Hamas Apologists Rally To Save Jamaal Bowman's Campaign

Bowman is trailing his pro-Israel challenger ahead of next month's primary

Jamaal Bowman (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
May 6, 2024

Progressive groups that routinely downplay Hamas's terrorism are seeking to give Rep. Jamaal Bowman's (D., N.Y.) embattled primary campaign a final push across the finish line, as polls show him trailing his pro-Israel primary challenger.

Anti-Israel groups, including RootsAction, the Working Families Party, and IfNotNow, joined forces with Justice Democrats—the far-left group aligned with the "Squad"—to help raise funds for Bowman.

"Our progressive leaders are fighting for us against corporate interests who seek to keep power in the hands of the wealthy few. That's why they're all-in on @JamaalBowmanNY and @CoriBush: because the voices of a former school principal & nurse are megaphones for working families," Justice Democrats wrote in a post on Wednesday.

"Stay tuned for more events, fundraisers, and ways to plug in this summer—to #ProtectTheSquad and protect our democracy nationwide. Chip in now to @CoriBush and @JamaalBowmanNY," the group added.

RootsAction, a progressive group representing the "multiracial working class," blamed Israel for Hamas's Oct. 7 attack in a statement one day following the massacre, citing "cruel Israeli occupation and expansionism" as the "root" of the violence. The group added that it expects similar cycles of terror to repeat unless the "apartheid" ends.

"The root of today's violence is the oppression and abuses suffered daily by Palestinian people as a whole under decades of cruel Israeli occupation and expansionism. Leading human rights groups … have concluded that Israel's occupation policies amount to a form of apartheid," the group wrote in a post. "Until Israel's military occupation is ended, these cycles of terror and war and trauma will repeat."

IfNotNow, an anti-Israel group working to "end U.S. support for Israel's apartheid system," wrote in a 2020 post that Hamas's being "directly and fully responsible for the crisis in Gaza" is a "myth." The group admitted that Hamas "plays a role" but later contended that Israel perpetuates the crisis with a "blockade" that is "hindering the growth of Gaza's economy, infrastructure, and institutions."

This is not the first time the two-term congressman embraced anti-Israel groups during his primary campaign against pro-Israel challenger Westchester County executive George Latimer. Bowman touted an endorsement from Indivisible Brooklyn, a group that lobbied against a New York City resolution to "end Jew hatred," calling it "dangerous" and "a total farce." He also posted a photo with members of the Jewish Vote, the electoral arm of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, which said Hamas's attack on Israel was not "unprovoked." Since Hamas's Oct. 7 attack, Bowman has accused Israel of "mass murder," "genocide," and "ethnic cleansing."

The Working Families Party shortly after the October attacks urged members of Congress against funding Israel. "To protect life—in Palestine, Israel, and beyond—we urge members of Congress to vote NO," the group wrote in a post about a November funding package for Israel. The Working Families Party called for a ceasefire only one day after the attack and lamented the "bombardment and escalated attacks" by Israel to defend itself.

MoveOn, another group partnering to get Bowman across the finish line, has defended Linda Sarsour as a "leader in the fight for justice for all of us." Sarsour was ousted from the anti-Donald Trump group she helped lead, the Women's March, over anti-Semitic comments, and she has ties to anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has denounced Jews as "termites" and praised Adolf Hitler as a "very great man."

Bowman this week excused the anti-Israel protesters at Columbia University who stormed and vandalized the school's Hamilton Hall. "Protesters are gonna do what they got to do," he told CNN.

After fellow "Squad" member Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) daughter was suspended from Columbia's sister school Barnard College for participating in the anti-Israel encampment, Bowman rushed to her defense, claiming the suspension was a result of retaliation, not punishment.

"The day after [Omar] questioned Columbia leadership's commitment to free academic expression, the school suspended her daughter? It's clear what is happening here. Our educational institutions should not be in the business of political reprisals," Bowman wrote in a post.

The New York congressman, who did not return a request for comment and finds himself lagging 17 points behind his opponent in a primary poll, will face off against Latimer at the ballot box in June.

Bowman's fellow "Squad" member Rep. Cori Bush (D., Mo.), the other beneficiary of these groups' fundraising efforts, is also facing an uphill primary battle, from pro-Israel challenger St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell.