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Progressive Groups Launch New Coalition to Oppose AIPAC Influence

Progressives who support a Gaza ceasefire, and even moderate Democrats, have found themselves in AIPAC’s crosshairs.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally outside the Manhattan headquarters of pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who accept donations from the group, on February 22, 2024, in New York City.

U.S. progressive groups “working together to take on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its affiliated dark money super PACs” on Monday announced the launch of the Reject AIPAC coalition, which is urging candidates for federal office to not accept endorsements or contributions from the nation’s most prominent Zionist lobby.

Reject AIPAC says it “will 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.”

“We have watched as AIPAC has done everything it can to silence growing dissent in Congress against [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s assault on Gaza — which has killed over 31,000 Palestinians — even as Democratic voters overwhelmingly support a cease-fire and oppose sending more blank checks to the Israeli military,” the coalition said in a statement.

“Now, AIPAC’s Republican donor-funded super PAC is threatening to spend $100 million targeting the handful of Black and brown members of Congress who have led the calls for a cease-fire and the equal protection of Palestinian and Israeli lives,” the groups continued.

Reject AIPAC members include Justice Democrats, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, IfNotNow, Working Families Party, Sunrise Movement, MPower Change Action Fund, Democratic Socialists of America, Our Revolution, Peace Action, National Iranian American Council, and Gen-Z for Change.

“For too long, AIPAC and its Republican megadonors have demanded our elected leaders unconditionally support the Israeli military and government — or else,” Jewish Voice for Peace said on social media, adding, “Enough.”

The coalition’s launch comes as AIPAC taps a $100 million war chest from its United Democracy Project super PAC in a bid to defeat not only pro-Palestine congressional candidates but also anyone deemed insufficiently supportive of Israel as it wages a genocidal war on Gaza while perpetrating apartheid, occupation, settler colonization, and ethnic cleansing across the Palestinian territories.

“Already in this election year, pro-Israel candidates have been immensely successful in primaries, and we were proud to help elect Democrats and Republicans who stand with the Jewish state,” AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told The 19th on Monday.

“On Super Tuesday alone, 79 candidates endorsed by AIPAC won their primaries,” he added. “We are continuing to evaluate races that involve detractors of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Progressive lawmakers including Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who authored a cease-fire resolution co-sponsored by 18 House Democrats, and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — the only Palestinian American member of Congress — have found themselves in AIPAC’s crosshairs. So have more moderate Democrats who AIPAC believes don’t show enough support for Israel. In 2022 the group spent $4 million toward a successful effort to unseat two-term Michigan Congressman Andy Levin, a self-described Zionist and former president of his synagogue.

Reject AIPAC is emphasizing the lobby’s right-wing backers, asserting that “we cannot let a dark money super PAC, especially one that has endorsed 109 insurrectionist election deniers, 200+ anti-abortion extremists, and is funded by [former President] Donald Trump and Nikki Haley’s megadonors, undermine our democracy.”

“Now is the time for the whole of the Democratic Party to Reject AIPAC once and for all,” the group added. “The overwhelming influence of corporate super PACs on our democracy and elections has expanded the gap between voters and their elected leaders into a canyon that has been exploited by every special interest and corporate lobby. Rejecting AIPAC is a crucial step in putting voters back at the center of our democracy.”

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