J Street Alarmed By GOP Candidates Affiliating with QAnon, Weaponizing Conspiracy Theories

October 14, 2020

J Street is alarmed and appalled that a number of Republican congressional candidates, with the support of official Republican campaign committees, have associated themselves with the extremist QAnon movement and sought to weaponize dangerous conspiracy theories against their political opponents.

There are now close to a dozen Republican candidates who have either amplified QAnon conspiracy theories or openly embraced the movement. The FBI has labeled QAnon a domestic terror threat, and the Anti-Defamation League has noted that it has “marked undertones of antisemitism and xenophobia.”

“As a people who are historically the target of outrageous conspiracy theories and hate-fuelled violence, Jewish Americans are watching the spread of QAnon with alarm, and are appalled by political candidates who embrace this movement or seek to exploit it for political gain,” said J Street’s Vice President of Political Affairs, Ben Shnider. “Candidates need to unreservedly condemn and disavow these conspiracy theories, not amplify a threat to our democracy and to vulnerable minorities.”

Several JStreetPAC-endorsed congressional candidates in this cycle have been faced with QAnon-linked opponents or with smear attacks that utilize prevalent QAnon tropes.

In Colorado’s 3rd District, JStreetPAC endorsee Diane Mitsch Bush is fighting a tight race against Lauren Boebert, who said in May that she is familiar with QAnon and hopes that its theories “are real.” While she then sought to publicly disavow and reject it, Boebert has subsequently shared social media posts echoing QAnon tropes about alleged Democratic support for pedophilia. In New Jersey’s 7th District, JStreetPAC endorsee Rep. Tom Malinowski has faced outrageous, baseless attack ads paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which amplify a QAnon-style conspiracy that he lobbied to support sexual predators. In the wake of those dangerous smears, the congressman has faced targeted harassment and death threats from QAnon supporters.

“J Street is going to do all that we can to help our supported candidates overcome and defeat this kind of deranged, malicious hatred — whether it’s coming from the darkest corners of the internet or officially amplified by the NRCC,” Shnider said. “We in the American Jewish community should have a zero-tolerance policy for any politicians who see QAnon as an ally or a tool to be used.”

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