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AIPAC Blamed by Progressives for Loss of Anti-Israel Congressman

Left-Wing Commentators Attribute Bowman’s Primary Loss to Pro-Israel Lobbying Efforts.

Prominent left-wing commentators are attributing the landslide defeat of US Rep. Jamaal Bowman in New York's Democratic primary to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Westchester County executive George Latimer won decisively, securing 58% of the vote to Bowman’s 41%, thereby removing one of Israel’s most vocal critics from Congress.

Since Hamas’ October 7 attacks on Israel, Bowman has accused Israel of “genocide” in Gaza and “apartheid” in the West Bank. He also dismissed allegations of Hamas terrorists raping Israeli women as “propaganda,” remarks he later walked back. Bowman’s campaign included calls to end US military aid to Israel, including the Iron Dome defense system.

In the aftermath of his loss, left-wing pundits blamed AIPAC, accusing it of using its financial clout to unseat Bowman. Olayemi Olurin, a vocal critic of Israel, suggested that AIPAC’s extensive ad campaign misled voters. Cynthia Nixon, former mayoral candidate, claimed that AIPAC, which she described as aligned with “far-right Republicans,” spent millions to defeat Bowman.

AIPAC’s stated mission is to secure bipartisan support for a strong US-Israel relationship. The organization reportedly invested $14.5 million in the race, aiming to remove Bowman from office. Despite AIPAC’s significant expenditure, Bowman’s campaign had other vulnerabilities, including his controversial action of pulling a fire alarm in a congressional building to delay a vote, which led to his censure by the House of Representatives.

Jeet Heer, another progressive commentator, criticized centrist liberals for downplaying AIPAC’s role, asserting that the lobby group's spending made this primary the most expensive in history. Briahna Joy Gray, former press secretary for Bernie Sanders, accused AIPAC of using "foreign money" to support Bowman’s opponent and urged black politicians to speak out against Israel, dismissing potential accusations of antisemitism.

Gray, who has a history of controversial comments about Israel, was recently dismissed from her role at The Hill’s TV show "Rising" after an incident involving the sister of an Israeli hostage.

Bowman was not the only member of the progressive “Squad” targeted in this primary cycle. US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another critic of Israel, easily won her race with 82% of the vote.

Although AIPAC’s financial influence is significant, Bowman’s own actions and statements contributed to his defeat. His inflammatory rhetoric about Israel and the controversial fire alarm incident likely played a role in alienating moderate voters in his district.

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