AIPAC seeks to unseat Congressional Black Caucus members over Israel

“This is shameful,” said Ameshia Cross, Democratic strategist, tells theGrio.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) launched a multi-million-dollar campaign against some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) over their views on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Democratic strategist Ameshia Cross told theGrio, “I believe this is shameful.”

“I say that because there has been a long-standing history of support between the Black community and the Jewish community, which largely came from the uproots of the civil rights movement,” said Cross.

Members of the CBC,
UNITED STATES – MAY 9: Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, conducts a news conference following the CBC’s National Summit on Democracy & Race near Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

She continued, “AIPAC is a very large organization, a very well-funded organization, one that has also experienced a lot of Black support from not only various CBC members but also state and local government leaders who happen to be Black.”

Last week, the pro-Israel lobbying group announced that it would spend upwards of $100 million to unseat all eight members of the so-called “Squad” in the 2024 midterm elections. The “Squad” includes Reps. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Summer Lee, D-Pa., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. 

A spokesperson for Pressley told theGrio, “AIPAC has become a right-wing group that spends millions in Republican donor money to silence anyone who advocates for the dignity, humanity, and rights of Palestinians, Israelis, and all people.

“It’s unsurprising they would target progressive women of color with strong support in their districts and whose advocacy for a cease-fire is overwhelmingly supported by the American public,” said the Pressley spokesperson.

Cross said AIPAC’s campaign against the “Squad” is “heart-wrenching because of the fact it speaks to something deeper.”

“It is a step toward something that is largely being funded by conservatives to knock off Black leaders,” she argued. Cross said it’s particularly troubling as the group is targeting Black lawmakers who are “fighting” for modern civil rights, equity, criminal justice reform, and education.

Congresswoman Lee took to X to respond to AIPAC, writing, “1 PAC promising to spend 100 MILLION dollars against 5 working class, Black & brown reps in working class districts…is why we can’t have a representative democracy.”

She added, “…what if we had governing that reflected our community’s needs instead of AIPAC’s?”

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also took to X: “Gotta spend $100 million to unseat the few who believe in Palestinian human rights & a ceasefire that most Americans already support. The acceptable level of dissent is 0.”

In October 2022, House Democrats, including some members of the “Squad,” introduced a resolution demanding the Biden-Harris administration to encourage Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call for a cease-fire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 

(From L) US Representative Cori Bush, D-MO, US Representative Ayanna Pressley, D-MA, US Representative Ilhan Omar,D-MN, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,D-NY, attend a rabbis news conference calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on November 13, 2023. Thousands of civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants based in the Gaza Strip entered southern Israel in an unprecedented attack triggering a war declared by Israel on Hamas with retaliatory bombings on Gaza. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The resolution came days after Hamas launched an attack against Israel, killing at least 1,200 people on Oct. 7. Since then, more than 11,000 have died in Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. 

In a previous interview, Congressman Bowman called for a cease-fire in the region and told theGrio that President Biden “should be leading in terms of a cease-fire and in terms of getting to a place of talking about a pathway forward.” 

Bush previously told theGrio that was was “disturbed” by the U.S. government’s “willingness to immediately cave to calls for unconditional support and write a blank check for the Israeli military while blatantly ignoring the violence and dehumanization of Palestinian civilians.”  

Cross said she thinks this moment is “bigger than the war in Israel right now” as AIPAC targets Congress’ Black and brown progressive leaders.

“I don’t think that the Black community will forget. Specifically, because of the policies these Congress members actually stand on,” she explained.

During the 2022 midterm elections, AIPAC endorsed 109 Republican congressional members who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The lobbying group was also a top donor for Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson’s 2022 re-election campaign in Louisiana. 

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Please download theGrio mobile apps today!