Democratic congressional candidate Rush Darwish, a Palestinian-American, is under scrutiny in the Illinois Jewish community for his statements in support of boycotts against Israel and accusation that one of his challengers changed her views on Israel to attract "Jewish donors," according to reports in the local media.
Darwish is one of several Democrats running to unseat Rep. Dan Lipinski (D., Ill.). Darwish's candidacy is focused on "his Palestinian-American roots, [raising] money in Arab-American communities across the nation, and [working] to register and turn out the vote among Palestinian-Americans," according to a new report in the Chicago Sun-Times.
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The report draws attention to Darwish’s stance on Israel and raises questions about the remarks he has made about Jews.
Darwish has been public about his support for pro-Palestinian causes such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, and has sought to portray his challengers as wedded to the so-called pro-Israel lobby, according to the report.
"At a campaign kick-off event in June, Darwish in a speech incorrectly said Lipinski got $15,000 from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel influential lobbying group," the paper reported. "However, AIPAC is not a political action committee, does not endorse and does not donate to campaigns. AIPAC members and allies, like anyone, can contribute as individuals and use their personal networks to raise money for candidates."
When asked about these comments by the newspaper, Darwish "provided no details to back up his $15,000 assertion when the Sun-Times asked him about it, saying ‘what I can do at this stage’ is ‘take a closer look. … So if I technically said it wrong, then, I would have to look into that.’"
Darwish also has accused another challenger, Marie Newman, of changing her views on the issue of Israel to attract Jewish campaign donations, according to the Sun-Times.
"Darwish said Newman ‘flipped’ her position on the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement targeting Israel and ‘opposes the right of return, opposes equal rights for all and supports a two-state solution,’ which Darwish said no longer ‘works,’" according to the report.
Darwish said when Newman was "asked by key members in the community, our community, ‘Marie, why the change of heart?’ she admitted, ‘I want to attract more Jewish donors.’"
Newman told the Sun-Times Darwish’s anecdote about her is "an absolute lie."