Jamaal Bowman Called Reports of Hamas Rapes 'Propaganda'

Jamaal Bowman (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
March 26, 2024

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.) in November dismissed reports of Hamas terrorists raping Israelis during the Oct. 7 attacks as "propaganda," according to a video uncovered by Politico. He backtracked from the remarks after the outlet reached out for comment on Thursday. 

"There was propaganda used in the beginning of the siege. There’s still no evidence of beheaded babies or raped women. But they still keep using that lie [for] propaganda," Bowman said at a Nov. 17 pro-Palestinian rally, according to Politico reporter Daniel Lippman on Tuesday, who found a TikTok video showing the rally. 

Bowman in a Thursday statement walked back his dismissal of Israel’s rape allegations against Hamas. "The U.N. confirmed that Hamas committed rape and sexual violence, a reprehensible fact that I condemn entirely," Bowman said, referring to a United Nations report on March 4 confirming Hamas’s sexual violence. The New York Democrat had earlier on Thursday declined to address his November remarks when asked by Politico in person. 

In the U.N. report, Pramila Patten, the organization’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, wrote, "There are reasonable grounds to believe that multiple incidents of sexual violence took place with victims being subjected to rape and/or gang rape and then killed or killed while being raped."

The U.N. team also reported evidence of similar sexual crimes against Israeli hostages after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, noting there is "clear and convincing information that sexual violence, including rape, sexualized torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment has been committed against hostages."

The incident is not the first time Bowman had to walk back his public remarks. In late January, Bowman said he should not have engaged in conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in years-old blog posts. "It’s obvious to everyone, especially the far-right MAGA Republicans I take on every day in Congress, that I will always stand up and fight against misinformation and harmful conspiracy theories," the New York Democrat told CNN.