Republican convention’s ex-Democrat has a pro-Israel record


Artur Davis, a former Democratic congressman, is going to be a featured speaker at the Republican National Convention. Only four years earlier, he had been a national co-chair of the Obama campaign and even gave a speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention seconding Obama’s nomination.

Davis, who in 2010 ran for Alabama governor and lost in the Democratic primary, announced in May that he would become a Republican, criticizing Democrats on economic policy, taxes, health care, affirmative action and religious freedom issues.

Davis has a long history of friendly relations with supporters of Israel. He was first elected to Congress in 2002 in a high-profile race with the support of pro-Israel donors from around the country. He unseated Rep. Earl Hilliard, a fellow black Democrat who was seen as unfriendly to Israel and whom Arab-American donors rallied around.


At the time, the efforts by pro-Israel donors to unseat Hilliard (and fellow black incumbent Cynthia McKinney) irked some African-American leaders. But Davis — like Obama a graduate of Harvard Law School — ended up being seen as a rising Democratic star. That is until he alienated many members of his party with his vote against the Obama health care plan.

In Congress, Davis continued to be an active supporter of Israel. In 2008, he co-authored an Op-Ed with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) taking issue with Walt and Mearsheimer’s criticisms of Israel’s American backers.

Back in May, Commentary’s Josh Mandel celebrated Davis’ decision to break with the Democrats. In contrast, Glen Browder, also a former Alabama congressman and a self-described friend of Davis, expressed sadness at the switch.

Davis, for his part, has suggested that he might run for office in Virginia as a Republican.


Recommended from JTA