Pennsylvania’s newly formed 1st Congressional District is a classic “swing” district, and is rated a toss-up by Cook Political Report. Scott Wallace just won the Democrat nomination, and will run against Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, currently the Rep in the soon-to-be phased out 8th District.

Here’s the new judicially-ordered congressional map for Pennsylvania:

http://www.wtae.com/article/pennsylvania-supreme-court-issues-new-congressional-district-map/18238727?src=app

[Map Ordered by PA Supreme Court]

A poll by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shows the race tight, with Fitzpatrick up by 2 points.

The Philadelphia Inquirer sums up the race as of primary night earlier this week:

While the primaries in neighboring suburban counties Tuesday stole attention with victories by women and first-time candidates, the Bucks County contest between incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and newcomer Scott Wallace, a millionaire philanthropist, is poised to be a battleground for national Republicans.

The race in Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District is shaping up to be among the most expensive in the country, as Republicans seek to stem the bleeding wrought by President Trump’s low approval ratings in the suburbs and a wave of retirements.

Fitzpatrick, 44, won the seat two years ago, succeeding his older brother, in the year’s third most expensive House race in the country. The candidates and outside groups spent a total of $22 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group.

“It’s widely believed” that the First District campaign “will be one of the most competitive in the nation and as a result, it should be expected that millions of dollars will be spent by both sides, perhaps as much as in 2016,” said J.J. Balaban, a Philadelphia-based Democratic strategist.

Wallace is one of the far-let Nation magazine‘s top 10 candidates, something Wallace touts on his campaign website.

The Forward Drops a BDS Bombshell

The Forward (fka Jewish Daily Forward) just dropped a bombshell on Democratic hopes in the district.

Democratic Rising Star In Swing District Gave $300K To Pro-BDS Groups

The foundation run by the newly minted Democratic candidate for Congress in one of the most heavily Jewish congressional districts in the country has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, the Forward has learned.

Scott Wallace, a multimillionaire philanthropist and the grandson of former vice president Henry Wallace, won the party primary in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County outside Philadelphia on Tuesday night, earning him the right to face off against first-term incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

Wallace’s financial support for strongly anti-Israel causes is the latest indication of a split in the Democratic Party between supporters and critics of the Jewish state.

“It might cost him the election,” the longtime former leader of the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council, Burt Siegel, told the Forward.

Along with his wife, Wallace ran the Wallace Global Fund from 2003 until he stepped down to run for Congress earlier this year. The fund, which according to its most recently available tax filing in 2016 has more than $140 million in net assets, primarily promotes its work combatting climate change, protecting voting rights and strengthening civil society in Africa. But it has also dispersed hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-Israel groups over the past decade, according to tax records.

The race in Pennsylvania’s First District is seen by analysts as a bellwether of whether Democrats can capture the House of Representatives, buoyed by a surge of anti-Trump candidates primarily in suburban areas.

The district is considered a “toss-up” by both the Cook Political Report and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, two respected nonpartisan prognosticators. The district is also one of the most Jewish in the country. The old district that largely occupied the area was the 38th-most Jewish district in the country, according to a study by the Berman Jewish Databank, and has likely become more Jewish as a result of the state’s court-mandated redistricting process to undo partisan gerrymandering.

The foundation funded a total creepshow of anti-Israel and pro-BDS groups, according to the Forward:

In 2009, the Wallace Global Fund gave $25,000 to Code Pink, the same year that the anti-war organization formally endorsed BDS.

The fund gave $25,000 in 2010 and another $25,000 in 2011 to Jewish Voice for Peace, the most prominent American Jewish pro-BDS group.

In 2011, the foundation gave $150,000 earmarked for Haymarket Books, the far-left publishing company. That same year, Haymarket published “BDS: Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle For Palestinian Rights,” a manifesto of the movement by one of its main leaders, Omar Barghouti. The book’s copyright page notes that it was published “with the generous support of Lannan Foundation and the Wallace Global Fund.” Haymarket has gone on to publish several more books on the issue by controversial Palestinian-American activists like Ali Abunimah and Steven Salaita.

The foundation also gave Haymarket’s parent company $25,000 in 2005 in support of a speaking tour for the controversial British politician George Galloway, who has frequently been accused of crossing the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Soon before the speaking tour commenced in 2005, Galloway called Israel a “little Hitler state on the Mediterranean,” and went on in later years to claim that the British media is controlled by Zionists.

The fund gave $40,000 in 2013 and $50,000 in both 2014 and 2015 to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a left-wing legal advocacy group. The fund’s website says that the donations were meant for “challenging the rise of the ‘National Security State’” and advocating on issues like stop-and-frisk and the prison at Guantanamo Bay. But the CCR is also known for its support and advocacy for BDS; they most recently garnered attention for organizing a tour of Israel and the West Bank for activists like Tamika Mallory of the Women’s March.

