In one of the closest and hardest-fought election races in the country, Democratic philanthropist Scott Wallace lost his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in a disproportionately-Jewish district in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Wallace was criticized by many in the local Jewish community after the Forward revealed that his family foundation had given $300,000 over the years to groups that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
With more than 90% of the voting precincts accounted for, local news stations called the race for Fitzpatrick, who was up 51%-49%.
The race, which was considered a “toss-up” by respected political prognosticators, was shaken up by the revelation that Wallace’s foundation had donated to groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, and to support the speaking tour of British parliamentarian George Galloway, who has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism.
Wallace claimed that someone else working for his foundation had approved the donations and that he opposed BDS. But while local Jewish Democratic groups eventually came around to Wallace, others in the community, not to mention Fitzpatrick, refused to let it go.
During a debate with Wallace at a local synagogue last month, Fitzpatrick struggled when he was asked by the moderator to name something he agreed with Wallace on. According to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, a person in the audience shouted, ““You don’t agree with funding BDS!”
Wallace, who lived in Maryland and South Africa before returning to his Pennsylvania childhood home to run for Congress, had also been criticized by Fitzpatrick for having tenuous ties to the district.
Scott Wallace, Who Gave To BDS Groups, Loses House Race