CONCORD – State Republicans today called on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster to return thousands of dollars in contributions received from a liberal, self-described pro-Israeli advocacy group and political action committee that has been labeled “radical” by conservatives and “well-respected” by a top state Democrat.
According to OpenSecrets.org, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has received $4,300 from the J Street PAC in the current election cycle, while Rep. Ann Kuster has received nearly $30,000 and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has received more than $11,000.
The NHGOP, basing its criticism on a story in the conservative Washington Free Beacon, said Shaheen should “sever her ties with J Street, a radical fringe group.”
Party spokesman Lauren Zelt added, “It’s disgraceful that every Democrat member of the New Hampshire congressional delegation has accepted money from a radical fringe group that is attacking Israel. Congresswomen Kuster and Shea-Porter have also taken tens of thousands of dollars from his shameful organization, and they should return these donations immediately.”
A top state Democrat responded to the Republican criticism, “It is shameful that the New Hampshire Republican Party has resorted to attacking a respected Jewish organization. It’s no wonder their imported candidates are floundering in the polls. Today’s smear is yet another example of how desperate the Republicans have become this year. They ought to be embarrassed.”
In a statement released last Friday, Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s founder and president, said that a ceasefire in the region is temporary and called for “addressing the roots of this awful conflict.”
“Getting to the roots of this conflict means that we – as friends of Israel – have to put forward some hard truths that have become even clearer over the past month:
_ “Keeping the Palestinian people locked up under near-total blockade or occupation only strengthens extremists like Hamas, undermines moderate partners like President Abbas, and increases the threat to Israel rather than making it more secure.”
_ “When members of Israel’s sitting government openly oppose the two-state solution, spout racism, and promote ideas that undermine Israel’s democratic fabric, it’s hard to view this government as a credible partner for a real and substantial peace.”
_ “The Israeli government should pay more heed to the advice of its friends in the White House and the State Department and at a minimum should show them the respect that the country’s closest ally deserves.”
_ “ Failure to solve this conflict is eating away at support for Israel around the world, damaging the country’s legitimacy and, in some cases, fanning growing flames of anti-Semitism.”
He added, “We urge American Jewish leaders and institutions to put as much energy into supporting efforts to achieve peace as they have into supporting Israel while at war. And we highlight the need to fight the racism and intolerance that are growing too quickly in Israel and in the American Jewish community.”
The NHGOP, calling J Street a “radical” organization, pointed out several reports by conservative media outlets on controversial statements made by a J Street co-founder (click here and here), the source of significant J Street PAC funding (click here) and its role in a controversial United Nations report that accused Israel of war crimes (click here).
“Radical organizations like J Street are determined to attack Israel and undermine Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorist attacks,” said NHGOP chair Jennifer Horn. “It is disgraceful that Senator Jeanne Shaheen would associate herself with a fringe group like J Street and support their shameful advocacy efforts. As a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Shaheen needs to immediately denounce J Street’s shameful statements and return the contributions that it has funneled into her campaign bank account.”
The GOP pointed out that Shaheen is currently the “featured candidate” on the J Street PAC web site.