The Wallace Global Fund is also connected to another controversial Women’s March leader: It gave $5,000 in 2016 to the Arab American Association of New York, which at the time was run by the pro-BDS Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour.

You can review our prior posts about the anti-Israel antics of Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Linda Sarsour.

Haymarket Books Funding Particularly Problematic

You may not have heard of Haymarket Books, but it’s a crucial player in the national BDS movement. That Wallace’s foundation knew to fund Haymarket and its parent entity shows a level of planning sophistication and understanding as to how money is moved around among anti-Israel activists.

Haymarket is the publishing arm of the Center for Economic and Social Research (CERSC), the 501(c)3 arm of the International Socialist Organization (ISO), a ‘revolutionary socialist’ organization. CERSC’s other activities include publishing the International Socialist Review (ISR), sponsorship of the annual “Socialism Conference”, and hosting and publishing the vehemently anti-Israel blog, Mondoweiss.

Named after the Haymarket Affair of 1886, a defining moment in the history and mythology of the labor movement (May Day is sometimes said to commemorate it), Haymarket’s very first book, in 2002, was not concerned with labor rights, rather it was titled The Struggle for Palestine, a collection edited by ISO veteran Lance Selfa.

Palestinian activism has been a central motif in Haymarket’s repertoire ever since. Perusing Haymarket’s category on ‘Palestine’, one finds many books, some of which have achieved canonical status in the Palestinian nationalist, anti-Israel, Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Authors include: Angela Davis, Steven Salaita, Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouri, and the obligatory titles by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe. Titles range from the dreary and unimaginative: “Boycott, Divestment, Sanction: The Struggle for Palestinian Rights”, “Against Apartheid” and “Apartheid Israel” to the more romantic “Midnight on the Mavi Marmara”. Also among the titles is Jewish Voice for Peace’s latest tract, On Antisemitism, whose primary subjects seem to be ‘Islamophobia’, ‘Palestinian Solidarity’, and ‘Resistance’ to our 45th President, and whose main concern with antisemitism is to absolve all attacks on Jews or Jewish causes as ‘not-antisemitic’ and to focus instead on ‘Palestinian Resistance’. Noteworthy as well are Ali Abunimah’s The Battle for Justice in Palestine and Steven Salaita’s Uncivil Rites: Palestine and the Limits of Academic Freedom.

Other titles include numerous Marxists texts, texts on Black Politics, and a treatise on Mansplaining (recently featured in the NY Times). A particular penchant at Haymarket is for the recent politicization of sports, contracting several books by the Nation’s David Zirin, and recently announced a book with Seattle Seahawks Defensive End, Michael Bennett, titled “How to Make White People Uncomfortable”.

By funding Haymarket and its parent, Wallace’s foundation exhibited a detailed understanding of how the BDS movement operates, and how funds are used by groups like Haymarket to sustain the anti-Israel movement. This is, in many ways, a more troubling funding than the direct funding of Code Pink, JVP and Sarsour.

Wallace Blames Someone Else in The Foundation Leadership – But Is That Credible?

The campaign issued a statement indicating that the funds were from a discretionary fund controlled by someone else in leadership.

I tweeted some questions to Wallace, but have not received a response so far:

I also emailed questions to Eric Nagy, Wallace’s campaign manager:

I saw the article in the Forward and also the campaign statement about the funding of BDS and anti-Israel groups. I’m writing about this and was hoping you could respond to the following specific questions:

Was Mr. Wallace aware of the grants to any (or all) of the groups listed in the Forward article? If so, which groups was he aware or and which was he not aware of?

Did Mr. Wallace object to or take any steps to try to prevent the funding of the groups listed in the Forward article? If so, please specify what Mr. Wallace did in that regard.

The campaign statement says the grants in question were made by someone in leadership from a fund over which other leadership “did not exercise authority over”. Who was that other person in leadership who directed the funds to the groups listed in the Forward article? Did Mr. Wallace have any input of any nature as to how those discretionary funds were spent, even if he didn’t technically have “authority” over the funds?

If you could respond asap, that would be appreciated, as I may write about this in the next few hours.

 

As of this writing there has been no response to these questions.

Is it really credible that Wallace was outside the loop on funding these groups? His campaign website promotes his leadership role at the foundation:

“For the last two decades, Scott and his wife Christy have run the Wallace Global Fund….”

This Could Be A Problem For Democrats

This could be a YUGE problem for Democrats in a District they hoped to take in 2018:

The Fitzpatrick campaign did not return an email request seeking comment.