J Street calls Democratic Majority for Israel to take down anti-Sanders ad

"DMFI, in reality, represents a minority of pro-Israel Democrats, who seem more concerned with targeting progressives over Israel policy than with confronting the destructive agenda of Donald Trump."

Democratic US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at his New Hampshire primary night rally in Manchester, NH, US (photo credit: REUTERS)
Democratic US presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at his New Hampshire primary night rally in Manchester, NH, US
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The progressive Jewish group J Street called on Saturday for the centrist Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) organization to take down an ad targeting Bernie Sanders. The ad suggests that the socialist senator from Vermont could not win the general elections if he becomes the party's nominee and asks, "why wouldn't he release his medical records?"
In the 30-second clip, a group of five people are making the case that Sanders is "way too divisive" and is not the right candidate.
"This is the elections of our lifetime," says Ronald Quinn. "We need a Democrat that could beat Donald Trump," adds Audrey West. "We have to win in November, and Bernie is not the guy," continues a third person, Wesley Davis. "Bernie is a great guy, but he just can't win," Quinn agrees.
"We need to win Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and Michigan, and Bernie just can't do it. It's time to come together and support someone who can win," concludes a man named Paco Alvarez.
"DMFI, in reality, represents a minority of pro-Israel Democrats who seem more concerned with targeting progressives over Israel policy than with confronting the destructive agenda of Donald Trump," J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.
"DMFI has every right to publicly criticize the views of any candidate or elected official," Ben-Ami continued, "but it has no right to claim to speak for a 'Democratic majority' of pro-Israel Americans as it takes sides in the Democratic primary. This dishonest packaging deepens divides over Israel in the US and exacerbates the troubling trend of making Israel a political football – all while distracting from the absolute necessity of defeating Donald Trump.
"The ads themselves have nothing to do with Israel and don't even mention Senator Sanders' views on Israel or foreign policy," he added. "If the funders and activists behind DMFI want to attack the senator's politics and candidacy, they should find another banner to rally under that leaves Israel out."
Mark Mellman, chairman of DMFI, responded to J Street in a statement Saturday night, saying that, "Unlike J Street, DMFI PAC is explicitly committed to advancing the interests of the Democratic Party and to defeating Donald Trump. DMFI is independent of any other organizations, and its leadership has spent lifetimes in the trenches helping Democrats.
"Like many other Democrats, we believe that Senator Sanders will not be able to defeat Trump, and his nomination would put Democratic candidates at risk up and down the ballot, and across the country," he added.
 "We have been crystal clear that we also have problems with Senator Sanders' views on Israel, and his refusal to disassociate himself from antisemitic statements made by individuals he appointed to official positions in his campaign," he continued. "If J Street really cared about the Democratic Party, the US Israel relationship or combating antisemitism, they would join us, instead of protecting Senator Sanders and lying about DMFI's positions and so-called partnerships."