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Jewish Dems defend Wasserman Schultz after West’s attack

JTA

July 21, 2011 | 9:11 am

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)

Jewish Democrats slammed Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) for his vituperative attack on Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as a pro-Israel PAC raised funds for the congresswoman based on the attack.

West emailed Wasserman Schultz, who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, after she chided West on the U.S. House of Representatives floor for backing a plan she said would increase costs for elderly Medicare recipients in their adjacent districts.

“Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me,” he said in an email obtained by a number of news outlets. “Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district! You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”

The National Jewish Democratic Council, where Wasserman Schultz launched her career, blasted West for his “hostile tone and belligerent language.”

In a statement, the NJDC said that West’s declaration that Wasserman Schultz is “‘not a Lady’ and will not be ‘afforded due respect’ confirms yet again that West has a problem with progressive women. American Jews overwhelmingly support women’s rights and have nothing but tremendous respect for Debbie and all that she’s accomplished.”

JACPAC, a Jewish political action committee that focuses on Israel and reproductive rights, launched a fundraiser based on the attack.

“Our best response is to make sure friends like DWS are re-elected and foes like West are defeated,” said the PAC in its appeal. “People like West who resort to personal attacks, rather than disagree respectfully with their colleagues, demean the institution in which they serve. The government they denigrate is not their punching bag.  It is us!”

JACPAC mostly backs Democrats, although it has also supported moderate pro-Israel Republicans.

Other Democrats have rallied to Wasserman Schultz’s defense and a number of fundraisers have been launched based on West’s attack.

West is also using the exchange to fund-raise.

Both lawmakers are seen as pro-Israel stalwarts; the Republican Jewish Coalition championed West last year when he ousted Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.).

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