WASHINGTON (JTA) – California Democrats have endorsed the congressional run of a Palestinian American who forged ties to his local Jewish community and renounced his grandfather, an architect of the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Ammar Campa-Najjar recently won the state party convention’s endorsement for the June primary in the 50th District, an inland district west of San Diego.
Duncan Hunter, a Republican, now holds the seat.
Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, a mastermind of the terrorist murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches at the ’72 games in Germany. Al-Najjar was assassinated a year later by Israeli commandos.
Haaretz recently reported on Campa-Najjar’s candidacy, saying he rejected his grandfather’s terrorism. Campa-Najjar, who lived for a time as a youth in the Gaza Strip, has said that his “goal is for our generation to be better than our predecessors, and find a way to end this conflict.”
Haaretz quoted two local rabbis who spoke of Campa-Najjar’s commitment to Israel’s security, which he does not see as mutually exclusive with Palestinian rights.
Campa-Najjar emphasizes income inequality in his messaging. He is an admirer of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., whose 2016 run for the Democratic nomination made him the first Jewish candidate to win major-party nominating contests.
Hunter, under federal investigation for alleged financial improprieties, is also facing a slew of challengers in the Republican primary.