As Bob Casey Distances Himself From Summer Lee's Anti-Israel Rhetoric, She Boasts His Endorsement

Summer Lee and Bob Casey (Wikimedia Commons, Getty Images)
April 10, 2024

Anti-Israel "Squad" member Summer Lee (Pa.) wants voters to remember she’s "strongly endorsed" by Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey. Casey may wish they would forget.

Lee, who has accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza, distributed campaign mailers last month saying she is "strongly endorsed" by Casey, mailers obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show. The mailers could cause problems for Casey, who has attempted to position himself as a pro-Israel moderate in his closely watched reelection campaign.

Casey’s Republican challenger, Dave McCormick, last month called on Casey to rescind his endorsement of Lee over her anti-Israel views and affiliation with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose executive director, Nihad Awad, said he was "happy" that Hamas attacked Israel. Awad contributed $1,000 to Lee’s campaign on Dec. 29, weeks after his anti-Semitic remarks, the Free Beacon reported.

McCormick joins more than 40 Jewish leaders who in March blasted Lee over her planned appearance at an annual fundraiser for CAIR.

"You have continued to use divisive rhetoric, which, at times, we have perceived as openly antisemitic," the Jewish leaders said in a letter to Lee. Among the signatories was the rabbi of Tree of Life, a synagogue in Lee’s district that was the site of a 2018 terrorist attack.

Lee’s primary challenger, Bhavini Patel, joined in their criticism.

Lee has been highly critical of Israel’s response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, the worst terrorist attack in the Jewish state’s history. She has said Israel’s actions "look increasingly like a genocide of innocent Gazans." She was 1 of 10 Democratic lawmakers to sponsor legislation in October for an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza, without conditions to release American and Israeli hostages.

Lee’s and Casey’s disparate views on the Israel-Hamas war are perhaps best highlighted by their relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel group that is spending heavily against Squad members and other anti-Israel Democrats.

Lee was the featured speaker last month for the "Reject AIPAC" campaign, which calls AIPAC a "hawkish force in American politics" that "supports and amplifies far-right politicians and candidates." As part of the "Reject AIPAC" pledge, lawmakers vow to reject endorsements from AIPAC and any political action committees aligned with the group.

AIPAC has endorsed Casey and raised more than $124,000 for his campaign last year, according to campaign disclosures.

The Casey and Lee campaigns did not respond to requests for comment.

It’s not the first endorsement-related controversy for Casey. Last month, a police union in suburban Philadelphia endorsed McCormick after Casey appeared at a campaign event with Indivisible Philadelphia, a group that has called to defund police departments.