GOP Zeroes in on 'Stridently anti-Israel' Democrats Ahead of Convention

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Sheldon Adelson attends a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas in March 2014.
Sheldon Adelson at a meeting of The Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas in March 2014.Credit: AP

The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday launched an online campaign that highlights what it calls anti-Israel voices in the Democratic Party – Cornel West, Congressman Keith Ellison, and James Zogby, the three members of the party’s platform drafting committee.

“Radical Democrat. Stridently anti-Israel. Hand selected to be a member of the twenty sixteen Democrat Platform Committee,” the narrator says in three separate ads, each highlighting statements by the three members appointed by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Republican Jewish Coalition ad against "Radical Democrat Cornel West"

“Sadly this isn’t the old Democratic Party. It’s today’s Democratic Party.”

The ads, according to the RJC, will run online only and be targeted with advertising buys to voters throughout the country.

“Israel must always be a bi-partisan issue and sadly we’ve recently seen that historic bond between Israel and the Democratic party erode and weaken,” RJ C’s executive director Matt Brooks said in a statement.

“Progressive anti-Israel Democrats are doing everything they can to destroy the pro-Israel consensus that has existed for the past sixty years.”

The disagreements within the Democratic Party were on display when representatives of the platform drafting committee met in Washington, D.C., earlier this month for a public hearing. During the hearing, West said:

“For too long the Democratic Party has been beholden to AIPAC” and “for so long the U.S. has been so biased toward Israeli security.”

He also questioned whether the Democratic Party would respond in the same way if there was “a Palestinian occupation of our precious Jewish brothers and sisters.”

Zogby, pushing for including the word “occupation” in the platform, stressed, “It has been recognized by every U.S. administration that there is an occupation. “Would you not feel that it is more important to include the word ‘occupation’ which our president, this current president has mentioned and every previous president has mentioned, as a way simply of clarifying that to get to two states an occupation has to end.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council responded to the RJC ads by taunting them for not being able to defend their own party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, and his rhetoric on the campaign trail.

“We understand why they don’t want to be defending their racist, sexist and bigoted candidate who peddles in anti-Semitic tropes, but notice how they don’t even mention Hillary Clinton’s actual record,” the NJDC said in a statement.

“As they oppose the only consistently pro-Israel nominee in this race, this is going to be a tough year for RJC – all while more and more of their people stand with Israel and strengthening the US-Israel relationship by abandoning Trump.”

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