Politics

J Street Hosts Town Hall With Axne (D)

Axne opposed moving the American embassy in Israel

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Liberal Jewish advocacy group J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami co-hosted a town hall with Rep. Cindy Axne (D., Iowa) on Monday night, discussing the 2020 election and the future of American foreign policy.

In the past, Axne has positioned herself against President Donald Trump's pro-Israel stance, in particular criticizing his 2017 decision to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"I think his reckless tweets and the split decisions that he makes and he puts across the media has really put our country at risk," Axne told the Des Moines Register in 2018. "And I don't believe in his idea of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel."

Since Axne's comments, J Street has backed her campaign, giving $3,700 in the first quarter of 2019 and $6,326 in the second. The group frequently supports Democratic candidates who speak out against Israel and pro-Israel policies. President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas praised J Street in 2018, citing his "appreciation for their efforts to support the peace process within American society."

J Street emerged in the 2018 election cycle as one of the biggest backers of Democratic candidates, backing 102 incumbents in the House and 25 in the Senate. The group spread about $5 million across these candidates. When the new Congress convened in 2019, "at least 50 percent of the incoming House majority will be made up of J Street-backed candidates," the group said at the time.

J Street's backing was not as successful in districts where Democratic incumbents faced competitive races. The Washington Free Beacon found that in the 51 competitive House races in which J Street was involved, only 22 were winners, giving J Street just a 42.86 win percentage for House races in 2018. Its record in the Senate was also losing, with just two of the five candidates it backed in competitive races securing a victory.

Axne's Iowa district is considered competitive, with Trump carrying it by three points in 2016.