Senate candidate: 'Israeli lobby' controls Republican party

Jason Lewis, candidate for Senate in Minnesota, accused Republicans of ‘dual loyalty’ to Israel.

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

US Rep Jason Lewis (L) and Rep. Tom Emmer (C) speak with Pres. Trump
US Rep Jason Lewis (L) and Rep. Tom Emmer (C) speak with Pres. Trump

A Republican candidate for the US Senate in Minnesota accused Republicans of “dual loyalties to Israel” and said that the “Israeli lobby” controls the party.

Jason Lewis, a former conservative radio host who was unseated in the November 2018 election after one term in Congress representing Minnesota, announced his candidacy for the Senate on Thursday.

He will face off against other Republicans in Minnesota for the party's nomination. The winner will likely run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Tina Smith who won the special election in 2018 to finish the term of Sen. Al Franken who resigned following allegations of sexual impropriety.

Lewis on his nationally syndicated radio show that ran from 2009 to 2014 also said that many in the Republican Party viewed Israel as the “51st state” and discussed the “very strong American Jewish lobby,” CNN reported.

He also called policymakers in President George W. Bush’s administration, including former UN Ambassador John Bolton, who went on to serve as National Security Adviser to Republican President Donald Trump, “dual citizens” of Israel and the United States.

“You’ve got a number of dual citizens, by the way, citizens of Israel and citizens of the United States serving in government,” Lewis said. “In any other country that might be seen as a problem, but it’s not here because of that special relationship.”

Lewis told CNN that the focus his past commentary is “a “worn-out playbook of attacking my 25-year career as a political commentator — which naturally meant asking rhetorical questions, challenging audiences, playing devil’s advocate and seeing both sides of every issue.”

He said he supported the US/Israel relationship during his one term in Congress and also criticized Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, saying she has “genuinely anti-Israel views,” which also include dual loyalty charges and pushing the anti-Semitic canard that Jews have money that they use to increase their political influence.