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Dershowitz fund-raises for Schakowsky opponent

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Alan Dershowitz is raising funds for a Republican challenger to an Illinois congresswoman in a race featuring two Jewish candidates.

Dershowitz, a Democrat who backed President Obama in the last election, is appearing at a lunch Wednesday for Joel Pollak, who is seeking to unseat Rep. Jan Schakowsky from her suburban Chicago seat.

Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor and Israel advocate, could not be reached by JTA for comment, but Pollak has targeted Schakowsky for accepting the backing of J Street, the dovish pro-Israel lobby. Dershowitz has clashed with J Street, saying it should bring its concerns about the policies of the current Israeli government into the tent of the traditional pro-Israel movement instead of working independently. He maintains that Jewish criticism of Israel weakens the Jewish state.

J Street’s political action committee launched a fund-raising drive for Schakowsky on Tuesday upon learning of the luncheon fund-raiser. Within two hours of sending an e-mail to followers asking, "Have you been itching to send a message to Alan Dershowitz?" the PAC had raised more than $18,000, just short of its $20,000 goal.

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