Because Jamaal Bowman had taken positions calling for justice for Palestinians, “dark money” pro-Israel super-PAC’s spent an additional $2,000,000 in independent expenditures in an effort to tear down his character and reelect Rep. Eliot Engel, chair of House Foreign Affairs. They lost.
Jamaal Bowman’s apparent victory over Eliot Engel is not a setback for the Israel lobby–it is a monumental collapse. Not only does it present an opportunity to better align Democratic policy-making toward Israel and the Palestinian people with the growing pro-Palestinian sentiments of the party’s base, but it also punctures the Israel lobby’s carefully cultivated mythology of invincibility.
Jamaal Bowman: “The uprising we’re witnessing across the country against police violence also makes me empathize with the everyday experience and fear that comes with living under occupation.”
Embattled congressman Eliot Engel personifies a tradition in the Democratic Party of being “PEP” — progressive except Palestine. Engel has repeatedly hailed Black Lives Matter and endorsed the Green New Deal. But when it comes to Israel, he castigates Palestinians and says since 1947 Arabs have only wanted “to push Jews into the sea.”
Israel is “the only differentiator” in issues between challenger Jamaal Bowman and Dem. Party boss Eliot Engel in congressional race in New York. That’s why Israel advocates have rallied behind Engel’s troubled campaign. But amazingly NYT can’t mention the issue in covering hot race.
A new poll has Jamaal Bowman up by 10 points over incumbent, and Israel lobby favorite, Eliot Engel. “Though the Democratic old guard has frequently been criticized as out of touch with the party base, name recognition and the right donors have held most would-be challengers at bay. If this poll is accurate, that time is rapidly ending,” tweeted American Prospect executive editor David Dayen.
The primary contest between Eliot Engel and Jamaal Bowman in New York could end up being a watershed moment when it comes to the Democrats and Israel, as conditioning military aid to the country is emerging as the mainstream position among the progressive faction of the party.
Rep. Nita Lowey tells an Israel lobby group that she chose to chair a House subcommittee controlling foreign aid over a subcommittee controlling much larger funds for health care and education and child care because she went with her heart. Imagine a Congressperson saying they chose a committee because of love for Russia, what the fallout would be.