Swamp Conflicted: Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Clinton- And AIPAC-Linked Corporatist In New Jersey

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Written by Ann Brown
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Swamp conflicted: The Congressional Black Caucus has endorsed Clinton- and AIPAC-linked corporatist Josh Gottheimer in New Jersey. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., center, applauds alongside members of the Congressional Black Caucus during a ceremony to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of enslaved African people in America, Sept. 10, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), is pictured April 17, 2019, in Fort Lee, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Congressional Black Caucus has endorsed Rep. Josh Gottheimer for re-election in New Jersey’s 5th district. This is the second time in recent weeks that the caucus has backed a pro-American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) candidate.

Gottheimer is a two-term congressman and former Clinton White House speechwriter who has said his time spent with Clinton helped shape him as a politician.

Recently, the caucus also endorsed pro-Israel stalwart Eliot Engel over progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman in the tight New York primary race for a congressional seat.

“Josh Gottheimer can be counted on to ensure that we are creating policies that strengthen our communities,” Rep. Gregory Meeks, the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee Chair, told The Jersey Globe. “From his days working at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to his time now in Congress, he has fought for criminal justice reform, for education and economic opportunity, for advancing voting rights, and for an end to health disparities and credit discrimination.”

Gottheimer is being challenged in the July 7 Democratic primary by Glen Rock, New Jersey Councilwoman Arati Kreibich. Gottheimer has endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Conference Leader Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Gov. Phil Murphy, The Jersey Globe reported.

“I was 22 when I started doing this. If I had been aware of the enormity of it, now that I think about, I probably would have been much more intimidated. President Clinton, in terms of people to work for, is smart and someone who shaped my politics and policy thinking a lot,” Gottheimer stated on his campaign website. “He was a moderate centrist, someone who was fiscally more responsible and socially progressive and he really believes that you’re supposed to work with both sides and you can find the best ideas by actually looking to both sides and putting together a good centrist approach.”

The incumbent, Gottheimer was first elected in 2016, unseating a seven-term conservative Republican.

Gottheimer has close ties to AIPAC. He has spoken frequently at AIPAC events, most recently in May. In a 2017 speech at one of the organization’s conferences, he spoke of his support for Israel, according to his website.

“Israel is our most important ally and a beacon of democracy in a troubled region; we must never allow the U.S.-Israel partnership to become sullied by partisan political concerns,” said Gottheimer. “I will continue to advocate relentlessly for strong bipartisan support for Israel to strengthen our own national security interests as well as those of our vital ally and friend Israel.”

Gottheimer is also a friend to big business. Two of his top campaign contributors are the Blackstone Group, which donated $64,100 to his reelection bid and Comcast Corp, which put $46,250 into his campaign, according to Open Secrets Organization.

Like Bowman, Kreibich has attracted progressives. An immigrant from India, she has endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who went against her fellow Black Congress members in backing Kreibich. 

Dr. Kreibich, a scientist, came to the U.S. when she was 11 with her parents and two younger brothers. She went on to earn her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 and became a neuroscientist.

Racial justice is one of the issues she says she wants to tackle if elected. “There is clear evidence of systemic racism and racial atrocities in our nation. In striving for equity, we should seriously consider reparations,” she said on her campaign website.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 72: Jamarlin Martin Part 2. J. Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI, may not be around but his energy is present in new Black politics.FBI agents and informants were used to weaken Marcus Garvey, the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers — in many cases for money and career advancement. How could this energy metastasize into the “New Blacks” politics in 2020? Jamarlin goes solo to discuss who is doing the trading and what is being traded to weaken the aggregate Black political position.

Among the steps that need to be taken, she says, is to “condemn and demand accountability in response to police brutality; pass H.R. 40-Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act; pass legislation similar to H.R. 40 to explore returning of unceded lands and territory or related royalties to Indigenous Populations.”

Arati decided to take on the incumbent Democrat in her district because she knows that this moment requires bold, progressive leadership, Sen. Sanders said in a statement, North Jersey reported. “If we come together to elect Arati, we will have a member of our movement fighting for our values in Congress.”