(March 18, 2020 / JNS) In the Illinois 3rd Congressional District primaries on Tuesday, a progressive narrowly upset the incumbent, a pro-Israel Democrat, while a neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denier lost in a landslide in the Republican race.
In the Democratic race, Marie Newman won against Rep. Dan Lipinski, 47.1 percent to 44.8 percent, while Arthur Jones came in last in the three-way Republican contest with only 10 percent of the vote.
In the GOP primary, Will County board member Mike Fricilone won 57.6 percent of the vote, followed by real estate broker Catherine O’Shea with 32.4 percent.
The congressional district leans Democratic.
Democratic Majority for Israel president and CEO Mark Mellman told Jewish Insider that his organization chose not to endorse Lipinski in part due to his pro-life stance and opposition to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
However, Republican Jewish Coalition spokesperson Neil Strauss told JNS that “Newman’s win goes to show that, without fail, supposedly pro-Israel groups on the left will throw a pro-Israel candidate under the bus for a more liberal, anti-Israel candidate. Pro-Israel Democrats need to take notice that their party is no longer a pro-Israel party.”
Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, told JNS, “we know Jewish voters are overwhelmingly Democrats and overwhelmingly prioritize domestic-policy issues when deciding which candidate to support. Marie Newman is pro-choice, supports access to affordable health care, and aligns with the domestic-policy positions held by the vast majority of Jewish Americans. JDCA only endorses candidates who share its values on a range of issues, including Israel, and did not endorse Marie Newman in the primary. We look forward to engaging with her on such issues now that she’s the nominee.”
Mellman said “election results across the country are demonstrating that being pro-Israel is good politics, as well as wise policy. We look forward to working with Ms. Newman in the next Congress and hope she will join the vast majority of Congressional Democrats in supporting a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Supports BDS, right to sanction Israel
While Newman has expressed for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she wrote on her campaign website, “I support the right of the Palestinian people and their supporters to use non-violent means to oppose the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, including the First Amendment right to pursue the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, popularly known as BDS, and I will oppose any federal, state, or local legislation to make it illegal or criminalize their First Amendment rights to support boycotts, divestitures or sanctions.”
In 2018, when Newman narrowly lost to Lipinski, an advertisement that has since resurfaced features attacks on her opponent for his support of AIPAC and his stance against the BDS movement.
In the resurfaced ad, Edwards Realty Company president Edward Hassan says Lipinski “was the first one that signed to outlaw the BDS,” referring to the Protect Academic Freedom Act, which the congressman introduced in 2014 with then-Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). The legislation would have prohibited federal funds towards institutions that participate in boycotting Israeli institutions or scholars.
“I make no apologies for being opposed to BDS and standing strong to condemn anti-Semitism in every form it takes. As co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Caucus, I remain focused on eradicating anti-Semitism and religious intolerance of any kind,” Lipinski told JNS last month. “It speaks volumes about my opponent that she would make this divisive ad, and that her campaign chair would make such inflammatory statements.”
Regarding Jones’s defeat, Strauss said it was expected; still, RJC is “very pleased to see that Jones got crushed,” as he “isn’t a Republican, he didn’t belong in our party’s primary, and he has no place in polite society.”
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