Throughout the campaign, the National Jewish Democratic Council has decried the Republican Jewish Coalition’s attacks on Barack Obama’s record on Israel, arguing that using Israel as a "wedge issue" weakens bipartisan support for the Jewish state in the long run. But the NJDC’s PAC, at least in one Senate race, hasn’t been shy about using the Jewish state to draw distinctions between the candidates.
In an e-mail sent to NJDC PAC supporters, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) writes that the "New Hampshire Senate race is coming down to the wire and represents a stark choice between a strong supporter of Israel and an incumbent with a clear history of votes against the interests of Israel and the United States’ pursuit of peace and security in the Middle East," referring to Democratic challenger and former governor Jeanne Shaheen and Republican incumbent John Sununu.
NJDC executive director Ira Forman, who is also an official of the PAC, argued that while the e-mail compares the two candidates on Israel, it is different than what the RJC is doing because it never mentions Sununu by name and focuses — other than the one sentence — exclusively on Shaheen’s stated positions. (Unlike Sununu, as a governor she has no voting record on Israel.)
RJC executive director Matt Brooks called Forman’s defense ridiculous. "It’s a distinction without a difference," he said. "It’s clear they have a double standard" and will use the Israel issue "whenever they want."
"They’re political hypocrites," Brooks said.
Here’s the full NJDC PAC e-mail:
Dear ——–: As we arrive at the final days of this historic campaign season, I must call upon you to weigh in on a race of great significance to Israel and to the American Jewish community. The New Hampshire Senate race is coming down to the wire and represents a stark choice between a strong supporter of Israel and an incumbent with a clear history of votes against the interests of Israel and the United States’ pursuit of peace and security in the Middle East. Governor Jeanne Shaheen is a clear and unequivocal friend to our community. She is a strong supporter of aid to Israel and has a clear understanding of its benefits to the United States in both security and economic terms. The Governor believes that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is our greatest national security concern and that no option should be off the table in dealing with this threat. Beyond the nuclear threat, Jeanne also recognizes the destabilizing influence of Iran and the Ahmadinejad regime throughout the Middle East and strongly supports containing Iran. She has expressed clear support for the Lebanese and Israeli resistance to Syrian and Hezbollah presence in Lebanon and has condemned Syrian support for terrorist organizations attacking American and Israeli troops throughout the region. On a matter of deeper importance, I know that Jeanne understands the historic meaning of Jerusalem to our community, and she supports the principle that any decision about the final disposition of Jerusalem belongs to the people of Israel. Governor Shaheen supports other policies that will make both the United States and Israel stronger, safer, and more economically secure. Jeanne will join me in the Senate seeking effective solutions to our dependence on foreign oil. Together we will see the passage of an energy policy that ends our dependence on non-North American oil. Many of the technologies that support this strategic choice have been developed in the United States and Israel. By focusing our research and investment in these areas, and cutting the flood of dollars into OPEC nations, we will be improving both the national and economic security of both our nations while promoting jobs and growth at home. Jeanne will make certain that our federal research funding is guided by science and not ideology and will join me in undoing the damage to our national research infrastructure by the last 8 years of politicized science. The Governor also understands the need for real reform in health care; changing the incentives for insurance companies from denying coverage to the sick to making all of their customers healthier, promoting prevention, health IT; and ensuring that every American has high quality, affordable care within the private market. It is time that our government started focusing on policies that will make everyone better off, from the hourly worker to the small business owner to the innovators who fuel our economy – Governor Shaheen has the intelligence and experience to help us make that a reality. These are just some of the reasons why I am writing you this note and why we need your help. New Hampshire has remained true to its history as an independent state. The voters do not embrace change easily, and this race continues to be a close one. For those of us in the Jewish community, the choice is clear, and we can help the pro-Israel candidate get her message out in the final days. That is why I am asking you to go to http://www.actblue.com/page/njdcpac <http://ga4.org/ct/AdStEY71um-E /> today and adding your support to achieve victory. Jeanne Shaheen has my strongest support, and I hope she will have yours as well. Best Regards,
Senator Ron Wyden >