WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders, the Jewish senator who ran two insurgent campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination, slammed a pro-Israel action committee on Thursday for targeting a political newcomer in New York trying to unseat longtime congressman Eliot Engel.
“The ‘Democratic Majority for Israel’ is a corporate/Republican-funded super PAC that runs ugly, negative ads against progressives,” Sanders said in a tweet attached to a video of the ad. “This is establishment big-money politics at its worst, and why we have to transform the Democratic Party.”
The PAC’s ad targets Jamaal Bowman, whom Sanders has endorsed, for not paying taxes. Bowman and Engel, who is Jewish and trying for his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, face off in the Democratic primary on June 23.
Sanders appeared to be referring to an Intercept story this week that reported that the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC accepted $100,000 from another PAC, Americans for Tomorrow’s Future, which distributes money to Republicans as well as Democrats. Americans for Tomorrow’s Future does not give directly to the Engel campaign.
The Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, which ran ads against Sanders in two states during this year’s primaries before he bowed out, snapped back at Sanders.
“DMFI PAC played a significant role in denying Senator Sanders the Democratic nomination for president, so we understand that he is unhappy with us,” its president, Mark Mellman, said in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “His charges are completely erroneous however. DMFI PAC takes zero corporate money and all our donors are publicly reported.”
Mellman said in the statement that the board of the PAC’s affiliated pro-Israel group, Democratic Majority for Israel, consists only of Democrats.