On Tuesday, Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) was elected mayor of San Diego. Filner is Jewish, born in Pittsburgh, in Squirrel Hill, and loves to reminisce about his earliest political act as a young Jewish person, when, at age 18, he was arrested in Mississippi as a Freedom Rider. Decade later, in 1975, Filner served as a staffer for Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota. He was elected to the San Diego City Council in 1987, and in 1992 was elected to Congress from California’s 50th (now 51st) district.
Congressman Filner, 70, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, won 51.5 percent of the vote on Tuesday, to edge out his Republican opponent, City Councilman Carl DeMaio. Filner is the first Democrat to be elected mayor of San Diego in 20 years.
Filner is one of a growing list of Jewish politicians who have been embraced by J Street. And, in the spirit of J Street’s commitment to supporting Israel by trying to destroy her, back in May of 2009, the congressman, along with Barney Frank (D-Mass.), refused to sign an AIPAC-backed House letter calling for “every effort” to be made to realize an Arab-Israeli peace while laying out certain “basic principles” to achieve it.
The letter stated that “the proven best way forward is to work closely and privately together both on areas of agreement and especially on areas of disagreement,” adding that the U.S. must be both “a trusted mediator and a devoted friend to Israel.”
The letter also insisted on an “absolute Palestinian commitment to end violence, terror and incitement” and urged “far greater involvement and participation by the Arab states both in moving toward normal ties with Israel and in supporting moderate Palestinians.”
329 House members signed the letter, but out of the 31 Jewish members, only 29 did, while Frank and Filner declined.
Then, in May of last year, Congress voted 411-2 to reaffirm US cooperation with Israel. The AIPAC-sponsored, bi-partisan bill, acknowledges Israel’s right to defend herself in the face of terror attacks, stressing Congress’ support for the “unique and special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel. The bill also supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. J Street-supported Reps. Bob Filner, Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), and John Dingell (D.,Mich.), voted against. Later, Filner and Eshoo amended their votes to support the vote.
Congressman Filner has a +4 rating on Arab-Israeli issues by The Arab American Institute, indicating an impeccable pro-Arab and pro-Palestine voting record.
Filner supported a bill to encourage democratic aspirations in Egypt. He voted no on a bill to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate to Jerusalem the United States Embassy in Israel. He voted no on a bill to withhold U.S. contributions until the UN retracts accusations of Israeli war crimes. No on opposing any unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. No on prohibiting any US government document from referring to “Palestine.” No on defunding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Yes to continue aid to the Palestinian Authority. Voted Absent on ensuring that United States taxpayer dollars are not used to fund terrorist entities in Lebanon.
Obviously, with that voting record, Israel and the Jewish people at large should offer their heartiest approval to Congressman Filner’s decision to switch from meddling with Middle Eastern issues to tending to his own back yard. We should wish him much success in his new endeavor, and perhaps even persuade him to bring over to his beautiful city large groups of enterprising Palestinians whose lives he has done so much to improve.
Some JTA content was used in this article.