Republican Jewish Coalition targets Philadelphia Democrat over his charity’s donations to anti-Israel groups


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Republican Jewish Coalition is set to spend more than $500,000 to target a Democratic congressional candidate in a Philadelphia-area district whose charity has given to anti-Israel groups.

Scott Wallace hopes to unseat the Republican incumbent, Brian Fitzpatrick, as the Democrats try to retake the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives this year.

“For the last 20 years, Wallace headed the Wallace Global Fund, which has given $300,000 in grants to organizations dedicated to BDS (targeting Israel with Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions), including Jewish Voice for Peace,” RJC said in its statement announcing a $530,000 ad buy in broadcast, digital and cable media targeting Pennsylvania’s 1st District, encompassing Bucks County in suburban Philadelphia.

Wallace co-headed a fund that gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations whose support of BDS is only part of their broader social justice agendas. But in reporting last month, the Forward cited at least two instances — $50,000 for Jewish Voice for Peace in 2010-11 and $25,000 for a 2005 U.S. tour by British anti-Israel politician George Galloway — where the focus would appear to mostly be on pushing an anti-Israel line.

Wallace is a philanthropist who with his wife headed the Wallace Global Fund until he ran for election this year. Most of its millions of dollars in disbursements go to addressing climate change, African causes and voting rights.

The Forward quoted Wallace’s campaign as saying the grants were “made by a member of the Wallace Global Fund’s leadership from a discretionary fund that other leadership did not exercise authority over.” Campaign manager Eric Nagy told the Forward that Wallace “strongly supports Israel” and “unequivocally disavows the BDS movement.”

The 30-second RJC ad says Wallace donated $300,000 to “anti-Semitic organizations that promote boycotting Israel.”

Matt Brooks, the RJC’s executive director, said the ad buy was part of a larger effort to keep the Congress Republican.

“This will be the first salvo in the RJC’s ‘Majority is the Priority’ campaign for 2018, our effort to educate the Jewish community about the records of Democrats running for the House and Senate in key races across the country,” he said in the statement. “In 2018, the continuation of the Republican majority in the House and Senate hangs in the balance and we intend to have an even greater impact this year.”

Get the inside scoop on the week’s Jewish political news in your inbox. Sign up for The Tell, our new weekly email by Ron Kampeas, JTA Washington Bureau Chief.

Recommended from JTA