Guest ColumnsThe White Plains Examiner

Bowman Once Again Manages to Reach New Lows on Israel

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Constituents in Jamaal Bowman’s 16th Congressional District likely thought their congressman could not sink any lower in his animosity toward Israel.

In the months after the Oct. 7 attacks, Bowman had baselessly accused Israel of genocide, been caught on tape screaming that accounts of rapes of Israeli women were lies and propaganda and launched a joint fundraising effort with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the closest Congress has to an open Hamas supporter.

But in one week, Bowman managed to, twice, find new lows.

The first came in response to Iran launching an unprecedented direct attack on Israel, sending 300 drones, rockets and missiles. A seven-year-old girl was seriously injured and is still fighting for her life, but the damage would have been much worse were it not for an impressive response by Israeli air defenses.

In response, Bowman posted on X (formerly Twitter) “It is clearer than ever that Netanyahu’s warmongering is putting the lives of millions of civilians at risk.”

What is so bewildering about this tweet is that it came before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had responded at all. The action Bowman described as warmongering was doing nothing after being hit with a barrage of rockets. Israel did eventually respond with a pinprick strike on an Iranian defensive battery, but the scope of the attack was widely seen as de-escalatory. At the time of Bowman’s tweet, even that response had yet to take place.

The congressman’s reaction perfectly encapsulated the view of Bowman and his fellow “Squad” members toward Israel. The state’s existence they see as a provocation. Jews living in their historic homeland, according to Bowman, is warmongering.

Bowman followed up a day later with a longer statement incorrectly stating that Israel attacked the Iranian consulate in Syria, and citing this as the spark for the “dangerous escalation.” In fact, Israel did not strike the consulate but a military site nearby when the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) assassinated Iranian Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

Not that Iran would have any standing to object to an attack on its embassy. The first thing the Islamic Republic did upon taking power in 1979 was seize the U.S. Embassy in Iran and hold more than 50 Americans hostage. The ayatollahs have regularly attacked diplomatic targets in the 45 years since, including the 1982 bombing of Israel’s embassy in Argentina in which 29 people died.

Zahedi reportedly helped plan the Oct. 7 attacks, which killed 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, and saw hundreds more taken hostage. To summarize, Iran – which has no territorial or historic dispute with Israel but calls for the ethnic cleansing of Israel’s Jewish inhabitants – helped plan the worst day of violence against Jews since the Holocaust. Israel then launched a targeted strike at a military site to take out the general responsible, to which Iran responded with an unprecedented missile barrage.

And to Bowman, it is Israel’s prime minister that is the warmonger.

But that wasn’t Bowman’s low point for the week. Columbia University has increasingly been engulfed by anti-Israel protests that have crossed the line into open antisemitism and outright support for terrorist groups like Hamas. Jewish students have been told to “go back to Poland,” where 90 percent of the country’s Jews died in the Holocaust. Chants like “Ya Qassam (Hamas’s military wing), make us proud” and “burn Tel Aviv to the ground” have become common. Some Jewish leaders have urged Jewish students not to come to campus because of the threat to their safety.

President Joe Biden condemned the threats and violence against the Jewish community as “blatantly antisemitic, unconscionable and dangerous.” John McWhorter, a columnist for The New York Times, stated, “No Black student for 50 years has encountered anything that stark.”

Bowman had a different take. He he was “in awe of the courage and moral clarity of the Columbia community,” sharing a letter defending the “protestors” and mocking Jews scared for their safety.

“Feeling uncomfortable is not the same thing as being threatened or discriminated against,” Bowman tweeted, quoting from the letter. “We can support students who feel real and valid discomfort towards protests advocating for Palestinian liberation while also stating clearly and firmly that this discomfort is not an issue of safety.”

To Bowman, chants in favor of Hamas burning down Tel Aviv are simply advocating for Palestinian liberation, and clearly are not an issue of safety.

At least, one would think, Bowman’s constant and dishonest demonizing of Israel and its supporters could not get any worse from here. But the congressman always finds a way to surprise.

Andrew Vitelli is the former editor of The White Plains Examiner and The Putnam Examiner.

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