Battles over Israel divide Democratic primaries.

It’s a pedigree, Levine said in an interview with OlxPraca, “for sure [is] Additional risk for AIPAC as the group tries to shape the future of the Democratic Party in Washington — and as some Democratic voters Expressing sympathy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Super PAC spending has outpaced all other groups in Democratic primaries so far this year, per OpenSecrets, and has helped six of AIPAC’s preferred candidates win deep-blue seats. Only one loss compared to, and with primaries to come. “We’re looking at a number of primary races coming up, including New York,” said Patrick Dorton, spokesman for the United Democracy Project, AIPAC’s super PAC.

Now, the Levin-Stevens primary is on track to become one of the group’s most expensive investments of 2022 — and, by far, the most personal investment.

“This race is important to him because Andy is very visible, very outspoken and comes from a very prominent Jewish political family,” said David Hacker, president of the American Federation of Teachers union in Michigan and a supporter of Levin. The hacker said he was Jewish. and a “safe and secure Israel” as well as a supporter of Palestinian human rights, “just like Andy.”

“AIPAC would like every Jewish person to be independent,” Hacker continued. “But Andy is a man of great integrity and has strong convictions, and he’s not going to waver on those convictions to fend off a money attack for his opponent.”

David Victor, who served as AIPAC president from 2008 to 2010 and lives in the district, echoed the assessment of Levin’s position and prominence — but said that’s exactly why he thinks Levin is the best candidate for Congress. Need to be out.

“If you’re a member of the Democratic caucus and you’re not particularly engaged [Israel] The problem is, and you’re being pressured by the left to be more critical but you want to be seen as pro-Israel, you can be forgiven for going the Andy Levin route,” Victor said. He noted. Defense of Leon of representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Talib (D-Mich.), whom he called “Israel’s fiercest critics.”

Victor also called Leon’s legislation for a two-state solution “very problematic legislation.” Democratic Majority for Israel, another super PAC often associated with AIPAC spending in primaries, The legislation said “[stirred] Anti-Israelism on the rise.

“That’s why we find it so problematic,” Victor added.

Levin, for his part, called AIPAC’s involvement “dominance politics,” in which AIPAC “uses enormous amounts of money to control or block the space open for rational discussion about Israel and Palestine.”

“The idea that people with vast resources, who want to influence politics, can come in and not even talk about why they’re doing it, and make a million dollars a week. , seek to convert unaccounted, dark money. The outcome of the Democratic primary vote, this is a real threat to our democracy,” Levin added.

AIPAC has long been an influential force in Washington, traditionally raising donations directly to candidates in both parties, but super PACs are a new innovation this year for the group, which for decades has given candidates in both parties little to no support. After making donations. That bipartisanship has turned into a campaign issue in the Democratic primaries where the United Democracy Project has become involved: Levin said AIPAC’s support for Republicans who voted against the 2020 re-certification is a sign of that. that they have “gone off the rails.”

AIPAC spokesman Marshall Whitman said the group has donated to 140 House Democrats, including half of the House Progressive Caucus and Democratic leadership, as well as Republicans, because AIPAC’s work ” Congress needs bipartisan support to pass legislation that will move forward. [U.S.-Israel] Relationship

Super PAC funding has also drawn scrutiny: Former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), lost a primary in which AIPAC spent more than $4 million against her, attributing the spending to “Republican donors.” described as “interfering in the Democratic primaries.” In fact, the largest contributors to the United Democracy Project include some of the biggest GOP megadonors, such as hedge funder Paul Singer and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marks, along with Democratic supporters such as media mogul Ham Saban.

That line of attack is being used against Stevens in a TV ad, paid for by Jay Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group that has often battled AIPAC and supported Levin in Michigan. doing.

“Hayley Stevens is taking millions of dollars from a group supporting Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election.” says the narrator of the ad.Including footage of the January 6 uprising in the Capitol.

