‘Reject AIPAC’ Coalition Launches to Challenge the Pro-Israel Group’s Political Influence

A new coalition of progressive groups is calling on candidates to reject AIPAC donations and spending in Democratic primaries.

‘Reject AIPAC’ Coalition Launches to Challenge the Pro-Israel Group’s Political Influence
Demonstrators with the groups Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow demand a ceasefire in Gaza near the U.S. Capitol on October 18, 2023. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

During the 2022 midterms, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) flooded Democratic primaries with ads against progressives and critics of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. The group’s super PAC, the United Democracy Project (UDP), spent more than $26 million last election cycle, virtually entirely in Democratic primaries, making it the largest-spending super PAC in Democratic primary contests.

UDP has amassed around $42 million this cycle, and in the months ahead it is expected to unload in Democratic primaries, with an allied super PAC, Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), sitting on another $3 million as of the latest disclosures. According to multiple reports, AIPAC is planning to spend at least $100 million in Democratic primaries this year.

Today, nearly two dozen progressive groups launched a “Reject AIPAC” coalition to push back against the groups, as well as to call on candidates to reject its endorsements and money. Its members include Justice Democrats, the Working Families Party, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Action, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Sunrise Movement, and MPower Change Action Fund.

The coalition is calling out the immense funding that AIPAC and UDP have received from donors with a deep history of supporting Republicans for office, money that will fuel campaign mailers and TV ads in Democratic primaries.

“We cannot let a dark money Super PAC, especially one that has endorsed 109 insurrectionist election-deniers, 200+ anti-abortion extremists, and is funded by Donald Trump and Nikki Haley’s megadonors, undermine our democracy,” the coalition said in a statement. “Now is the time for the whole of the Democratic Party to Reject AIPAC once and for all.”

UDP has raised millions of dollars in the past year from Republican megadonors like the billionaire Trump supporter Bernard Marcus and hedge fund magnate Paul Singer, who donated $5 million to a pro-Nikki Haley super PAC. As AIPAC’s CEO acknowledged, many of UDP’s ads attacking Democratic primary candidates last cycle did not mention Israel, instead hammering challengers on other issues. 

The coalition says it plans to roll out a “seven-figure electoral defense campaign across paid media and field organizing efforts to defend members of Congress targeted by AIPAC.”

Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, who faces a primary challenge from AIPAC-endorsed former Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, whose opponent Wesley Bell was endorsed by the pro-Israel lobbying group, are expected to be targets of AIPAC attack ads this year.