Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
Defeated anti-Israel candidate for Indiana’s 8th John Hostettler.

Republican Congressman Larry Buschon is stepping down from his House seat after serving seven terms as the voice of southwest Indiana’s 8th congressional district. Tuesday’s Republican primary race was packed with contenders, notably including former Representative John Hostettler, who previously represented the district from 1995 to 2007, and State Senator Mark Messmer. In Tuesday’s primary, Messmer took 30,661 votes, or 38.5%, defeating Hostettler who received only 15,640, or 19.6%.

Five Democratic candidates are also vying for the seat.


The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) have spent millions to defeat former Congressman Hostettler.

The objection to Hostettler stems from his 2008 book, “Nothing for the Nation: Who Got What Out of Iraq.” Hostettler established his own publishing company to release the book, which former ADL chief Abe Foxman described as “an exceptionally bold display of chutzpah.” Hostettler contended that President George W. Bush depended on intelligence provided by neoconservatives “with Jewish backgrounds” whose real interest was in promoting the security of Israel.

Foxman wrote:

“Of course, Hostettler’s reasoning is nothing new, following the line of attack in “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by academics John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt.
“His conclusions are similar to theirs: Individuals in government, who always have Jewish surnames and Israeli connections, provided crucial intelligence on Iraq and were concerned not with the American republic but with Israel’s security. Like his predecessors, Hostettler’s claim of “dual loyalty” by prominent Jews repeats age-old slanders of Jewish disloyalty to their countries and outlandish notions of secret Jewish cabals pulling international strings.”

RJC National Chairman, former Senator Norm Coleman and CEO Matt Brooks said after Hostettler’s defeat:

“Let there be no doubt: if you stand against Israel, if you stand against the Jewish community, the Republican Jewish Coalition will work to defeat you.
“Tonight, we succeeded in keeping a vocal anti-Israel candidate out of the Republican conference. This is a major victory for the RJC, the Jewish community, for all pro-Israel Americans, and for common sense.
“As antisemitism and extreme anti-Israel activity spike across the nation, the RJC’s work is more important than ever.
“Unlike some Democratic leaders, who coddle and enable the worst elements of their party’s base, the RJC has shown time and again that we will hold bad actors accountable – from disgraced former Rep. Steve King to John Hostettler. It is our sincere hope that Democrat groups will follow the RJC’s lead in taking on the tough fights within their own ranks, starting with Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Rep. Cori Bush.
“This is a time in Jewish history for courage, moral clarity, and leadership. The RJC has answered, and will continue to answer, this righteous call to action.”

Mark Messmer’s position on Israel is spelled out on his election website:

“Israel stands as a beacon of democracy in a tumultuous region, a nation with not only the right to exist but to defend itself against those who wish to see its demise. I steadfastly support Israel’s sovereignty and its unwavering fight for survival amidst threats. Movements that advocate for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel undermine the possibility of peace and stability in the region. Such actions not only threaten Israel’s security but also jeopardize the values of freedom and democracy we hold dear. I oppose these movements unequivocally, standing in solidarity with Israel, our friend and ally, in its pursuit of peace and security.”

Money well spent.


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