Hard-line Israel group goes after Holt

The Emergency Committee for Israel spent $42,500 this week on television ads opposing 12th District incumbent U.S. Rep. Rush Holt.

According to its website, the committee is a pro-Israel group that  “seeks to provide citizens with the facts they need to be sure that their public officials are supporting a strong US-Israel relationship.”

 “The Committee’s mission is to educate the public about the serious challenges to Israel’s security and about what elected officials in this country are doing and should do in order to meet those challenges,” the website says.

Federal Election Commission reports on independent expenditures list expenditures for production costs and air time.  It’s not clear if the ad has hit the airwaves yet.

Holt is facing Republican challenger Scott Sipprelle, a venture capitalist from Princeton.  A poll released thursday showed Holt up by 8 in the race that earlier polls had shown closer.

This is not Holt’s first run in with the group.  Last summer, the ECI, which lists Weekly Standard Columnist William Kristol as a board member, ran an ad criticizing Holt for being anti-Israel, in part because of his association with J-Street, a group that describes itself as pro-Israel, but favors a two state solution to the Israeli, Palestinian conflict.

In August, Holt demanded the ads be removed from the airwaves, calling the attacks made “blatant lies.”

Last month, Holt spoke before Jewish community leaders in favor of an “undivided Jerusalem” according to a report in the New Jersey Jewish News.

In a release from the Orthodox Union following the meeting, Holt reiterated his support for Israel.

“Israel is more than just an ally; Israel is an inspiration. Israel’s achievements over the last 62 years–in areas ranging from education and economics to science and agriculture–far surpass what could reasonably be expected of such a young nation. Throughout my career I have been dedicated to the security and prosperity of Israel,” he said.

Holt’s camp could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

This most recent expenditure brings the total spent in the state by third party groups to well over $1 million.  The largest recipient to date has been U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-3rd) who has received more than $500,000 from the National Association of Realtors and other groups in support of his campaign.

His opponent, ex-NFL lineman Jon Runyan also has received more than $500,000 with the majority of his money coming from the National Republican Congressional Committee and the American Future Fund. Hard-line Israel group goes after Holt