Norm Coleman, the chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former senator from Minnesota, is fundraising for a candidate for Senate in that state who once said the GOP is “controlled” by the “Israeli lobby.”
Coleman will host a Feb. 27 fund-raiser for Jason Lewis in Washington. Lewis, a congressman from the state from 2017-2019, hopes to win the GOP primary to face off against incumbent Democratic Sen. Tina Smith.
CNN’s KFile last year uncovered audio from a talk radio show Lewis hosted in 2013 in which he discusses the opposition among some in the pro-Israel community to President Barack Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, a former GOP senator from Nebraska who once referred disparagingly to the “Israel lobby.”
Lewis on the radio show alleged that dual Israeli-American citizens in Congress and in government influenced Israel policy. He named John Bolton, then a former UN ambassador, among them, although Bolton is neither a citizen of Israel or Jewish.
“They do have, they do control of the Republican Party right now,” Lewis said then. “The Republican Party is essentially a neo-conservative party that believes in unending support for Israel. A blind loyalty towards Israel is the linchpin of being a good Republican. And when you get those sort of dual loyalties, what happens if it’s not in America’s best interest?”
Lewis also refers to a “very strong American Jewish lobby” to explain U.S. support for Israel but says he does not see that “as a negative.”
Andrew Kaczynski, the CNN reporter who runs KFile, on Feb. 15 posted on Twitter an announcement that Donald Trump Jr. would be speaking at the event.
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Coleman, who is hosting the event, lashed out at Kaczynski on Twitter, and said that Lewis in his two years in Congress “was a staunch and consistent champion of Israel.”