Pro-Israel Group Launches Six-Figure Ad Buy Urging Manchin to Vote No on Colin Kahl

Ads opposing Biden pick for Pentagon policy chief set to air during March Madness

Joe Manchin / Getty Images
March 18, 2021

The nation’s largest pro-Israel advocacy group is launching a six-figure TV and digital ad campaign against Pentagon nominee Colin Kahl in West Virginia, calling on Democratic senator Joe Manchin to oppose the nomination due to Kahl’s positions on Israel and Iran.

Christians United for Israel said its TV ads will hit West Virginia airwaves on Saturday, and its online ads will start running on Friday. The ads will air during the highly watched NCAA tournament games, CUFI told the Washington Free Beacon.

The group has spent the past two weeks mobilizing its substantial network in West Virginia—it says it has 77,000 members in the state—to urge Manchin to vote no on Kahl, President Joe Biden’s choice for undersecretary of defense for policy. Manchin, who has said he is undecided on the matter, is seen as the swing vote on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is overseeing the nomination.

The CUFI ad describes Kahl’s record on Iran as "disgraceful," saying that "he OK’d Iran enriching uranium for nukes that could destroy Israel."

"Kahl opposed Trump moving the embassy to Jerusalem; backed the disastrous Iran nuclear deal; praised Iran’s supreme leader as heroic," says the ad. "Senator Manchin can stop this disaster. West Virginia stands with Israel. Senator Manchin should too. Oppose Colin Kahl. He is unfit to serve."

The six-figure ad buy follows CUFI’s previous newspaper ad campaign in the state. It also comes days after dozens of West Virginia state legislators sent Manchin a letter urging him to oppose Kahl, writing that "you can stand with West Virginia and our ally Israel or Colin Kahl and Iran—but you cannot support both."

Kahl supporters have sought to persuade Manchin as well. Earlier this week, former Obama administration official Martin Indyk took time from his extended vacation in Malibu to organize a coalition of Democratic operatives for a pro-Kahl lobbying campaign aimed at influencing Manchin, the Free Beacon reported.