Candidate disavows J Street

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A candidate in a tight Democratic primary race in suburban Philadelphia asked J Street to pull its endorsement.

Doug Pike told the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent that he was not aware of the depth of his differences with J Street when he accepted the left-wing, pro-Israel group’s endorsement. He also suggested that he had faced tough questions for taking money from J Street’s political action committee.

"Belatedly, I got a clearer sense of the important points where J Street looks at things differently than I look at things," Pike was quoted as saying in this week’s Exponent. "Also, people simply assumed when they heard that I was endorsed by J Street that I agreed with them on everything. The endorsement was an impediment to my being able to explain my convictions about Israel’s security."

J Street is critical of Israel’s settlement policy and backs the Obama administration’s calls for freezing settlements in eastern Jerusalem as a means of resuming peace talks with the Palestinians. 

Pike plans to return the $6,375 he had received through J Street’s political action committee.

"We wish Doug Pike well, but are pleased to see him return the funds provided to his campaign, as it is our purpose only to support politicians with the courage of their convictions," J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami told the Exponent.

Pike is running against Manan Triveldi, an Iraq War veteran, in a district that includes a substantial number of Jewish voters. The winner will seek to unseat Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), who is seen as vulnerable.

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