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The AIPAC-endorsed Democrat calls for a change in Israeli leadership




The AIPAC-endorsed Democrat calls for a change in Israeli leadership

Rep. Mike Levin — one of California’s few vulnerable Democratic House members — called Thursday for a change in Israeli leadership.

“It seems to me that new leaders are needed,” Levin told a small group of reporters, adding that he thinks the current leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “will not ultimately lead to a more peaceful outcome” in the region.

Levin is backed by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel group that has launched campaigns across the country to unseat elected officials and call for a permanent ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas. Levin is also the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s only vulnerable frontliner from California.

AIPAC declined to comment on Levin’s comments.

The moderate Democrat represents a district in San Diego and Orange counties. He won the 2022 elections for a third term with 52.6 percent of the votes. In 2024, he will face Republican Matt Gunderson, who has done so previously attacked Levin for not wholeheartedly supporting Israel. And the National Republican Congressional Committee has done just that Levin shouted about the issue.

Levin’s comments come after Iran launched a missile attack on Israel this weekend – and what he is facing pressure from protesters in his district to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

In March, Levin called for a temporary ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, which he called “imperative,” in addition to providing Israel with military funds to defend itself against Hamas. He has supported a ceasefire in conjunction with the release of Israeli hostages.

“We need a leader in Israel who is committed to a two-state solution,” Levin said Thursday. “On the other hand, Hamas cannot remain in power.”

More and more Democrats have begun to stray from their previous steadfast support of Israel. Specifically, the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer faced backlash after criticizing Netanyahu’s handling of the Gaza war and calling for new elections to replace the prime minister.

But Levin distanced himself from Schumer’s comments, which he said could “dishearten” the ability of current Israeli leaders to call for fair elections. “It must be the decision of the Israeli people,” he said.