They Denounced a Bill to 'End Jew Hatred.' Now, Jamaal Bowman Says He's 'Honored To Have Their Endorsement.'

Indivisible Brooklyn called anti-Semitism resolution 'dangerous' and 'a total farce'

Jamaal Bowman (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
March 21, 2024

New York Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman is touting an endorsement from a left-wing group that denounced a resolution commemorating "End Jew Hatred Day" in New York City. That resolution was "dangerous" and "a farce," the group said.

In a Monday tweet, Bowman heaped praise on Indivisible Brooklyn, calling their work "crucial in ensuring that everyday people are actually represented in our democracy."

"I am honored to have their endorsement and continue working with them," Bowman said.

Roughly one year prior, in June 2023, Indivisible Brooklyn blasted a bipartisan New York City Council resolution that established an "End Jew Hatred Day" in an attempt to combat rising anti-Semitism in the city. "That 'End Jew Hatred' bill was a total farce and is dangerous," the group said, adding that one of the two Brooklyn Democrats who voted against the resolution "was right to oppose it." The resolution passed with 41 yes votes.

Bowman's praise for Indivisible Brooklyn comes as the lawmaker faces a difficult primary challenge from Westchester County executive George Latimer, a pro-Israel Democrat whom local rabbis encouraged to run, citing Bowman's hostility toward the Jewish state. In the wake of Hamas's Oct. 7 attack, the two-term congressman has accused Israel of "mass murder," "genocide," and "ethnic cleansing."

"Many of us tried to engage the congressman early in his term, seeking constructive dialogue about the damaging positions he took—especially on matters related to America's relationship with Israel," the rabbis wrote in an October letter. "Regrettably, Congressman Bowman disregarded our outreach and doubled down on his anti-Israel policy positions and messaging."

Neither Bowman nor Indivisible Brooklyn responded to requests for comment.

The "End Jew Hatred Day" resolution, which was sponsored by Republican councilwoman Inna Vernikov, came as New York led the nation in anti-Semitic incidents and experienced a record number of anti-Semitic assaults, according to data from the Anti-Defamation League. In 2022, 72 anti-Semitic assaults were reported in the state, the highest on record at the time. That number represented 65 percent of all anti-Semitic assaults reported in the United States.

Vernikov's resolution aimed to "acknowledge this reality and to express support for this historically victimized community," according to New York GOP chair Ed Cox. Still, in addition to the two Democrats who voted against it, four others voted to abstain. One of those four, Charles Barron, said he did so because the "Jewish community … supported apartheid in racist South Africa and said nothing about African people dying."

A bipartisan group of lawmakers denounced the New York City Democrats who refused to back the bill.

"Antisemitism has a long and ugly history. It has seen a resurgence in NYC with a record number of hate crimes," Rep. Ritchie Torres (D., N.Y.) said at the time. "How can anyone vote against a resolution to end antisemitism?"

Since Latimer's entry into the race in December, Bowman has done little to improve his relationship with his district's Jewish leaders.

During a January panel discussion titled, "Palestine Oct. 7th and After," Bowman glowingly introduced anti-Israel author Norman Finkelstein, who celebrated Hamas's massacre as a "heroic resistance" that "warm[ed] every fiber" of his soul.

"I'm also a bit starstruck, because I watch them all the time on YouTube," Bowman said of Finkelstein and two other anti-Israel panelists. "You have given me the knowledge on YouTube even before coming here."

One month later, Bowman teamed up with fellow anti-Israel House member Cori Bush (D., Mo.) to hold a joint fundraiser in Los Angeles. That fundraiser was hosted by a number of activists who defended Hamas's attack, including one who called it "a desperate act of self-defense," the Washington Free Beacon reported. Bowman also held a joint fundraiser with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), during which the lawmakers filmed themselves leading a "Free Palestine" chant.

In addition to Indivisible Brooklyn, Bowman in January touted an endorsement from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, a left-wing nonprofit that blamed Israel for provoking Hamas's attack. The group has also argued against sending anti-Semitic hate criminals to jail, saying those criminals should be met with "restorative, community-based education and healing," not "a police-driven response with criminal penalties."