Levin v Stevens: AIPAC targets prominent Jewish-American lawmaker | Elections News
Royal Oak, Michigan, USA – Andy Levin, a progressive Democrat, says his support for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine is a dominant position in U.S.A.
But Levin, who comes from a prominent Jewish-American political family in Michigan, has in recent months been the target of attacks by AIPACA prominent pro-Israel group is hoping to unseat him in next week’s Democratic primaries.
“I think it’s really sad that the Israeli far-right crowd is trying to define pro-Israel as being against doing anything serious to achieve a two-state solution, like being against peace, against Levin. told Al Jazeera is political and human rights along with supporting Israel.
The August 2 preliminary meeting between Levin and his incumbent counterpart Haley Stevens has emerged as a significant test of Israel-Palestine in the Democratic Party, which has been split between an unquestioning former defender what about pro-Israel and a progressive wing sympathize with the plight of the Palestinian people.
AIPAC, officially known as the US Israel Public Affairs Committee, has spent millions of dollars in the Democratic primaries in the US Congress to beat pre-midterm advances. November – and it celebrated the victory of some its allies in recent weeks.
AIPAC-sponsored ads for Stevens are flooding local radio and television stations, as well as Facebook, throughout southeast Michigan. But Levin says he’s confident he can weather the upcoming onslaught of elections.
“How do you beat that?” Levin asked, strolling around the hardwood floors of a bar where his supporters had gathered for a campaign event in the suburb of Royal Oak, north of Detroit, earlier this week. “You defeat it with human strength; you bang it on the door, by citizen talking to citizen. “
He later said he was also counting on his “authenticity” and the diverse coalition of supporters his campaign had amassed to defeat the AIPAC-backed rival.
Even though Levin doesn’t referring to AIPAC By name, this group is emerging as the top spenders in the state of Michigan, with millions of dollars so far, according to Open Secrets, which tracks campaign finance.
AIPAC, which has endorsed dozens of pro-Donald Trump candidates, is bipartisan; it accepts donations from sponsors affiliated with both major parties. Radicals have criticized the group for using money from right-wing sources and billionaire investors in Democratic campaigns.
Although Levin describes himself as pro-Israel and belongs to a prominent political family, he is Jewish-American – his father is a retired member of the US House of Representatives and his uncle is a US senator. former-AIPAC said that he “represents the faction that is working to undermine the US-Israel relationship”.
Subdivision of the following area 2020 Census merged portions of Stevens and Levin counties, bringing them together in a newly drawn district. In US elections, sitting members of Congress are given preference to retain their seats, so the incumbent versus incumbent primaries are an opportunity for AIPAC to remove Levin.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Levin said promoting “limited honest and open dialogue” about the conflict is “harmful” and does not benefit Israel.
But even with a sizable Jewish community in the county, the race between Levin and Stevens – like most US elections – is not dominated by conversations about Israel. Instead, problems like climate changeeconomy and access to abortion often take precedence over foreign policy.
For that reason, AIPAC ran campaign ads praising allies and disparaging opponents without mentioning Israel, part of what Levin called “double deception”.
He told Al Jazeera: “The first deception was the idea of Republican money coming in and determining the Democratic Party’s preliminary position. “And then… they didn’t even talk about why they gave the money; they talk about other things. And so they’re not even being honest about it.”
AIPAC and its affiliated super PAC, the Unified Democracy Project – which uses funding to run ads against or in support of candidates without coordinating their campaigns – has not responded much. Al Jazeera’s request for comment.
AIPAC calls Levin a ‘voice of hostility’
In an email to supporters this week, AIPAC called the Stevens-Levin race “particularly remarkable,” noting that defeating Levin “would remove a hostile voice” and “strengthen a pro-Israel champion” in Stevens, who often praises the US-Israeli relationship.
Last year, Levin introduced a bill titled The two-state solution act, which would limit the $3.8 billion in annual US aid to Israel from being used for Israel’s occupation or annexation of Palestinian territories – a clear red line for those support Israel. A former AIPAC president described Levin in An email earlier this year as “arguably the most corrosive member of Congress on US-Israeli relations”.
By contrast, Stevens is not openly critical of Israel and frequently makes statements that echo key pro-Israel positions, including voicing opposition to United Nations efforts to investigate abuses. Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Howard Lupovitch, director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Mosaic Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, said that while Stevens and Levin have differences about Israel, they both recognize their “right to exist” as a leader. way of being a Jewish state and advocating a two-state solution. .
When Levin was “in trouble” with some Jewish voters, Lupovitch told Al Jazeera, it was because of his less diplomatic criticism of Israel, as well as his relationship with public figures. leftist politics, especially his Palestinian Americans. colleague Rashida Tlaibalso from Michigan.
Lupovitch said pro-Israel groups are responding to a small but “voice” and “charismatic” group that is perceived as anti-Israel.
“We have gone from unanimous support for Israel to majority support for Israel, which on any other issue will not pose a problem,” he said. “But because the American-Jewish community has been so used to being ‘unanimous’ for decades – for decades, the overwhelming comparison makes some people seem… from the sky. “
Levin defends his relationship with Tlaib, saying that although they don’t keep an eye on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – Tlaib supports a state with equal rights; he favors two states – they can have a productive discussion.
“Jewish boy and Palestinian girl from Detroit, happen to be neighbors, can we model how to make peace together? And the idea that we’re going to unify everything to begin with seems ridiculous,” Levin told Al Jazeera.
He added that he works with a range of progressive colleagues, including Tlaib, to “bring progress to the American people” on other issues.
AIPAC versus progress
Progressives rallied around Levin, who said next week’s main goals were about aggressively tackling the climate crisis, promoting universal health care and having the “courage to say no.” with unlimited military spending in this country”.
The most prominent left-wing senators, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, support him, as do several progressive advocacy groups, including the environmentalist Rising Sun Movement, the liberal Jewish group J Street, self-proclaimed pro-Israel and pro-peace, and youth-led anti-occupation organization IfNotNow.
Meanwhile, Stevens is backed by a former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Congressman Joyce Beatty, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as Emily’s List, an advocacy group for female reproductive rights politicians.
The congresswoman was criticized in 2020 for endorsing former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the presidency, even though he spy program targeting Muslim communities and “stop and run fastThe policy has been denounced by some human rights groups as racist.
But Stevens’ AIPAC endorsement was the most controversial.
Stevens’ campaign did not respond to requests to interview candidates or respond to a list of questions submitted by Al Jazeera. “Here [AIPAC] Stevens said during a debate with Levin in April.
The congresswoman presents herself as a dedicated public servant who served as chief of staff for the US Auto Rescue Task Force, which helped save the auto industry during the Obama administration. Her campaign website describes her as a “strong advocate for unions, women, innovation, making and gun reform”.
Many of Levin’s supporters say AIPAC’s involvement in the Michigan campaign isn’t just about his stance on the Middle East; they see a convergence of interests between AIPAC’s uncompromising pro-Israel stance and the broader anti-progressive bias of some of its right-wing delegates.
Michael Whitty, a retired university professor who is Jewish, said his “interest” in AIPAC is not because of Israel’s allegiance but rather its ongoing efforts to “dislodge progressives” the set”.
“The Democrats are already very weak in America; we are not in Perfect body“Whitty, wearing a navy blue T-shirt with Andy Levin’s name on it, told Al Jazeera.
“So for some people like Republican billionaires to get rid of the Radical caucus, they’ve just punched a hole in this Democrat boat.”