AIPAC increases efforts to oust pro-Palestinian Congress members
In the last election cycle in 2022, AIPAC, through their newly minted political action committees, campaigned against congressional members and candidates in their primaries that they deemed pro-Palestinian.
They did so with some significant success. However, their efforts did not defeat any of the so-called "squad" members, considered the most progressive group of Democrats, who often hold views critical of Israel. That's AIPAC's goal this time.
In two notable cases in the last election cycle, AIPAC, through their PACs, tried but were unable to defeat Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib in their Democratic primaries. However, it was later revealed they came close to Omar.
"While general election outcomes are often predictable, AIPAC's significant impact is seen in party primaries, where fewer voters participate, increasing the influence of substantial donations," Anwar Mhajne, assistant professor of political science at Stonehill College, told The New Arab, noting that it is often preferable for AIPAC to target progressive Democrats during their primaries than the general election, particularly in blue districts.
"AIPAC strategically targets races it believes it can win and refrains from investing in campaigns against prominent progressive critics of Israel, such as Cori Bush, Rashida Tlaib [whom AIPAC pivoted away from early in their campaign against her], and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom they deem unlikely to be successful," said Mhajne.
In the next election, AIPAC is expected to target Omar and Summer Lee, who barely won her first US congressional election in the Pittsburgh area amid heavy spending by the lobby group. Both are considered vulnerable in their moderate blue districts.
This focus on the upcoming Democratic primaries comes as the progressive political action committee Justice Democrats have dismissed nearly half its staff due to fundraising shortages, stoking concerns among leftist Democrats of losing institutional support.