Right Wing Jewish Group Drums Up Fears About Sestak’s Record on Israel
When former Sen. Chuck Hagel reached across the aisle last month to endorse Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) for the Senate last month, Sestak gladly accepted the honor as a sign of his moderate politics and cross-party appeal. To a certain group of conservative Jews, however, it was further proof that Sestak was a bad choice for the state of Israel — and they’ve now launched internet ads to try to drum up fear about his candidacy.
The ad in question spends a lot of time criticizing Hagel but is rather short on Sestak’s particular shortcomings. An accompanying website mentions that Sestak once signed a letter asking President Obama to pressure Israel to relax its security measures on the Gaza border. It cites, oddly, a New York Times article that mentions the frustrating and overly burdensome restrictions that were then in place. It also mentions the fact that Sestak gave a keynote speech at an event for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and repeats the claim that CAIR is “a supporter of terrorism.” This claim is based largely on the fact that CAIR was once mentioned as an “unindicted coconspirator” in a terrorism-related trial, which, as the term suggests, means the group was never convicted, nor even indicted, for its any of its actions. It neglects to mention that Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D-Pa.) [have also attended](http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/20100729_Attacks_are_no_more_than_right-wing_fear-mongering.html#ixzz0ysXK4kxi Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else) the CAIR event in Philadelphia in previous years and neither stands accused of hating the state of Israel.
The ad campaign is backed by the Republican Jewish Coalition, whose PAC has thus far spent money this election cycle donating to Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and a host of other Republicans. It has less to do with Sestak’s beliefs and more to do with an effort to sow doubts among Pennsylvania’s pro-Israel population by distorting them.