From the River to the Sea, NY-16 has been Set Free of Jamaal Bowman

16th Congressional District of New York from Ballotpedia

From the river to the sea, the antisemite Jamaal Bowman has been trounced in the primary election of New York’s 16th district. In this case, the river is the Hudson and the sea is Long Island Sound.

Bowman is losing by 17 points with 84% of results in. Without question, this loss was because of his displayed hatred of Jews and his support of measures that would help Hamas. Bowman boasted of calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza only nine days after the October 7 massacre. Demanding a ceasefire immediately following a Hamas offensive has been a Hamas tactic since time immemorial. Bowman supports the BDS movement, has openly called for elimination of the Israeli state, and has embraced Muslim extremists during the recent campaign. In acknowledging his defeat, Bowman failed to actually concede but vowed to “continue the fight” against “our opponents,” by which he seems to mean Jews.

It is then no surprise that Bowman has been walloped, and not just by Jewish voters, but by large numbers of black and white non-Jews who found Bowman’s embrace of Hamas aims repugnant. The chant for a ceasefire became especially nonsensical when Hamas became the only party blocking a temporary ceasefire. None of the ceasefire-chanters in the Tlaib faction of the US Democratic Party have yet begun to explain that position. Why are they not waving their banners in the face of Hamas?

So the anti-Bowman wave requires no elaborate explanation. But its direct effect on US politics may be minimal. Westchester County, after all, is a Jewish bastion, and most of the other Hamas-loving Democrats in Congress, small in number, come from Jew-hating gerrymandered districts where they are safe. These districts are created by Republicans for the purpose of concentrating blacks and Arabs in single districts so as to maximize the number of elected Republicans; in that way, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and the Trumpsters are codependent, a situation that will not soon change. The Tlaib faction is not going to fold its tent, and Hamas, through various channels, will continue to fund American campus agitation, so come September, the hate encampments will reappear.

The big effect of this primary victory will be on policy, not politics. It’s obvious now that the US Departments of State and Defense operate as arms of the Biden reelection campaign. Thus, since the current war in Gaza erupted, US policy has had two aims: first to achieve a ceasefire well in advance of the November US election; and second, to achieve regime change in Israel before Biden himself stands for reelection. These goals were set by campaign operatives in order to patch over the rift between the pro-Israel and pro-Hamas wings of the US Democratic Party. Whether these goals coincide with those of Israel or Hamas or serve the interests of any people in the Middle East doesn’t matter.

Biden’s politicization of this war has been obvious and often ridiculous. Pretending optimism about a ceasefire after both Israel and Hamas have rejected US-Qatari ceasefire terms has been the way that Biden can openly capitulate to the pro-Hamas “ceasefire” protesters, while appearing to remain an Israeli ally. We’ve now been through countless rounds of false ceasefire optimism, followed by rejection of the terms by both Hamas and Israel, which always leads to new play-acted optimism by Biden about a ceasefire. As former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett has noted, the Biden interventions with fake ceasefire optimism have delayed the destruction of Hamas by four or five months, and the war might now be over were it not for these interventions.

The purpose of Biden’s constant kvetching for an impossible ceasefire, along with his intense public criticism of his alleged war ally, has been clear, and it has nothing to do with Israel or the war. All this was a domestic campaign tactic, to appease the Tlaib faction, including Jamaal Bowman, to trick them and their supporters into thinking that Biden was working for a Gaza ceasefire, even while US intelligence was surely telling Biden that no actual ceasefire was possible that would have the buy-in of the parties that needed to agree to one. It remains unclear what Biden and his campaign staff were really thinking, since by delaying the all-out war against Hamas, it was Biden himself who ensured that the fighting would extend past November 5, 2024.

It also became clear that each new round of ceasefire fakery was emboldening Hamas, making Hamas think that by holding out, it would achieve a better and better deal by agency of the United States government. The leaders of Hamas are not unintelligent or without olfactory capabilities. Hamas could smell Biden’s campaign desperation like a hound dog on the trail of an onion farmer, and it’s predictable that this desperation will grow until November. Yet Biden and Blinken were intent on advertising their desperation with each new transparently-false announcement of a coming ceasefire, and each new attempt to arm-twist Netanyahu.

So obvious was Biden’s pitch of US policy toward his own reelection strategy that by late February, when the second or third round of ceasefire fakery had crashed, Biden again postponed his State of the Union Address, so that he could come up with some new bone to throw to Bowman and company.

This campaign gimmick was the ridiculous “floating pier,” announced to the surprise of all thinking people, in the SOTU address of March 7. The idea of building a super-expensive pier to feed basic rations to an enemy population in a war that Biden was promising would soon end was so stupid as to seem like Biden had taken the concept from SNL writers. The true author of the pier plan remains anonymous among the Biden campaign staff. Hopefully that nincompoop has been reassigned to an envelope-licking office in North Dakota.

