Jamaal Bowman Says Sorry for Calling Hamas’s Rapes ‘Propaganda’

Jamaal Bowman (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
June 20, 2024

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.) apologized this week months after dismissing reports that Hamas raped Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 as "propaganda" and "lies."

"I apologize for my comments," Bowman said during a radio show appearance, "and now we’re continuing to do the work to fight sexual violence and domestic violence in all its forms."

A month after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli civilians that left 1,200 people dead, Bowman said, "There’s still no evidence of beheaded babies or raped women. But they still keep using that lie [for] propaganda," Politico reported.

After initially refusing to address the remarks, Bowman did walk back the propaganda accusations but refused to apologize. "The UN confirmed that Hamas committed rape and sexual violence, a reprehensible fact that I condemn entirely," Bowman said in March. "I also voted yes on Resolution 966, which officially condemns the rape and sexual violence committed by Hamas."

Bowman is fighting for his seat as he faces a formidable challenge in the Democratic primary from Westchester County executive George Latimer. A past ally of Bowman, former representative Mondaire Jones (D., N.Y.), endorsed the pro-Israel Latimer, saying he was "horrified" by Bowman's comments on the Israel-Hamas war.

Bowman has been fiercely critical of Israel since Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre. The Democrat voted "no" on a resolution to "condemn the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education" because he claimed the Oct. 7 attacks were Israel’s fault.