The flier distributed Monday in Prince George’s County uses Photoshop to depict three Maryland Democrats in the U.S. Congress — Sen. Ben Cardin and Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Steny Hoyer — standing over two dogs bearing the faces of County Executive Rushern Baker and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, both African-Americans.
Leggett and Baker, the equivalent of mayors in the populous Washington suburbs, have endorsed Van Hollen, who is facing Rep. Donna Edwards in a primary fight to succeed Sen. Barbara Mikulski, also a Democrat, who is retiring.
“Van Hollen will run against Donna Edwards and other African-American candidates chosen and financed by the Israel lobby for the purpose of splitting the African-American vote in the primaries,” the leaflet said. It accused Leggett and Baker of selling out Edwards “for a few doggy treats.”
It is not known who is behind the flier.
Van Hollen is close to the mainstream pro-Israel community. Edwards has been critical of Israel and has clashed with elements of the pro-Israel community. In her most recent race, Edwards was endorsed by J Street, a liberal pro-Israel group.
Both Edwards and Van Hollen condemned the flier.
“I am outraged and disgusted by the anti-Semitic hate speech in this flier,” Edwards said. “It has no business in our discourse, let alone American politics.”
Van Hollen’s campaign chairwoman, Yvette Lewis, called the flier “disgusting.”
“I know our voters won’t stand for it,” Lewis said. “This kind of hate has no place in the debate about the future of our state and our country.”