AIPAC-backed pro-Israel candidate beats progressive contender in Democratic primary - The Jewish Voice
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AIPAC-backed pro-Israel candidate beats progressive contender in Democratic primary

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By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An AIPAC-backed candidate scored another victory Tuesday against a rival funded by the progressive J Street, this time in a Democratic primary race in Michigan.

In a battle of two incumbents, Rep. Haley Stevens, 38, handily beat Rep. Andy Levin, 61, by 20 points. The two ran against each other because the state lost a congressional seat and Levin felt he had a better chance in Detroit’s 11th District after the boundaries of his own 9th ward were redrawn.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies in Washington, supported Stevens with over $5 million in contributions from its members and its super-PAC.

The two-term congresswoman, who is not Jewish, is an outspoken supporter of the Jewish state. On her campaign website, she called Israel America’s “strongest ally in the region,” which “Congress must continue to unconditionally support” with critical military aid, including “strengthen[ing] its missile defense capabilities.”

Stevens also agrees with Jerusalem regarding Iran, stating that “diplomacy must be the first option and is the best solution, but all options must remain on the table” to prevent the mullahs from getting a nuclear weapon.

AIPAC hailed its “monumental victory for our community and our work together to strengthen the US-Israel relationship,” calling Levin “a detractor” of those ties. Its former director, David Victor, who hails from Detroit, had gone even further, stating that Levin was “arguably the most corrosive member of Congress to the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Levin, who is Jewish, has also been a member of Congress since 2019, succeeding his father after he retired following a 35-year tenure. He considers himself an Israel supporter yet is also deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which includes fellow Detroiter Rep. Rashida Tlaib and other members of the so-called Squad who are openly anti-Israel.

He defended Squad members Tlaib and Ilhan Omar (D-MIN) when they were accused of antisemitism, and in his recent Two-State Solution Act, he sought to limit Israel’s ability to use American aid for self-defense.

J Street backed Levin to the tune of some $700,000.

The progressive lobbying group, which calls itself pro-Israel, is known for supporting policies that Israeli governments have considered dangerous to the country, such as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

According to AIPAC, Levin is the 10th candidate it has successfully backed in primary action this year with its brand-new funding arm. In one of its most important victories, last month the group financially backed challenger Glenn Ivey, who took on anti-Israel Congressional incumbent Donna Edwards in Maryland. Edwards, too, had support from J Street.

After Tuesday’s loss, J Street issued a statement saying that “the aggressive outside spending of AIPAC” was “alarming,” “harmful and unwelcome,” while leaving out its own outside support for Levin.

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