J Street anti-Israel favorite loses to AIPAC-backed candidate in heated Maryland primary

Edwards was backed by the liberal Jewish advocacy organization J Street, which spent $720,000 on ads attacking opponent Glenn Ivey.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

In a closely watched Maryland Democratic primary race for Congress, progressive candidate Donna Edwards was defeated by a former state attorney who received significant financial backing from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its super PAC, the United Democracy Project.

AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups spent nearly $7 million supporting Glenn Ivey in Maryland’s heavily Democratic 4th congressional district, an unprecedented amount for the organization.

Ivey defeated Brown by 16 percent.

Edwards previously represented that district from 2008 to 2017, then gave up her seat in an unsuccessful bid for a Senate seat. The district was most recently represented by Rep. Anthony Brown, who vacated the seat to run for Maryland Attorney General.

While Edwards and Ivey agreed on many domestic policy issues, they differed sharply on support for Israel.

Edwards’ record on Israel during her first Congressional stint concerned AIPAC.

In 2009, she voted “present” rather than support a near-unanimous House resolution endorsing Israel’s right to self-defense in the face of Hamas rocket attacks.

Edwards similarly voted present on other resolutions, one calling for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and another supporting enhanced security U.S.-Israeli security cooperation.

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All of those resolutions were symbolic, expressing the view of Congress but carrying no legal weight.

Edwards also staunchly supported the Iranian nuclear agreement of 2015 and pointedly refused to add her name to letters pressing then-President Barack Obama on sanctions against Iran and Syria.

Ivey’s opponent in the November elections will likely be Jeff Warner, a pastor who was leading the Republican primary by a wide margin with 72 percent of the votes counted.