J Street-Backed Virginia Democrat Smeared By GOP Over Israel Book by the Forward

J Street-Backed Virginia Democrat Smeared By GOP Over Israel Book

A Republican campaign flyer linking a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives with last year’s white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia has been slammed by J Street, which backs the candidate, as one of the most “disgusting political attacks we’ve ever seen.”

The flyer, sent by the Republican Party of Virginia, claims that journalist Leslie Cockburn — who is running in Virginia’s expansive 5th district, which includes Charlottesville — “spread anti-Semitic propaganda” after writing an “anti-Jewish” book they said was praised by neo-Nazi groups including Stormfront. The ad also superimposed a picture of Cockburn over tiki torch-carrying white supremacists who marched through the University of Virginia while chanting “Jews will not replace us” during the deadly 2017 protests.

“Because she co-authored a book decades ago critical of Israel, the mailer accuses her of spreading anti-Semitic propaganda. That’s ludicrous,” the left-wing Jewish group’s national political director, Ilya Braverman, wrote in response. “Criticizing Israeli policies doesn’t make someone anti-Israel. And it ABSOLUTELY doesn’t make someone anti-Semitic. Throwing around such accusations diminishes the very serious and growing threat of anti-Semitism in this country.”

Cockburn co-wrote the 1991 book “Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship” with her husband. A New York Times review described the text as “largely dedicated to Israel-bashing for its own sake.”

The candidate’s website says if elected, she will respect the relationship between the United States and Israel’s intelligence agencies and “do everything in my power to encourage its most productive and creative use to promote peace in the region and a two-state solution.”

The district, which covers Charlottesville and stretches west of Richmond up toward the D.C. suburbs, has a small Jewish population, ranking 302nd out 438 congressional areas in terms of Jewish residents.

Cockburn is running against Republican Denver Riggleman to replace incumbent GOP Rep. Tom Garrett, who announced he was retiring to deal with an alcohol problem.

Though the district leans Republican and President Trump carried it by 11 points in 2016, Democrats believe they have a shot with Garrett leaving during a potential “blue wave” election year.

Contact Ben Fractenberg at fractenberg@forward.com or on Twitter, @fractenberg

Aisha Tahir contributed reporting.

J Street Virginia Democrat Smeared For Book On Israel

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

J Street-Backed Virginia Democrat Smeared By GOP Over Israel Book

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close