As the 2024 congressional campaign begins to gather steam, a powerful pro-Israel group is planning to wage a major battle against what it believes are vulnerable members of the coterie of far-left Democratic House members who label themselves “the squad.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is planning to spend more than $100 million — almost four times its 2022 spending of $26 million, according to Politico.
Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York is high on the list of targets, although it is unclear if solidly ensconced Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts will be targeted.
Members of “the squad” — Pressley, Bowman and Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Summer Lee of Pennsylvania and Cori Bush of Missouri — have been highly critical of American support for Israel in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 slaughter of Israelis by Hamas.
AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittman said the group is “in the process of evaluating races involving detractors of Israel, but we have not yet made any decisions,” according to the Daily Beast.
“Our sole criteria in evaluating candidates is their position on the U.S.-Israel alliance. We will not only oppose detractors but also strongly support champions of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Wittman said, adding that the group supports members of both parties.
Ocasio-Cortez views AIPAC as a threat.
“They take money from Republican donors, they pour it into Democratic primaries, they exclusively — virtually exclusively — target Democratic incumbents. And so my concern is less about the dilution of progressive power,” she said, adding that the Democratic Party needs to support “squad” members.
“But what I have concerns about is the rupture that this could represent in the Democratic Party and the hostility that it could involve if our party does not stand together against some of the most disruptive tactics that we’ve seen,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez was continued, saying it would be “destabilizing” if Democratic leadership did not come to the defense of incumbents.
“These members are going to have to be defended by our party leadership, and they need to be defended as vociferously as incumbents that have been primaried from other elements of the party,” she said.
Coupled with the loss of fundraising through the liberal group Justice Democrats, Max Berger, a strategist who formerly worked at Justice Democrats, said “the squad” could be in trouble.
“I can’t tell how bad it’s going to get in terms of setbacks and losses,” Berger said. “There are a few races that are going to be very close or have reason to think will be challenging.”
Usamah Andrabi, communications director for Justice Democrats, called the AIPAC intervention “an existential threat to the power you’ve already built.”
Omar and Bush are already facing challengers while one for Tlaib could be waiting in the wings.
Bowman is considered vulnerable because his antagonism for Israel runs against the grain for his district’s Jewish community. Democrat George Latimer, the Westchester County Executive, is a potential AIPAC-backed challenger.
Slate noted that pro-Israel PACS have already started airing ads against Lee, Bowman, Bush, and Omar a year out from the election.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.