Socialist group criticizes US congressman for trip to Israel

A prominent socialist group disagrees with a Democratic congressman over his visit to Israel.

Representative Jamaal Bowman from New York visited Israel and the West Bank this month as part of a trip organized by the J Street pressure group, which describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” Bowman is a member of the self-dubbed “teamProgressives in Congress, who are relatively critical of Israel. In February, Bowman wrote a letter to the Israeli consulate in New York regarding the relatively slow deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Palestinian territories vis-à-vis Israel.

Bowman has traveled with a small group other Democrats in Congress. On November 10, he met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who describes the conversation like “big”. On the same day, he met Palestinian children in the city of Hebron in the West Bank. He criticized Israel’s subsequent occupation of the territory.

“When I asked questions about their dreams, their answer was simple: freedom” Bowman tweeted on children. “The occupation must end. “

Democratic Socialists of America issued a statement November 16 about Bowman’s trip to Israel. The organization has declared that it “unabashedly stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their continued struggle for liberation.” The group also reiterated its support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, which calls for various boycotts against Israel, including a travel boycott.

The Democratic Socialists of America added that they had received letters from many chapters and members across the country on the issue. Some chapters of Democratic Socialists of America have been more direct in their criticism. The The Las Vegas Chapter wrote on November 13, “It’s time we held Rep Jamaal Bowman in charge” of the trip.

A spokesperson for Bowman declined to comment on the letter today. The Democratic Socialists of America have said they will meet with Bowman soon.

Bowman was approved by the Democratic Socialists of America in 2020, when he defeated longtime Rep. Eliot Engel in the Democratic primary. This is not the first time, however, that members of the organization have criticized him for his record on Israel. Last month, a chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America from Wisconsin demanded that they “expel” Bowman after he voted in favor additional funding for the Israeli Iron Dome, which is an air defense system that protects Israel from rocket fire.

The Wisconsin branch also took issue with Bowman expressing his condolences over the death of Colin Powell, who was secretary of state during the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Solidarity with Palestine and opposition to Israel is a cause famous for many members of the political left around the world, including the United States.

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