- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2021

The Democratic Socialists of America decided Thursday it will not expel Rep. Jamaal Bowman from its organization after debating whether he was too sympathetic towards Israel.

A member of the DSA, Mr. Bowman, New York Democrat, is a first-term lawmaker who won his seat last year, with the support of liberal “Squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after ousting veteran Democrat Congressman Eliot Engel from the state’s 16th District.

The DSA became angered with the freshman lawmaker after he voted to fund Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and traveled to Israel with several Democratic colleagues with J Street, a pro-Israel dovish non-profit organization.

“We recognize the threat that Bowman and other members of the Squad pose to the Zionist lobby and the important role DSA can play with them in advancing Palestinian rights and anti-imperialist struggle at the federal level,” the DSA said in a statement. “Already, we have seen considerable movement from Representative Bowman and his office.”

Although the socialist group said it will not expel Mr. Bowman, they were withholding their endorsement at this time to “demonstrate solidarity with Palestine in alignment with expectations we have set,” the DSA noted.

Mr. Bowman is walking a fine line between his loyalty to the DSA and the politics of his district, which is 9.4% Jewish.

In a Nov. 10 tweet, Mr. Bowman stated, “Had the honor of meeting with children today in the occupied West Bank city Hebron. There are streets they cannot walk and places they cannot go, simply because they are Palestinian.” He added, “When I asked about their dreams, their answer was simple: freedom. The occupation must end.”

The DSA, which calls Israel an “apartheid” state, supports the Palestinian cause and advocates for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to pressure Israel economically.

In a Nov. 16 statement, the DSA said it had received letters from several DSA chapters and members about Mr. Bowman and called the issue “its highest priority.”

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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