Jewish Republicans target Democrat over donations to anti-Israel groups

Lobby group set to spend $500,000 trying to thwart Scott Wallace’s congressional bid in Pennsylvania, citing his charity’s support of BDS efforts

Scott Wallace, Democrat nominee for Pennsylvania's First District. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Scott Wallace, Democrat nominee for Pennsylvania's First District. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The Republican Jewish Coalition is set to spend more than $500,000 to target a Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives in a Philadelphia-area district whose charity has given to anti-Israel groups.

Scott Wallace hopes to unseat the Republican incumbent, Brian Fitzpatrick, as the Democrats try to retake the majority in the US House of Representatives this year.

“For the last 20 years, Wallace headed the Wallace Global Fund, which has given $300,000 in grants to organizations dedicated to BDS (targeting Israel with Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions), including Jewish Voice for Peace,” RJC said in its statement announcing a $530,000 ad buy in broadcast, digital and cable media targeting Pennsylvania’s 1st District, encompassing Bucks County in suburban Philadelphia.

According to the website of the Jewish Voice for Peace, the organization “supports divestment from and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.”

Jewish Voice for Peace action in New York, July 22, 2014. (courtesy Jewish Voice for Peace)

Wallace co-headed a fund that gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations whose support of BDS is only part of their broader social justice agendas. But in reporting last month, the Forward cited at least two instances — $50,000 for Jewish Voice for Peace in 2010-11 and $25,000 for a 2005 US tour by British anti-Israel politician George Galloway — where the focus would appear to mostly be on pushing an anti-Israel line.

Wallace is a philanthropist who with his wife headed the Wallace Global Fund until he ran for election this year. Most of its millions of dollars in disbursements go to addressing climate change, African causes and voting rights.

The Forward quoted Wallace’s campaign as saying the grants were “made by a member of the Wallace Global Fund’s leadership from a discretionary fund that other leadership did not exercise authority over.” Campaign manager Eric Nagy told the Forward that Wallace “strongly supports Israel” and “unequivocally disavows the BDS movement.”

The 30-second RJC ad says Wallace donated $300,000 to “anti-Semitic organizations that promote boycotting Israel.”

Matt Brooks, the RJC’s executive director, said the ad buy was part of a larger effort to keep the Congress Republican.

“This will be the first salvo in the RJC’s ‘Majority is the Priority’ campaign for 2018, our effort to educate the Jewish community about the records of Democrats running for the House and Senate in key races across the country,” he said in the statement. “In 2018, the continuation of the Republican majority in the House and Senate hangs in the balance and we intend to have an even greater impact this year.”

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