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Israel on the Ballot in Westchester As Activists Slam ‘Squad’ Incumbent Amid Reported Photo Flap

Embroiled in controversy over his position on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., was subjected to more scathing press that cited local Jewish leaders adamantly opposed to his re-election.

Bowman, considered a member of the left-wing “Squad” in Congress, was the subject of a Jewish Insider piece headlined “No More Bridges to Burn in Westchester,” referencing the suburban New York City county that makes up much of his district and is also home to the largest Jewish population outside the Big Apple.

The former junior high school principal is in the political fight of his life against a more moderate Democrat, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and has even lost the support of some fellow progressives over his criticism of Israel.

According to the Jewish Insider piece, Bowman asked a local Westchester Jewish leader in 2022 whether he had photographs of the two of them together as he tried to rally support for his election.

“Do you have pics of us … so I can show the world I’m friends with Jewish people[?]” according to contents of a text reportedly viewed by the outlet.

The Jewish leader told the outlet he had at least one image from an event Bowman attended after a promise to support a House bill favoring former President Trump’s Abraham Accords Mideast peace deal.

Bowman later reportedly withdrew his support for the legislation, and the Jewish leader said the overall situation made him “uncomfortable.”

That situation and other content in the piece caused outrage among Jewish activists, including StopAntisemitism founder Liora Rez, who told Fox News Digital it is time for Bowman to “find a new job.”

“Jamaal Bowman has consistently made clear in his statements and actions his animus toward Israel and the Jewish people,” said Rez, who escaped antisemitism as a refugee from the Soviet Union.

“His hostility to individuals, including his own constituents, simply because of their faith and ethnic background is sickening, and he and his bigoted views deserve no recognition in Washington.”

Bowman’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the Jewish Insider piece.

Another local Jewish leader, Rabbi Evan Hoffman, recently told the New York Post he would support Latimer as Jewish constituents are reportedly organizing a “Vote Shabbat” drive to oppose the incumbent.

“Bowman is opposed to Israel and more subtly the Jews in his own district,” Hoffman said.

Bowman has spoken out on the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement against Israel, calling it a “nonviolent protest opportunity to hold Israel accountable.” Pro-Israel activists consider it conversely antisemitic and an effort to hurt Israel.

Bowman’s opponent, Latimer, has gotten the opposite reception. A February report from The Intercept said support from AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – has constituted more than two-fifths of his fundraising war chest. Bowman has, in turn, accused the group of trying to “buy” the race.

Former Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., a fellow progressive who represented the district across the Tappan Zee Bridge from Bowman, notably chose to endorse Latimer this year.

Jones’ former district, now mostly represented post-redistricting by Rep. Michael Lawler, R-N.Y., also hosts a large Hasidic population in Rockland County.

“I’m making this endorsement [of Latimer] to stand up for my Jewish constituents because Representative Bowman and I have very different views on Israel,” Jones told the Associated Press.

Bowman’s supporters, however, sing his praises as much as his critics do the opposite. Angela Davis-Farrish, an official with the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority, praised the lawmaker in a Politico piece after the introduction of legislation to establish a rent ceiling for certain families on government assistance.

He is also endorsed by New York’s Working Families Party and the Democratic Socialists of America.

The Republican contender primed to face either Bowman or Latimer is Dr. Miriam Flisser, a pediatric consultant who previously served as mayor of Scarsdale.

The district, however, is rated D+20 by the Cook Partisan Voting Index, which suggests that the eventual Democrat nominee is a heavy favorite in November.