Squad member Jamaal Bowman meets Israeli FM Yair Lapid

Jamaal Bowman, one of the six members of the “Squad” considered the most critical faction of Israel in the US House of Representatives, is currently touring the country with a liberal pro-Israel group and met with his minister of Foreign Relations, Yair Lapid. .

Israeli media reported that several progressive Democrats are on the tour organized by J Street, a group that advocates a two-state solution and is harshly critical of Israel’s settlement activities, but also promotes Israeli culture and values ​​in their activities and objects. the boycott movement on Israel.

Among the others on the trip is Marc Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat who, like Bowman, openly criticized Israel during the Gaza conflict this summer. But Bowman’s inclusion is particularly notable, given the New York Democrat’s alliance with a prominent group of lawmakers that includes some who openly back the Israel boycott movement. The Squad included the most outspoken critics of Israel during the May conflict.

Bowman has stayed on the sidelines of the Squad by failing to join calls to reduce or end defense assistance to Israel, and by being the only member of the Squad to vote for an additional $ 1 billion in funding to replenish the anti-missile system. Iron Dome sold out during Gaza. conflict. The Bowman district covers parts of Westchester and the Bronx and has a substantial Jewish population. His predecessor, Eliot Engel, whom he toppled in a primary, was one of the most pro-Israel Democrats in Congress.

J STREET U students protest Hillel International on the sidelines of the annual J Street conference in Washington DC earlier this week. (credit: MOSHE ZUSMAN)

Bowman is backed by the Democratic Socialists of the United States, which has embraced the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. At least one chapter of the DSA, in Madison, Wisconsin, has called for Bowman’s removal from the DSA for voting in favor of defense funds for Israel. The chapter hinted in a Nov. 1 statement that Bowman was indulging their votes. “Career aspirations must not be allowed to compromise DSA’s staunch support for Palestinian national liberation,” he said.

Israeli media said this week’s visit is the first time in at least four years that J Street has punctuated meetings with Israeli government officials. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in office from 2009 until this year, was hostile to the group. The current coalition, led by Lapid and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, has prioritized repairing relations with liberal Americans.

In a tweet on the occasion of the meeting, Lapid did not mention the names of the legislators or J Street. “Tonight in the Knesset, I met with a delegation of Democratic members of Congress,” he said Monday. “I thanked them for supporting the replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system, and we discussed the importance of continuing to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel.”

The tour will also include meetings with Palestinian leaders. Also participating is Representative Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., The chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee.


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