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Progressive Coalition Seeks to Defend Lee, Other Members of ‘Squad’ Targeted by AIPAC

A coalition of more than 20 progressive groups launched a campaign Monday to counter the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), opening up a new front in the domestic political battle over Israel and Gaza.

Reject AIPAC includes Jewish peace organizations and Arab American and Muslim groups that have been organizing in record numbers since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.

Its goal? To “organize Democratic voters and elected officials to reject the destructive influence of the Republican megadonor-backed AIPAC on the Democratic primary process and our government’s policy towards Palestine and Israel.”

In a statement announcing the launch of the new coalition, its members said, “We have watched as AIPAC has done everything it can to silence growing dissent in Congress against Netanyahu’s assault on Gaza — which has killed over 31,000 Palestinians — even as Democratic voters overwhelmingly support a ceasefire and oppose sending more blank checks to the Israeli military.”

The coalition promises a seven-figure “electoral defense campaign” aimed at shoring up members of Congress, including Rep. Summer Lee (PA-12), who are targeted by the pro-Israel group. It also wants members of Congress to sign a pledge to not accept any more money from the organization — explicitly seeking to frame AIPAC in a similarly controversial light as the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“These are a handful of Black and brown progressive incumbents who are under attack from a threat of $100 million in spending and usually Democratic leadership and establishment is up in arms anytime someone primaries an incumbent,” said Usamah Andrabi, communications director for Justice Democrats, one the groups leading the coalition. “But the energy is a little lighter when it comes to some of these progressives and so we are coming together to ensure that they have the resources to defend themselves against AIPAC.”

Justice Democrats, the Working Families Party, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the IfNotNow Movement, the Sunrise Movement, Democratic Socialists of America, Our Revolution, Gen-Z for Change, and the Green New Deal Network are among more than 20 progressive groups that have come together to form the new coalition.

AIPAC, which was founded in 1963, bills itself on its website as a national movement of “more than 3 million pro-Israel Americans from every congressional district who are working to strengthen bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

It also contends that “building bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is an American value we are proud to champion.”

AIPAC also has an affiliated super PAC, the United Democracy Project, that is expected to spend tens of millions of dollars in the 2024 cycle aimed at supplanting left-wing voices critical of Israel with candidates more aligned with the group’s values.

The United Democracy Project spent more than $26 million during the 2022 election cycle, according to the OpenSecrets website, which tracks political spending. Federal Election Commission filings show that the group ended January with almost $42 million cash on hand.

One Response

  1. poor poor Palestinians..three Arab wars two intifadas and tens of thousands of rockets & mortar attacks on Israeli civilians & they still haven’t been able to exterminate the jews.


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