Rep. Eliot Engel is one of the most powerful members of the Democratic Congressional Caucus. He’s been in the House for 27 years and leads the Foreign Affairs Committee. Engel is especially known as one of Aipac’s most effective water-carriers. His role in the Foreign Affairs Committee is particularly crucial, since this is where Israel-related legislation originates.
After Alexandria Ocasio Cortez defeated another white Democrat, Joe Crowley, in a neighboring Bronx district, Engel has looked increasingly vulnerable. Like Crowley, not only is Engel powerful, with lots of seniority; he is also white and out of touch with his majority-minority district. Engel ‘toughed out’ the Covid19 epidemic not with his constituents in the Bronx, but in his Maryland home. Talk about solidarity!
After Engel had to beg a Hispanic State legislature candidate to speak at a rally, saying he wouldn’t ask if he wasn’t in a primary campaign, Engel has looked increasingly bedraggled. Politically, he’s like a deer caught in the headlights.
The latest news reported by The Intercept has things looking even worse. Engel’s opponent is former school principal, Jamaal Bowman, who’s been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, AOC, and even the NY Times. With things looking as bad as they do not only for Donald Trump and the GOP, but for conservative Democrats as well, the time is ripe for insurgent candidates like Bowman.
But into the fray steps the Israel Lobby: a GOP Super PAC has funneled $100,000 to the Engel campaign. But it couldn’t be seen to be doing this directly, so it laundered the funds via the Democratic Majority for Israel, which is essentially the Democratic arm of Aipac. DMFI has a checkered history of attacking progressive Democrats who aren’t sufficiently loyal to Israel. It spent $1-million in attack ads against Bernie Sanders in Iowa, which helped him win the primary there. Now, it is spending $600,000 on anti-Bowman attack ads. $100,000 of this isn’t even DMFI money–it comes directly from the GOP.
So the question must be asked: does the Democratic National Committee accept its candidates taking dirty money, even indirectly, from Republicans? Who and what is the DMFI? Is it what it claims to be or a front group for Aipac, permitting it to take down progressive Democratic candidates under the guise of a faux Democratic Super PAC?
Last month, Deborah Lipstadt and Dan Shapiro hosted a virtual fundraiser for Democratic fatcat donors. It was sponsored by DMFI. I’ve tweeted to Shapiro asking if he is continuing his affiliation with the organization in light of this news. One also has to ask why Joe Biden is taking money from this sleazebag operation. There have to be better, cleaner ways for Biden to raise money from Jewish Democrats than taking tainted loot from a group in cahoots with Mitch McConnell.
I’ve donated to Bowman. Let’s get the Lobby out of Congress, or at least give a decent, progressive foreign policy a chance. Retire Eliot Engel! Maybe his Aipac donors can even buy him a nice retirement villa in an Israeli settlement.