The Democratic Socialists of America’s BDS & Palestine Solidarity Working Group is calling for the immediate expulsion of Representative Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.) over his participation in a diplomatic trip to Israel and other decisions it deemed as too supportive of the Jewish state.
While Bowman voted in favor of a $1 billion aid package to fund Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system and publicly stated his opposition to the boycott, divest, and sanctions (BDS) movement, tensions between the progressive congressman and the group came to a head earlier this month when he visited Israel on a trip sponsored by the left-wing lobby group J Street.
The “Squad” member’s actions “show that he simply is not in solidarity with Palestinians,” the working group wrote in an open letter to the congressman on Monday. The letter added that anti-Zionism and support for BDS policies are non-negotiable stances for membership in the party.
The working group is one of more than 20 organizations within DSA that have demanded Bowman be censured or expelled, Tempest Magazine reported.
In May, Bowman said in an interview with the Jewish Community Relations Council- New York’s chief executive officer, Michael Miller, that he does not “align” himself with groups supporting BDS and that he does “not support the eradication of Israel.”
“It has the right to exist, it has the right to its homeland, it has the right to self-determination, and I’m here to support that right,” said Bowman, who is one of four DSA members currently in Congress.
Bowman was the only member of the DSA to vote in favor of the Iron Dome supplemental appropriation; Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Representative Cori Bush of Missouri voted against the measure while Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York voted present.
After Bowman’s first comments opposing BDS, local DSA groups convened with staffers under an “accountability process” for the congressman, the letter says.
“We explicitly told Bowman that just like the propaganda trips sponsored by Zionist groups, Zionist propaganda events are carefully constructed to validate Zionism by advancing certain narratives that normalize Israeli apartheid and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from historic Palestine,” the letter said.
The working group said Bowman’s recent showing of support for Israel “were not matters of lacking education, but matters of political calculus.”
“Although Bowman desires to be good on Palestine, he is not ready to take on the Zionist lobby yet and principally stand by his stated values,” the group added.
However, one DSA official reportedly told the New York Post that the group lacks the “infrastructure” to punish Bowman.