(February 23, 2022 / JNS) J Street’s political action committee has withdrawn its endorsement for Rep. Marie Newman, an Illinois Democrat who is currently being investigated by the House Ethics Committee over a bribe to a Palestinian activist.
J Street PAC has instead endorsed Newman’s opponent, Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.), another incumbent contesting the Illinois 6th Congressional District seat in the Democratic primary election in late June.
The two were placed in the same district after redistricting last year.
“Both Rep. Casten and Rep. Newman were endorsed by JStreet PAC when they ran in different, separate districts in 2020,” Logan Bayroff, vice president for communications at J Street told JNS in an email. “After redistricting placed them both in a race for Illinois’s 6th District, we reviewed the race based on a number of factors and ultimately have made the decision this month to endorse Rep. Casten alone in this new head-to-head matchup.”
Newman is accused of violating federal election law by promising Palestinian academic Iymen Chehade a job with her office if he did not run against her in the 2020 Democratic Primary. A contract between that two that became public after Chehade sued Newman for breaching it, stipulated that Newman take a certain position on Israel.
Chehade was never hired, despite the contract, leading to the lawsuit and subsequent investigation.
Nevertheless, Newman was one of eight members of Congress to vote against supplemental funding to replenish Israel’s defensive Iron Dome air-defense system following the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza in May. Despite this vote, J Street PAC still held a fundraiser for Newman.
“Pro-Israel America is glad to see that J Street PAC heeded our call to drop their support for Representative Marie Newman. To live up to their claim of being ‘pro-Israel,’ J Street should publicly condemn the congresswoman’s anti-Israel stances and actions and ask that she return the nearly $15,000 they have already raised for her 2022 campaign,” Jeff Mendelsohn, executive director of Pro-Israel America, said in a news release on Tuesday.
“Further, J Street should also renounce its support of other anti-Israel candidates, including Jamaal Bowman, who just last week turned his back on the historic progress being made between Israel and Arab states by pulling his support for the Abraham Accords,” he said.
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