Democratic Socialists Punish Rep. Bowman for Visiting Israel

Democratic Socialists Punish Rep. Bowman for Visiting Israel Democratic Socialists Punish Rep. Bowman for Visiting Israel Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaks at a press conference on H.R. 40 legislation as Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) looks on on Capitol Hill on November 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)

By Luca Cacciatore | Saturday, 04 December 2021 01:24 PM

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), will have his 2022 endorsement withheld after a trip to Israel where he met Naftali Bennett, the prime minister of the Jewish nation, according to HuffPost.

The New York congressman also voted for U.S. funding of Israel's defensive Iron Dome technology in September, breaking with DSA-associated colleagues like Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

The DSA endorsed Bowman's 2020 run for New York's 16th congressional district but is withholding its 2022 endorsement until he can "demonstrate solidarity with Palestine in alignment with expectations we have set," a statement read on Thursday.

The response from the DSA is related to the organization's support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Local chapters and prominent members called on Bowman to be expelled from the organization, but the final statement stops short of the decision.

BDS was started in July 2005 by displaced Palestinians Omar Barghouti and Ramy Shaat, who oppose the State of Israel's rule in the Levant region, the group's website states.

In its defense not to expel Bowman, the DSA mentioned how he is one of a few outspoken critics of Israeli government policies in Congress. Bowman had won his seat by ousting Eliot Engel, a fellow Democrat and former House Foreign Affairs Committee chair, who was one of Congress's staunchest defenders of Israeli government policies.

"We recognize the threat that Bowman and other members of the squad pose to the Zionist lobby and the important role DSA can play with them in advancing Palestinian rights and anti-imperialist struggle at the federal level," the statement read.

"Already, we have seen considerable movement from Representative Bowman and his office, and a marked demonstration of interest in both accountability, and collaboration on an effective and strategic path forward to advance the Palestinian cause through progressive struggle on the congressional terrain. This is why the NPC has decided not to expel Bowman."

Nobody in the DSA's 16-member National Political Committee voted against the decision, although some members abstained, according to Chris Kutalik, a spokesperson for the DSA.

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