Jamaal Bowman loses to AIPAC-sponsored candidate


ICNA CSJ

Date published: Wed, 26 June 24


Representative Jamaal Bowman lost his primary challenge in the 2024 election cycle on Tuesday night. George Latimer’s, a moderate Democratic candidate, received a whopping $14.5 million from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to contest Bowman in the Bronx district. Along with other funders, the outside spending on Latimer’s campaign totaled to around $25 million. The money spent on the campaign was the most expensive primary in the history of the House of Representatives. 

Bowman supporters say that AIPAC spent so much money in the campaign for Latimer because of Bowman’s recent pro-Palestinian comments and stances. It is clear that AIPAC is able to buy elections through their funding support of candidates. Since the genocide in Gaza, public opinion has greatly swayed to understand the plight of Palestinians, and the mainstream discourse around Palestine and Israel has dramatically changed. This makes the pro-Israel lobby quite afraid, as more and more constituents call for ceasefire, for ending arms sales to Israel, and to hold Israel accountable for war crimes. AIPAC is scrambling to install pro-Israel politicians, and thus, funding various campaigns this electoral season. Significantly, AIPAC is one of the largest sources of GOP funding to Democratic Party candidates. This means that the GOP is actively able to meddle in Democratic Party elections.

There is growing criticism of AIPAC funding in elections; however, there seems to be little solution. Even in the case of Jamaal Bowman, although his politics recently have been more pro-Palestine, including advocating for Palestinian civilians and ending US weapons sales to Israel, has repeatedly echoed Zionist talking points, as have other members of the progressive caucus in Congress. Progressive Democrats in Congress have repeatedly endorsed Joe Biden for president, something that many Palestinian advocacy groups have condemned, as the genocide of Gaza has occurred with the full support of the Biden administration. In 2021, Bowman voted to fund Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, and even went on a trip to Israel funded by the Zionist organization, J Street. When the Palestinian organization, Within Our Lifetime, held a rally in NYC to mourn the Nuseirat massacre, Bowman, Ocasia-Cortez, and Biden all condemned the protest as antisemitic – weaponizing antisemitism against pro-Palestinian protesters. Bowman has publicly said he does not support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) as well. 

It is very clear that AIPAC meddles in American elections, and causes unfair advantages to candidates who happily take hundreds of thousands of dollars from the entity. AIPAC should not be allowed to spend so much money to achieve results that will help appease a foreign government. However, it must be understood that the US profits from its relationship with Israel, where Israel functions as a settler-colony that the US vastly benefits from. It is even clearer that those who are elected to Congress not funded by AIPAC, such as progressive candidates, must be pushed and held accountable to actually uphold and uplift measures that protest Palestinian lives. Rather than having progressive candidates that are actively voting for more funding to Israel and using Zionist talking points, progressive candidates need to hold positions that are strongly pro-Palestine and anti-Israel.

 You can track how much money your representatives and senators have taken from AIPAC here.