The Emergency Committee for Israel and the ensuing coverage have set Joe Sestak back on his heels. His campaign, no doubt, is nervous — where is the J Street rescue squad? Hey, he signed their Gaza 54 letter and what does he have to show for it — an attack ad that’s playing all over the state (and on MSNBC as well) and a slew of negative press on Israel, which he keeps insisting isn’t the main issue of his campaign. It’s not! So J Street emphasizes the not-main issue with an ad of its own. But the ad is peculiar.
It features such mind-numbingly silly quotes, like this from the Washington Post: “President Obama’s new Middle East course has promise.” Umm. It didn’t quite work out, did it? Moreover, the ad ties Sestak to Obama — complete with a shot of Obama speaking at the UN. What? Did the ECI footage get mixed in? Guys, Obama’s Israel problem is the problem with Jewish voters. Now, J Street is busy transferring that antipathy, if not down right hostility, to Sestak.
Oh, in Politics 101 they teach not to be on the defensive (“The far right is attacking Joe Sestak over Israel”). Anyway, it’s good to know this really is a major issue in the race. Look at all Sestak has done today — an MSNBC appearance, a letter to the UN Human Rights Council, and a J Street ad. You don’t think the Toomey camp is behind all this, do you?
UPDATE: ECI has released a statement that reads:
The Emergency Committee for Israel was created in order to help American voters focus on important issues surrounding Middle East policy and the vital need for a strong US-Israel relationship, based on shared values and common challenges, in order to advance US interests in the region. Israel is a democratic ally that faces profound security threats ranging from terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah to rogue regimes like Iran and Syria that support them.
ECI recently began airing an ad in Pennsylvania highlighting Rep. Joe Sestak’s failure to stand with Israel as well as his ties to CAIR, an anti-Israel organization that the FBI labeled a front group for Hamas. This ad remains on the air in Pennsylvania despite the Sestak campaign’s efforts to silence debate and intimidate broadcasters into pulling the ad through threats of legal action.
Today, another group began airing an ad highlighting Rep. Sestak’s support for President Obama’s stance towards Israel. We welcome this debate, and intend to participate in it, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. We will do our best to ensure that Americans have all the information they need in order to send a clear message to Congress and this administration that the American people expect their leaders to support Israel in our shared fight against Islamic terrorism.
I think this means: game on!