issues were foremost in the minds of the voters.

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Yet there was The New York Times calling the race there nothing less than a "proxy fight over Israel."

Why? Because the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's newly established super PAC, the United Democracy Project (UDP), was supporting one candidate – Glenn Ivey, the eventual victor – and J Street was supporting his rival, former congresswoman Donna Edwards. The UDP spent $5.9 million on Ivey's campaign, and J Street spent $720,000 on Edward's.

This is one of several races where AIPAC and J Street have gone head to head supporting opposing primary candidates, with J Street in general supporting the progressive candidates backed by figures such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and AIPAC supporting the more moderate, mainstream Democratic candidates.

In most of those races, the AIPAC candidate has come out on top. This matters, because in most of those races, whoever wins the Democratic primary will go on to win the election, since the overwhelming majority of Congressional districts are non-competitive. What that means is that the district's lines have been drawn in such a way that by looking at the demographics of the district, it is possible to predict the outcome of the general election.

Like in Maryland's fourth district, for instance, where there hasn't been a Republican representative since 1987, and where there have only been two Republican congressmen in the last...

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