WATCH: Jamaal Bowman Says Supporting Israeli Ceasefire Is 'What It Actually Means To Be Jewish'

November 14, 2023

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.) said on Monday night that supporting a ceasefire in Israel’s war of self-defense against Hamas is "what it actually means to be Jewish."

"I've heard what was said here this evening before," he said at a rally with the group Rabbis for Ceasefire, "that, by me calling for a ceasefire with my colleagues and centering humanity, I am uplifting deeply what it actually means to be Jewish because I'm centering the way in which God wants us to live with each other, so I feel grateful to be standing here."

He also mourned "4,000 children and counting" who had "their lives taken away by a fascist, right-wing, destructive government in Israel."

"The Israeli government does not represent Judaism or Jewish values and the Jewish people," Bowman added. "It does not, just like Hamas doesn't represent the Palestinian people, and so, we have to hold these governments accountable for how they behave and treat people in the name of the people they're supposed to represent."

Bowman also referenced an October letter from 26 rabbis in his district that denounced his call for a ceasefire in the aftermath of Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attack, which killed about 1,200 people, according to the Israeli government. That letter called on Westchester county executive George Latimer to mount a primary challenge against Bowman, who said at the rally Monday that he has not "been able to stand with them or visit any synagogues in my district."

"We cannot bomb our way to peace," Bowman said at Monday’s rally, "and we've been bombing—not just Gaza—but America has a history of bombing countries and people." He said Congress and the White House might be "corrupted by violence."

Other House Democrats who spoke at the rally include progressive "squad" members Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), Cori Bush (D., Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).

Bowman has called for a ceasefire in Israel's war against Hamas for nearly a month. On Oct. 16, nine days after Hamas's attack, he announced his cosponsorship of the "Ceasefire Now" resolution, which Tlaib and Bush introduced along with several other Democratic House members.