Jamaal Bowman calls for US to cut off Netanyahu in heated primary debate with George Latimer

New York, New York - Incumbent Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman called for the US to "stop all funding to Benjamin Netanyahu" in a heated debate amid his high stakes primary race for reelection.

New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza on the debate stage as he fights for reelection to his House seat.
New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza on the debate stage as he fights for reelection to his House seat.  © REUTERS

"We need a pathway to peace. There is no military solution to this problem," Bowman said on the debate stage Tuesday in reference to Israel's all-out assault on the people of Gaza.

"We need Palestinian... leadership at the table, with Israeli leadership, with American leadership, to have a permanent ceasefire, release the hostages, get humanitarian aid in there. Children are starving to death, and we need to get to a Palestinian state not in rhetoric, but in policy and in budget," he continued.

"Right now, we should not be sending a dime to Benjamin Netanyahu."

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The Israeli prime minister is facing mounting accusations of war crimes and genocide amid the eight-month siege of Gaza, which has claimed the lives of at least 37,396 Palestinians. A blockade on food, water, and other basic necessities has left millions more vulnerable to disease and starvation.

Congress and the White House have continued to enable Israel with a steady supply of American-made weapons, accounting for billions of dollars in US spending.

Bowman, who represents New York's 16th congressional district, is one of only a handful of House lawmakers who have signed on to a resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Jamaal Bowman takes on big-money interests in expensive reelection race

Westchester County Executive George Latimer is challenging Jamaal Bowman in the Democratic primary for New York's 16th congressional district.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer is challenging Jamaal Bowman in the Democratic primary for New York's 16th congressional district.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

Bowman's refusal to give his full-throated support for Israel has earned him some powerful enemies in his race for reelection.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its associated super PAC have raised at least $1.61 million to boost the congressman's conservative primary challenger, Westchester County Executive George Latimer. The New York-16 race was declared the year's most expensive House primary as spending levels topped $22 million.

Latimer, who was endorsed last week by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has repeatedly conflated the Palestinian people with Hamas and downplayed AIPAC's harmful role in the race.

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"He's the one who is supported by Democratic Socialists of America that want to get rid of the State of Israel," Latimer said Tuesday, gesturing to his campaign rival and referring to a non-profit, grassroots-powered political organization that is not a super PAC.

During earlier showdowns, Latimer has also suggested Bowman is neglecting some of his constituents: "You don't mention Asian. You don't mention people who are not Black or brown," he claimed last week.

The conservative Democrat also criticized Bowman for "not playing nice" with far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene and defended AIPAC by pointing to other Black politicians in Congress who benefit from the lobby group.

"Just because you have a few Black friends doesn't make you anti-racist," Bowman countered, accusing Latimer of falling short in matters of racial and reparative justice.

"I'm an outspoken Black man," Bowman said Tuesday. "His supporters don't want that, because it challenges their power."

Bernie Sanders backs Jamaal Bowman's race for reelection

Senator Bernie Sanders has endorsed Congressman Jamaal Bowman in his race for reelection.
Senator Bernie Sanders has endorsed Congressman Jamaal Bowman in his race for reelection.  © Andrew Harnik / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

While Latimer is attracting big-money political backers, Bowman has his own friends rallying around him, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

The Independent lawmaker issued a statement on Tuesday explaining why he sees Bowman's reelection as critical.

"The Democratic primary between Rep. Jamaal Bowman and George Latimer is not just a clash of two very different points of view. It is a clash over the future of the Democratic Party and the future of American politics," Sanders wrote.

"It is a clash over whether we will have, at least minimally, a democratic form of government in which Congress represents the needs of ordinary Americans, or whether Congress will be completely controlled by the billionaire class and corporate interests," he went on to say.

"The defeat of Bowman would not only result in the loss of a strong, progressive member of Congress, it would be a message to every member of Congress that if you oppose corporate interests the billionaire class will take you down. We must not allow that to happen."

Sanders and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are planning to attend a rally for Bowman in the Bronx on June 22.

Bowman faces off against Latimer in the Democratic primary on June 25. Early voting is already underway.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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