Anti-Israel Dems Can't Stop Blaming Their Primary Losses on the Jews

After Andy Levin's loss in Michigan, 'Squad' acolyte Nina Turner says 'AIPAC bought another seat'

Twice-failed congressional candidate Nina Turner / Getty Images
August 3, 2022

For the second time in a year, anti-Israel Democrats found themselves on the losing end of a bitter primary battle and rushed to blame the Jews.

On Tuesday night, pro-Israel Rep. Haley Stevens cruised to a 20-point win over fellow Michigan Democratic representative Andy Levin, who has championed legislation to restrict military aid to the Jewish state, argued that anti-Semitism is not an issue on the left, and aligned himself with his party's most radical, anti-Semitic members. As a result, pro-Israel group AIPAC spent to boost Stevens and oppose Levin through one of its newly formed political action committees, the United Democracy Project—prompting Levin's far-left allies to blame the so-called Israel lobby following the congressman's defeat.

"Squad" acolyte and twice-failed congressional candidate Nina Turner, for example, quickly said, "AIPAC bought another seat." Turner herself blamed her 2021 congressional loss on "evil money" after pro-Israel Democrats backed her primary opponent. Liberal anti-Israel group J Street also denounced AIPAC's "aggressive outside spending," which it called "harmful and unwelcome." J Street's statement did not mention its own outside spending in the race—the group dropped more than $700,000 to oppose Stevens.

AIPAC, of course, was not the only outside group that backed Stevens in the race. Pro-abortion giant EMILY's List endorsed Stevens over Levin and spent more than $3 million to support the congresswoman through its own PAC, Women Vote!

While Levin did not mention AIPAC by name in his concession statement, the Democrat did attack what he called a "largely Republican-funded campaign set on defeating the movement I represent no matter where I ran." In response, AIPAC said it was "proud" to have "helped pro-Israel Democrats prevail over detractors of the Jewish state" and accused its critics of hypocrisy.

"A double standard is applied to us when it comes to money in politics," the group's spokesman, Marshall Wittmann, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Those who criticize our involvement often hypocritically support the use of the same tools against pro-Israel candidates."

Levin, who served as president of a progressive Detroit synagogue, has aligned himself with the Democratic Party's loudest anti-Semitic voices.

In the past year, he's repeatedly defended Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) from accusations of anti-Semitism. Tlaib has accused Jewish supporters of Israel of holding dual loyalties and in May collaborated with a pro-Hamas activist who urged Palestinians to attack Israel. Omar, meanwhile, has argued that U.S. support for Israel is "all about the Benjamins baby," a reference to $100 bills that prompted swift condemnation from many prominent Democrats.

Despite those examples of anti-Semitism among his closest allies, Levin has argued that left-wing anti-Semitism is merely "part of a larger machinery to stoke fear and division."

"I don't really [think left-wing anti-Semitism is an issue]," Levin told Jewish Insider in March 2021.

Stevens's victory over Levin marks the latest House primary win for pro-Israel Democrats. In 2021, pro-Israel Democrat Shontel Brown defeated Turner in Ohio's 11th Congressional District and thanked her "Jewish brothers and sisters" in her victory speech. Roughly one year later, in May, Brown again defeated Turner, who failed to airbrush her anti-Israel past after she expressed "solidarity" with far-left groups that accuse Israel of apartheid.