WASHINGTON (JTA) — The political action committee affiliated with AIPAC, the pro-Israel powerhouse lobby, has in less than six months of existence become the biggest pro-Israel PAC in the US, delivering $6 million to 326 candidates.
It is also now endorsing 109 of the 147 of the Republicans who refused to affirm President Joe Biden’s election on Jan. 6, 2021, after a deadly insurrection spurred by former president Donald Trump’s false claims that it was he who won the election.
“The AIPAC PAC is now the largest bipartisan, pro-Israel political action committee (PAC) in the country – and it is quickly emerging as a leading force in American politics,” the lobby said Wednesday in a release.
AIPAC PAC drew sharp criticism last month when it announced its first 120 endorses, among them 37 Republicans who voted against certifying Biden.
Anticipating renewed criticism over its new endorsements, AIPAC struck a defensive posture in its statements on the new round of endorsements.
“Our goal is to make America’s friendship with Israel so robust, so certain, so broadly based, and so dependable that even the deep divisions of American politics can never imperil that relationship and the ability of the Jewish state to defend itself,” AIPAC PAC said on Twitter. “In an increasingly polarized environment, sustained support from both parties makes our alliance with Israel stronger.”
The criticism nonetheless came, spearheaded by liberal Jewish groups.
“AIPAC’s support for these candidates undermines the true interests and values of millions of American Jews and pro-Israel Americans who AIPAC often claims to represent,” Laura Birnbaum, the national political director for J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, said in a statement. “Elected officials who threaten the very future of our country should be completely beyond the pale – whatever their views on Israel.
Last weekend, Valerie Foushee, a Democratic candidate running for a House seat in North Carolina, lost her endorsement from the Progressive Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party in the wake of donations she took from the AIPAC PAC.
“We stand by our progressive American values of democracy and human rights for all. AIPAC’s support of insurrectionists and Senator Foushee’s strong embrace of AIPAC runs contrary to our values,” the group wrote in a statement on Sunday.