Democrat Conor Lamb has been working behind the scenes to push back against concerns in the Jewish community over a Washington Free Beacon report on his statement that the Israeli government deliberately targeted civilians and was guilty of terrorism.
Lamb is still yet to comment to reporters on his remarks on Israel, which were made as a college student at the University of Pennsylvania. In the remarks, which are still up on the Daily Pennsylvanian website, Lamb complains that a pro-Israel ad was published in the paper and says Israel is guilty of terrorism.
In the Jewish community, according to a recording of his remarks to one group, Lamb responded to questions on his anti-Israel comments by saying he had "absolutely no memory of ever using those words at all." He also seemed to suggest that the post—which the website's administrators confirm has been sitting on the site since 2002 when it was originally posted and has not been altered—may have been planted.
"I've looked at that several times in the last 24 hours and as a prosecutor I'll give you the most honest and accurate thing that I can say, which is, I have absolutely no memory of ever using those words at all," Lamb said. "In the climate we're in, I think you all can fill in the rest, but all I can tell you is I don't recognize it."
Lamb personally contacted several members of the district's Jewish community immediately following the initial story to say he didn't think he wrote the post attributed to him on Israel.
In private interactions in the following weeks, Lamb began acknowledging he wrote the post.
One Jewish voter in the area who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon said she asked Lamb about the Israel remarks after he walked into a store she worked at. She said Lamb responded by accepting the fact that he wrote the post, but saying he "evolved" on the issue and is now an "advocate for Israel."
Voters in the district say the campaign has been saying Lamb's "views have evolved" when asked about Israel in phone calls with voters.
Lamb's campaign is yet to respond to any requests for comment on his views on Israel.
Lamb is virtually tied in the polls with his Republican opponent in a Pennsylvania special election next Tuesday to fill a vacant House seat.