Trading barbs is nothing new for the Republican Jewish Coalition or the dovish lobby J Street. One supports Republicans running for Congress, the other raises money for Democrats who share liberal views on Israel, and both have a lot to say about each other.
This latest round of sniping began with the launch of “Stop J Street,” a joint fundraising committee aimed at getting Jewish donors to support Wisconsin Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman, who is being challenged by former J Street political director Dan Kohl. The new fundraising operation was announced on the eve of RJC’s annual meeting held in Las Vegas on February 8.
J Street, in a fundraising letter sent to supporters, warned against the “right-wing megadonors” gathered in Vegas, “desperately searching for a strategy to maintain their extreme-right majority in Congress.” J Street’s solution: “They can have their handful of billionaires, so long as we have you.” To make things even clearer, the liberal group directed its supporters to a fundraising page, asking donors to help reach a fundraising goal of $25,000.
The RJC responded Wednesday with its own email to supporters. “They say we’re afraid of them because they’re involved in a record-setting number of congressional races across the country in 2018,” the appeal reads. “We aren’t afraid of J Street, but we are outraged that a self-proclaimed Jewish group turns its back on Israel and actively supports anti-Semites.”
RJC’s proof: Rep. Keith Ellison, a J Street endorsee and the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, attended a dinner in 2013 sponsored by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and attended by anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The Jewish Republicans offered a similar bottom line to that of J Street - “donate here to fight back,” they urged supporters.