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Report: AIPAC Is Funneling GOP Donor Money Into Democratic Primaries

“I want to support the most conservative person who can win,” one Republican donor said.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, speaks via video to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) during the Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

Israel’s most influential U.S. lobbying group is the largest single source for cash infusions from Republican donors in this election’s Democratic primaries, reveals a new report shining a light on the conservative influence that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) has on federal politics.

A Politico analysis released on Sunday finds that nearly half — 46 percent — of AIPAC donations to Democratic candidates this year have come from donors who have given to Republican causes or candidates since 2020. This is staggeringly high compared to 2 percent of donations to Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue coming from those who have recently given to Republicans, the analysis found.

AIPAC’s primary goal for this election, and seemingly in previous cycles, has been to push out progressive and Democratic critics of Israel from primaries. The lobbying group and its offshoots are expected to spend $100 million on defeating progressives in this election cycle alone, and has already launched fierce campaigns to unseat people like Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) and Cori Bush (D-Missouri), who have spoken out against Israel’s genocide in Gaza and apartheid in the West Bank.

The group has focused heavily on Bowman (who is facing an AIPAC-backed challenge from businessman George Latimer), spending half a million dollars every day on the campaign to unseat him on average, according to the New York Working Families Party. Between May and June, AIPAC spent over $13 million on unseating Bowman alone.

The report shows the vast influence that Democratic leaders are allowing Republican-aligned donors to have over Democratic elections in their embrace of AIPAC — and, thus, on the direction of the party itself.

Republican donors to AIPAC are quick to admit their goals of pushing the Democratic party further right.

“Under the William F. Buckley rule of politics, I want to support the most conservative person who can win,” Eric Levine, Republican Jewish Coalition board member, told Politico. Levine has donated to Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-New York), Democrats’ most outspoken supporter of Israel in the House. “And Ritchie Torres is the most conservative person who can win in the Bronx, and he is right on the issue of Israel and antisemitism in the United States.”

If AIPAC is successful in efforts to subjugate candidates who support Palestinian rights — as the group has been before — it would have rippling effects. Congress as a whole would be even more uncritically supportive of Israel than it already is, and it would lose crucial figures who support policy initiatives like universal health care, affordable housing or closing the growing wealth gap.

“AIPAC is using this issue as a way to attract Republican dollars, to then try to oust to a broader progressive agenda as well,” Beth Miller, Jewish Voice for Peace Action political director, told Politico. “The strongest voices for Palestinian rights in Congress right now are aligned with a broad range of progressive issues.”

“Hmm it’s almost like AIPAC functions as a political slush fund for Republican billionaires and should not have influence in the Democratic Party, let alone our primaries,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), in response to the report.

Indeed, one Republican donor said that supporting pro-Israel candidates is especially important in deep blue regions — the areas that would be more likely to elect progressive candidates who back left-wing proposals.

“It’s important for all American Jews to support them especially if they’re in Democratic stronghold seats to make sure that those seats won’t be occupied by radical far-left Democrats,” said another Republican Jewish Coalition board member, Gabriel Groisman, per the report. Groisman has given to outspoken Zionist Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Florida) and also singles out Torres and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey) as candidates to support.

The Politico report is the latest showing that AIPAC has become a vehicle for conservatives and the wealthy to exercise their influence in Democratic elections. In These Times found in a recent investigation that nearly 60 percent of donors to AIPAC SuperPAC United Democracy Project between January 2023 and February 2024 were top-level executives, including billionaires.

Meanwhile, Truthout found in an investigation published last week that billionaires who have given to United Democracy Project have also given millions of dollars to groups that oppose the labor movement — a movement key to the left.

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