Arizona Hopeful Parries Attacks on Israel

Candidate in Hot Congressional Race Insists She's Pro-Israel

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published August 07, 2012, issue of August 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

An effort to portray a candidate in a high-stakes Arizona Democratic congressional primary as anti-Israel doesn’t seem to have rallied local pro-Israel activists against her.

Krysten Sinema
ap photo
Krysten Sinema

Kyrsten Sinema, a former Arizona state legislator and the only non-Jew in the three-person Democratic race, has been the subject of a handful of articles highlighting her past ties to liberal anti-war groups that have been harshly critical of Israel.

In a joint statement made with opponent David Schapira, an Arizona state legislator, Sinema struck back, accusing their opponent, former state party chairman Andrei Cherny, of being behind what the statement describes as “false attacks” on her Israel record.

“It’s this weird story that one of my opponents has decided he wants to tell,” Sinema told the Forward. “So I had to spend a lot of time telling folks… the truth.”

With the Democratic primary less than a month away, Sinema seems to have succeeded in parrying the attacks. In mid-July, one Arizona lobbyist with ties to the Jewish community and to the local AIPAC branch hosted an event for Sinema attended by members of the local Jewish community, some of whom donated to the campaign.

“All three of the candidates in the Democrat primary for congress in Congressional District 9 have relationships with people in the Jewish community, and all of them have supporters within the community,” said Ron Ober, founder of the Policy Development Group, the lobbyist who organized the Sinema event.

The Cherny campaign repeatedly refused requests to speak with the Forward for this story.

Andrei Cherny
ap photo
Andrei Cherny

Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Tempe and parts of Scottsdale, Mesa and Phoenix, is a new seat carved out after Arizona gained a seat in redistricting following the 2010 census. The race for the rare open seat is considered wide open by analysts. Nine candidates are running in the Democratic and Republican primaries. The general election is projected to be a toss-up between the Republican and Democratic nominee.

The Democratic field consists of three high-profile Arizona politicans. Both Sinema and Schapira have represented parts of the district in the state legislature. Cherny, meanwhile, is seen as a fast-rising figure in the national Democratic Party.

Though Cherny has more cash on hand than his opponents as of the latest federal filings, Roll Call newspaper reported July 31 that Sinema is considered to be the race’s frontrunner.

Republican candidates for the seat have raised far less, raising Democratic hopes of grabbing thedistrict, where a majority of voters backed President Barack Obama in 2008. Travis Grantham, a local businessman, has had the most success fundraising of the six Republican candidates. Vernon Parker, a former mayor of Paradise Valley, lost a 2010 Republican congressional primary, but appears set to do well in this race, according to Roll Call.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.