Pressure rises on Biden, Democrats to reject AIPAC funds

Pressure rises on Biden, Democrats to reject AIPAC funds
Pressure rises on Biden, Democrats to reject AIPAC funds

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed over 31,000 people, according to health officials in the enclave, and created a humanitarian catastrophe. Israel is responding to the October 7 attacks by Hamas that killed 1,200. ― Reuters pic

NEW YORK, March 12 — A coalition of progressive groups is asking US President Joe Biden and other Democratic Party officials to not accept endorsements or contributions from a pro-Israel group and its affiliated super PACs.

The “Reject AIPAC” coalition, which includes congressional group Justice Democrats and the Democratic Socialists of America group, is directed at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and affiliated groups. AIPAC, a political action committee, and the groups have already spent millions of dollars in the 2024 US elections cycle.

The groups’ campaign accompanies an increasingly organised movement within the Democratic Party protesting Biden’s support of Israel. Israel’s attacks on Gaza have killed over 31,000 people, according to health officials in the enclave, and created a humanitarian catastrophe. Israel is responding to the October 7 attacks by Hamas that killed 1,200.

Opposition to US support for Israel hit the vote for Biden in the recent Minnesota and Michigan Democratic primaries, electing more than a dozen “uncommitted” delegates there.

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“The coalition has been in the works for many months to get organisations together that have recognized the destructive influence of AIPAC,” Ashik Siddique, a co-chair for the Democratic Socialists of America, said.

The Reject AIPAC coalition said yesterday it was calling on the entire Democratic Party to not accept support from AIPAC, adding that the group takes millions of dollars from donors who also support Republican interests.

Asked for comment, AIPAC said in a statement that its sole criteria for evaluating candidates from both parties is their position on strengthening the US-Israel relationship.

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Biden’s campaign team and the Democratic National Committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Some of the top donors to the United Democracy Project, AIPAC’s affiliated super PAC, include the Marcus Foundation, a group started by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, and fund manager Elliott Investment Management, according to data from nonprofit research group OpenSecrets. Both the foundation and the fund manager have contributed to Republican interests.

UDP also has donors that contribute to Democratic interests.

Biden, a former vice president and senator, has long been a top recipient of the pro-Israel lobby, receiving over US$5.2 million in support over the last 34 years, the most of any Congressional recipient, according to OpenSecrets.

AIPAC raised about US$24.8 million from January 2023 to January 2024, according to the Federal Election Commission. UDP has raised about US$46.1 million during that period.

UDP spent US$4.6 million against US Representative Dave Min, a Democrat in California, who won the Super Tuesday primary for the state’s 47th Congressional District.

Now, UDP has turned its attention to a race for a US House of Representatives seat in Illinois. It so far has spent about US$268,000 against activist Kina Collins in the March 19 Democratic primary race for Illinois’ 7th Congressional District. — Reuters

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