In any case, G-d was so offended by the imbecility of the pier, that He has attempted to destroy it multiple times, as the non-credible verses of some future bible will no doubt retell. Suffice it to say that if the real intent was to feed Gaza civilians, that could have been accomplished in a thousand more expeditious ways, like simply giving the food to Israel and asking Israel to deliver it.

That, of course, would have offended Mr. Bowman and Rashida Tlaib, which is the reason that the pier was concocted in such a way as to seem to be free of Israeli involvement. “Untouched by Jewish hands” was the evil logic behind the pier, even though that very thinking undermined the ally to whom the Biden administration had pledged “ironclad” support. The whole shtick was deeply antisemitic.

This is the calamitous Biden administration policy that the NY-16 primary result may hopefully change. Democrats have demonstrated to President Biden that we have no stomach for the anti-Semites in our party. We want to end the war in Gaza by destroying Hamas, not by mouthing the word “ceasefire” in a way that theoretically pleases the Jew-haters in our party.

United States policy should not be determined by the political interests of any candidate or party. That has been a big error of the Biden administration, and the president should cop to it. If Biden is reelected, Antony Blinken should be the first head on the proverbial chopping block, for conducting foreign policy as if it is campaign strategy. Blinken should have said back in 2023 that Hamas must be destroyed, not bargained with. “Ceasefire” should never have been an aim of U.S. policy in Gaza.

As the results in NY-16 indicate, such a reformulation of Biden administration policy will help the president politically. A little secret that Democratic pollsters have been shy to admit is that there are far more pro-Israel voters in the United States than pro-Hamas voters, and that is especially true in the critical swing states of Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona.

Biden claims Pennsylvania as a home state, yet his polling numbers have been falling there and he is now losing the state to Trump by 2-3 points. The perception that Biden has betrayed Israel is the reason – certainly not any economic indicators. Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of Jewish voters of any battleground state. The state ranks fifth in percentage of Jewish residents at 3.3% of the population, but because Jews have a very high turnout rate, Jews account for about 5% of the Pennsylvania electorate – that’s more than the margin of Biden’s deficit in Pennsylvania.

The effect is magnified because in 2020, between 68% and 75% of Jews voted for Biden, according to different estimates, and that gives Biden a whole lot of Jewish votes to lose. He is losing them. Even my mother, a dyed-in-the-wool Trump hater, is reconsidering her vote (she’s not in Pennsylvania). In many Jewish social media discussion groups, it has become almost unacceptable to identify as a Biden supporter.

Close behind are Nevada and Arizona, where Jews make up about 4% and 2.6% of the electorate, respectively. But in those states, where Biden is much further behind, there are many more Mormons than Jews, and the powerful LDS church, based in Utah, is very strongly pro-Israel. Evangelical Christians are also strongly pro-Israel and they account for 26%, 20%, and 19% of the adult population in Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, respectively. These numbers dwarf the percentages of Muslims in any state including Michigan, where Muslims are only about 1% of the electorate.

The numbers make it enigmatic why the Biden campaign decided early that it must placate pro-Hamas Democrats in formulation of its Gaza policy. The only explanation is that Biden had allowed activists like Tlaib and Bowman to play a disproportionate role in staffing the campaign, something that comes through loud and clear from the surrogates appointed to represent the campaign on TV. These surrogates regularly opine that Biden is in danger of losing “progressive” voters, meaning anti-Israel voters, but they never mention the risk of losing pro-Israel voters, which Biden has already done, as his polling indicates.

This is where the Bowman defeat can serve as a wake-up call. The Biden administration needs to sever its links to the Biden campaign, and the Biden campaign needs a staff overhaul, replacing anti-Israel staffers with staffers who represent the majority of American voters, who are pro-Israel, and who want the United States to help Israel in finishing the job of destroying Hamas.

There are some signs that this is happening. It was a shameful capitulation to the Tlaib faction when the Biden administration withheld a shipment of “offensive” armaments to Israel. This at a time when the United States was allegedly helping Israel to eliminate Hamas, a mission that is by its nature offensive. Now the Biden campaign has realized that this move turned many swing voters to Trump, and so the message was delivered to the State Department that it must walk back from the refusal to deliver arms. Blinken is not very skilled at lying, and it was especially awkward when Blinken tried to deny that the Biden administration had refused to deliver the shipment, which still has not been delivered.

But this is progress. The Biden administration may finally be realizing that it must help Israel to destroy Hamas, as much as that may alienate ex-congressman Jamaal Bowman. Such a shift will also help Biden defeat Donald Trump.

About the Author
Geoffrey Sea is a writer and historian living in Appalachian Ohio, educated at Harvard and other such places. His blog explores the lineages that connect the Jewish people through language, learning, politics, history, and DNA.
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