Jamaal Bowman’s Onetime Ally Endorses His Primary Challenger, Citing Horror at Bowman's Israel Views

‘Rep. Bowman and I have very different views on Israel,’ Mondaire Jones said.

Jamaal Bowman (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
June 4, 2024

Former New York Rep. Mondaire Jones (D.) endorsed New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s (D.) pro-Israel primary challenger and expressed his horror at Bowman’s incendiary positions on the Israel-Hamas war.

Jones, who is running for Congress in the neighboring 17th Congressional District, first revealed his endorsement of Westchester County executive George Latimer (D.) in an interview with the New York Times on Monday. Jones held a press conference on Tuesday morning explaining that Bowman had sown "pain and anxiety" among Jewish New Yorkers.

"I want to be clear: I am making this endorsement to stand up for my Jewish constituents because Rep. Bowman and I have very different views on Israel," Jones said Tuesday. "I have been horrified by his recent acceptance of the DSA endorsement, his denial of the sexual assault of Israeli women by Hamas on October 7, and his embrace of Norman Finkelstein, a well-known anti-Semite."

In contrast, Jones added, Latimer is "standing strong with our allies like Israel and safeguarding our democracy."

The endorsement reflects how much the embattled incumbent has fallen out of favor with fellow New York Democrats as the primary race nears its end. In a June 2020 Intercept interview during his first congressional run, Jones encouraged more people "like Mr. Bowman" to run for elected office. Bowman described himself as a "socialist" to the outlet earlier that month.

"And increasingly, I think, laypersons are of the view that we need more people like myself and Mr. Bowman in Congress, and I’m really grateful that average people are not taking their cues from Democratic committee members, but rather from—from the candidates themselves as they evaluate the differences among what’s being offered to them," Jones said.

Years later, on Tuesday, Jones declared himself a Democratic champion of the Hudson Valley and vowed to end the "painful nightmare" that constituents have been experiencing since Oct. 7.

"As someone who is among the most popular Democrats in the Hudson Valley, it is my prerogative to play a dispositive role in ending this long, painful nightmare that we have been experiencing since Oct. 7," Jones said Monday.

Latimer, for whom Jones worked during his time as a Westchester County attorney, thanked his fellow New York Democrat for his endorsement.

"As a former Congress member and county employee, Mondaire Jones has a record of working for a better future for Westchester families. I’m thrilled that he’s supporting my campaign for #RealResultsNotRhetoric," Latimer wrote in a Monday post. "Welcome to #TeamLatimer, Mondaire!"

Bowman’s fellow anti-Israel "Squad" members such as Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.) and Summer Lee (Pa.) were incensed at Jones’s decision not to endorse Bowman, according to a Semafor report. Both also faced pro-Israel primary challengers this cycle.

Lee called the endorsement "incredibly disappointing."

Bush called Jones a friend unworthy of trust.

"It’s disgusting," said Bush, who finds herself trailing her pro-Israel challenger St. Louis prosecuting attorney Wesley Bell. "Is that who he wants to be? Someone that the members can’t even trust? Someone that the members know will be your friend one day, and then as soon as it’s beneficial to him, will completely not only turn on you, but will go and support the person that is challenging you?"

Bowman, who did not return a request for comment, lags behind Latimer by 17 points according to an April poll. In the final stretch of his primary campaign, Bowman has leaned on far-left groups to push him across the finish line. A coalition of progressive organizations that downplay Hamas’s terrorism launched an initiative to save his campaign in May. Last week after a campaign event, Bowman posed for a photo with the New York Working Families Party and the Jewish Vote, two groups that call to defund the police.

Bowman and Latimer will face off at the ballot box on June 25.