WASHINGTON — California Democrats have endorsed the grandson of an architect of the Munich Massacre for a congressional seat.
Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Palestinian American, won the state party convention’s endorsement last weekend for the June primary in the 50th District, an inland district west of San Diego. Campa-Najjar has forged ties with his local Jewish community.
Duncan Hunter, a Republican, now holds the seat.
Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, a mastermind of the terrorist murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches at the 1972 Games in Germany. Al-Najjar was assassinated a year later by Israeli commandos.
Haaretz recently reported on Campa-Najjar’s candidacy, saying he rejected his grandfather’s terrorism. Campa-Najjar, who lived for a time as a youth in the Gaza Strip, has said his “goal is for our generation to be better than our predecessors, and find a way to end this conflict.”
Haaretz quoted two local rabbis who spoke of Campa-Najjar’s commitment to Israel’s security, which he does not see as mutually exclusive with Palestinian rights.
After the article was published, Campa-Najjar told local news outlets that for the sake of the Israeli families of the murdered athletes, he hoped his personal story would not be manipulated for political purposes.
“For the sake of the victims, I hoped this tragedy wouldn’t be politicized. But if these old wounds must be re-opened, then I pray God gives purpose to their unspeakable pain,” he told the San Diego Tribune in a statement. “I pray that purpose is to see peace prioritized by my generation of Palestinians, Israelis, and the whole of humanity.”
“Palestinians and Israelis have lost too much over the years of bloodshed, that’s why I am committed to helping broker a lasting peace in my lifetime,” he added.
In his statement, Campa-Najjar characterized the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement as something that “neither side wants, but everyone needs.”
Campa-Najjar emphasizes income inequality in his messaging. He is an admirer of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, whose 2016 run for the Democratic nomination made him the first Jewish candidate to win major-party nominating contests.
Hunter, under federal investigation for alleged financial improprieties, is also facing a slew of challengers in the Republican primary.