“It’s outrageous, but people need someone who’s going to focus on the issues in Oakland County,” Stevens said in an interview as she spoke to about 30 voters at a Mom’s Demand Action event here last week. . She noted that during the capital coup, she was hiding in her office like many of her colleagues.

“It certainly seems pretty strange that a Democratic group would make these claims about a Democrat who flipped and held a seat in a close re-election year for Democrats in 2020,” he said.

Of the infusion of outside spending — including $2 million from EMILY’s List, a pro-abortion rights group focused on women choosing — Stevens said, “It’s certainly unexpected. And was somewhat surprising.”

Regarding AIPAC’s spending, Stevens said Levin “seems like he has some kind of problem with people who have the same beliefs that I do, which is pretty standard in the Democratic Party.” On your campaign website, Stevens expressed his support. For a two-state solution, “a democratic Jewish state of Israel, and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side by side in peace,” as well as opposition to the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” movement against Israel.

He noted the strangeness of the foreign policy issue playing such a large role in his race at a time of domestic economic and political unrest: It “isn’t the number one issue on most voters’ minds, but it is In the minds of some. voters, Stevens continued, adding: “I’m running on what I’ve done for Oakland County and what I want to do for Oakland County.”

Emotions run high on both sides in the district – as the United Democracy Project has spent this year. The Rev. Frederick Moore, Sr., a retired pastor, wept at a religious roundtable last week as he explained why he supported Stevens and how frustrated he was that redistricting “pits you against somebody else.” stood up who is a good candidate, but not my only candidate.

“I know Leon’s family, and I grew up down the street from his uncle’s family, but I haven’t seen any action in my area. [Levin] “When I was mayor,” said Deirdre Waterman, the former mayor of Pontiac, Mich., who supports Stevens and appeared with her at the roundtable. “I’ve seen Stevens in action — he’s very active. “

A city-wide grassroots fundraiser for Leon, Rep. Mark Pokin (D-Wis.), a leading critic of the Israeli government in the House, said AIPAC’s spending “burns the most” because “Andy is the former president of his synagogue,” Congregation T’chiyah, rebuilt in Oak Park. Synagogue of, Mich.

Other progressives like Pokin, notably Sen. Bernie Sanders even Describing it as “war”. Much of the group’s spending has opposed progressive candidates, including Sanders-backed Summer Lee in Pennsylvania, the only candidate ever to win a primary despite superPAC involvement. Sanders is expected to rally Leon’s supporters at a campaign event the weekend before the August primary.

“I don’t know if the average person is paying attention, but all the political people here are,” said Mike McFall, a Democrat running for a state legislative seat in Michigan’s 11th District. Attended a Lion Grass Roots fundraiser. “I have friends on both sides, and it gets very heated, especially on Facebook.”

There are fundamentals that are working in favor of both candidates. Stevens has raised more campaign money than Leon, and he has also campaigned heavily in the Detroit area over the past four years in his old swing district. And six weeks later Roe v. Wade Overturned by the Supreme Court, Stevens’ gender is a plus for some voters.

“If they have the same politics, I’ll pick her because she’s a woman,” said Megan Takashima, a 45-year-old undecided Democrat from Pleasant Ridge, Mich. cotton wool made the decision and attended the Mother’s Demand Action event where Stevens spoke last week.

But Levin, who has been endorsed by former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, has her own strong track record on abortion rights. He was arrested last week along with his Congress colleagues to protest in front of the Supreme Court. He also has his own star power, including Sanders’ rally. Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) An event headline here on Sunday, while activist and actor Jane Fonda is scheduled to stump for them on Monday.

Notably, though, many voters — even those who attended events hosted by Stevens and Levin last week — didn’t know where all the campaign spending was coming from, or It has something to do with Israel.

Pleasant Ridge, Mich. Craig Beitle, 52, from London, who attended the Lyon fundraiser, said simply: “I had no idea.”