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Showdown in Philly

EIC v. Sestak.

4:09 PM, Jul 19, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Washington Post reports on the latest developments in the Emergency Committee for Israel/Joe Sestak brouhaha going on in Philadelphia:

A fascinating story out of Pennsylvania: The war is escalating big time between Dem Senate candidate Joe Sestak and Bill Kristol's new pro-Israel group, with the group increasing its ad buy slamming Sestak as soft on Israel and Sestak demanding that cable TV pull the spot on the grounds that it's a vicious smear.

MIchael Goldfarb, a spokesman for Kristol's Emergency Committee for Israel, which was modeled on Liz Cheney's "Keep America Safe," tells me the group is doubling the size of the buy it plunked down to run this new spot, which asks: "Does Congressman Joe Sestak understand Israel is America's ally?"

Separately, I've obtained a letter that the Sestak campaign has fired off to Comcast, blasting the cable carrier for running a spot that's "false, misleading and deceptive."

The crux of the ad's attack on Sestak: It hits him for signing a letter criticizing Israel's Gaza blockade, for refusing to sign an AIPAC letter defending Israel, and for "raising money" for a fundraiser for the Council on American Islamic Relations. The ad describes CAIR as an "anti-Israel organization the FBI called a 'front-group for Hamas," even though CAIR has repeatedly denied this and no charges were brought against the group.

The Sestak campaign initially blasted the ad and demanded that Comcast refrain from running it. Sestak's camp argued that it's highly misleading to claim he ever raised money for CAIR, because he'd only attended a CAIR event that was free of fundraising, and argued that the ad badly distorted other of Sestak's Israel-related positions.

But Kristol's group responded, and it appears Comcast is going to continue to run the ad. Also, the group's doubling of the ad buy means it will run on broadcast TV during this Friday's Phillies game.

Now Sestak is redoubling efforts to get the ad taken down. In the new letter to Comcast, the Sestak camp basically accuses Comcast of misleading its viewers. Sestak's campaign organized a press conference today in Philly where Jewish leaders will denounce the group's campaign against him.

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