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The Plan to Defeat Critics of Israel in Congress

The Plan to Defeat Critics of Israel in Congress

Update: 2024-06-2512
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This episode of The Daily focuses on the New York congressional primary race between incumbent Congressman Jamal Bowman and challenger George Latimer, a race that has become a proxy battle over the future of the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel. Bowman, a progressive Democrat who has been critical of Israel's actions in Gaza, is facing a well-funded campaign by AIPAC, a powerful pro-Israel group, which is seeking to defeat him as an example to other lawmakers who may be considering criticizing Israel. AIPAC's strategy is to portray Bowman as a disloyal Democrat who is out of step with the party's mainstream, rather than directly attacking his views on Israel. Bowman, however, has embraced the attack, framing the race as a referendum on the power of money in politics and rallying support from progressive groups. The outcome of the race could have significant implications for the future of the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel, as well as for the role of money in politics.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces the topic of the episode, which is the New York congressional primary race between incumbent Congressman Jamal Bowman and challenger George Latimer. The episode will explore the race's significance as a proxy battle over the future of the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel.

00:13:31
AIPAC's Campaign Against Bowman

This Chapter delves into the efforts of AIPAC, a powerful pro-Israel group, to defeat Congressman Jamal Bowman in the New York primary race. AIPAC is spending millions of dollars to support Bowman's challenger, George Latimer, and is using a strategy of portraying Bowman as a disloyal Democrat who is out of step with the party's mainstream, rather than directly attacking his views on Israel.

00:25:55
The Implications of the Race

This Chapter discusses the potential implications of the New York primary race for the future of the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel. The episode argues that if Bowman loses, AIPAC will claim a victory for its cause, but that taking out a lawmaker is very different than rebuilding a consensus around support for Israel, which is AIPAC's real goal.

Keywords

AIPAC
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a powerful bipartisan lobbying group that advocates for strong U.S.-Israel relations. It is known for its extensive lobbying efforts, political donations, and grassroots activism. AIPAC's mission is to advance Israel's interests in the United States, and it has been successful in building a consensus in Congress and Washington to support Israel. In recent years, AIPAC has become more active in electoral politics, forming a super PAC to support candidates who are seen as friendly to Israel. AIPAC's involvement in the New York congressional primary race is a sign of its growing influence in American politics.

Jamal Bowman
Jamal Bowman is a progressive Democrat who represents New York's 16th congressional district. He is a former middle school principal and educator who was elected to Congress in 2020. Bowman is known for his outspoken views on issues such as racial justice, economic inequality, and foreign policy. He has been critical of Israel's actions in Gaza and has called for a ceasefire and a reduction in U.S. military aid to Israel. Bowman's stance on Israel has made him a target of AIPAC, which is seeking to defeat him in the New York primary race.

George Latimer
George Latimer is a Democratic politician who serves as the Westchester County Executive. He is a longtime fixture in Westchester County politics, having served in local, county, and state government. Latimer is a staunch supporter of Israel and is running against Jamal Bowman in the New York congressional primary race. AIPAC is supporting Latimer's campaign and is spending millions of dollars to help him defeat Bowman.

Democratic Party
The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States. It is generally considered to be center-left on the political spectrum. The Democratic Party has a long history of supporting Israel, but there has been a growing divide within the party on the issue in recent years. This divide is reflected in the New York congressional primary race between Jamal Bowman and George Latimer, which has become a proxy battle over the future of the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel.

Israel
Israel is a country in the Middle East. It is a democracy with a strong military and a close relationship with the United States. Israel has been involved in numerous conflicts with its neighbors, including the Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complex and intractable issues in the world. The conflict has been a source of tension between the United States and its allies, including Israel. The New York congressional primary race between Jamal Bowman and George Latimer is a reflection of the growing debate within the United States over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Gaza
Gaza is a Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean coast. It is home to over 2 million Palestinians. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist group that has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and other countries. Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, which has severely restricted the movement of people and goods. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a source of tension between the United States and its allies, including Israel. The New York congressional primary race between Jamal Bowman and George Latimer is a reflection of the growing debate within the United States over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Hamas
Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip. It is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and other countries. Hamas has been involved in numerous attacks against Israel, including rocket attacks and suicide bombings. Hamas's control of Gaza has been a major obstacle to peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a source of tension between the United States and its allies, including Israel. The New York congressional primary race between Jamal Bowman and George Latimer is a reflection of the growing debate within the United States over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Super PAC
A Super PAC is a type of political action committee that is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates for office. Super PACs are not subject to the same contribution limits as traditional PACs. They are often used by wealthy donors and special interest groups to influence elections. AIPAC's use of a Super PAC in the New York congressional primary race is a sign of the growing role of money in American politics.

Q&A

  • What is the main issue at stake in the New York congressional primary race between Jamal Bowman and George Latimer?

    The race has become a proxy battle over the future of the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel. Bowman, a progressive Democrat who has been critical of Israel's actions in Gaza, is facing a well-funded campaign by AIPAC, a powerful pro-Israel group, which is seeking to defeat him as an example to other lawmakers who may be considering criticizing Israel.

  • What is AIPAC's strategy in the race?

    AIPAC is using a strategy of portraying Bowman as a disloyal Democrat who is out of step with the party's mainstream, rather than directly attacking his views on Israel. They are hoping to persuade voters who are loyal Democrats but may not be following the war in Gaza closely that Bowman is not representing their interests.

  • How has Bowman responded to AIPAC's campaign?

    Bowman has embraced the attack, framing the race as a referendum on the power of money in politics and rallying support from progressive groups. He argues that AIPAC is trying to buy the election and that their actions represent everything that is wrong with big money in politics.

  • What are the potential implications of the race for the future of the Democratic Party's relationship with Israel?

    If Bowman loses, AIPAC will claim a victory for its cause, but the episode argues that taking out a lawmaker is very different than rebuilding a consensus around support for Israel, which is AIPAC's real goal. The episode also suggests that AIPAC's strategy may backfire, leading to a backlash against Israel and further distrust of the group.

Show Notes

A powerful group supporting Israel is trying to defeat sitting members of Congress who have criticized the country’s deadly war against Hamas.

Nicholas Fandos, who covers New York politics for The Times, explains why it appears that strategy may work in today’s Democratic primary in New York.

Guest: Nicholas Fandos, who covers New York politics and government for The New York Times.

Background reading: 

For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily. Transcripts of each episode will be made available by the next workday.

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The Plan to Defeat Critics of Israel in Congress

The Plan to Defeat Critics of Israel in Congress

The New York Times