Progressive Jewish group IfNotNow expands forces for 2020

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A progressive group of young Jewish activists opposed to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is expanding its organization in hopes of making a major impact on the Democratic race for the White House.

IfNotNow has launched a 501(c)(4) and is training organizers in the early primary state of New Hampshire, the group told POLITICO. Its goal is to raise $100,000 in its first fundraising quarter.

“Our focus is going to be trying to push the candidates past giving lip-service to a two-state solution,” said IfNotNow co-founder Emily Mayer, “without recognizing the underlying dynamics and explicit moves by the Israel government that are creating a one-state reality where Palestinians are denied basic rights.”

The organization is also taking a page out of the playbook of groups such as Black Lives Matter and the American Civil Liberties Union: It plans to “bird-dog” presidential candidates at public events to create viral moments and prod the Democratic Party leftward on the issue of Israel.

IfNotNow said the first 2020 contender it plans on questioning is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is campaigning this weekend in New Hampshire. Sanders has called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government “racist.” In addition to pushing the candidates to adopt more progressive positions on Israel, the group said it is hoping to draw public attention to the Democratic Party’s changing attitudes on the topic and clarify candidates’ stances on particular issues.

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