The Influence of AIPAC: The Attempted Crucifixion of Congressman Jamaal Bowman

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For several months, there have been rumors about Westchester County Executive George Latimer considering a challenge against the incumbent Congressman Jamaal Bowman.

Since Congressman Bowman’s victory over former Congressman Elliot Engel, doubts have emerged within the Democratic Party about his ability to maintain the congressional seat. As a newspaper publisher, it was fascinating to observe the passionate responses from various Democrats, including Black Democrats, in reaction to Bowman’s presence. This resistance is somewhat expected when a Black man disrupts the established party structure. Although the district elected him, some still see him as an outsider, leading to discussions about redrawing district lines as a potential solution.

The subsequent redistricting process in the 16th district resulted in significant changes, allowing a new candidate, potentially with a predominantly white voter base, to represent Westchester. Areas like Co-Op City, Baychester, Williamsbridge, and The Valley were removed from the district, consolidating it around the Wakefield neighborhood.

Within the Westchester political landscape, there seems to be a reluctance to fully endorse an outspoken Black man who steadfastly holds his beliefs. Congressman Bowman’s lived experience in this diverse community has profoundly shaped his perspective and underscores his commitment to serving all constituents. He has made remarkable progress in addressing the needs of his constituents, with a particular focus on historically underserved populations. With 13.2% of the district’s population living in poverty, Bowman’s empathetic approach aims to uplift the most vulnerable.

Notably, he stands as the sole Black elected official in Westchester who openly and publically advocates for studying Reparations for the descendants of enslaved people, a position that sets him apart from every elected official in Westchester, even the Black ones. This situation reflects the typical political dynamics where diverse perspectives can encounter challenges within the party, often revealing that promises of support can be empty.

According to reports, AIPAC’s super PAC began reaching out to George Latimer during the summer, coinciding with Congressman Bowman’s decision to boycott a congressional address by Israeli President Isaac Herzog. While AIPAC is renowned for its focus on Israel-related issues and has thrown its support behind Latimer’s candidacy, he has chosen to emphasize his progressive platform over his stance on Israel.

For those familiar with Westchester politics, it was evident that organizations like AIPAC were targeting Congressman Bowman due to his position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. However, it was unexpected that George Latimer would become the executioner of their agenda-planned crucifixion of Jamaal Bowman. This development raises questions about the accessibility of free speech and thought in Westchester and American politics, where individuals might face consequences for not aligning with a specific narrative or may receive financial support for promoting a particular agenda.

Latimer’s initial campaign advertisements left no room for doubt about his alignment; they predominantly revolved around AIPAC, Israel, and its interests. Despite the diverse interests and needs of the 16th Congressional District, encompassing various ethnic groups, such as White (Non-Hispanic), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic), Hispanic, White (Hispanic), and Asian (Non-Hispanic), the millions of dollars in support from AIPAC seemed to divert attention from other pressing Westchester issues. Notably, concerns like homelessness, crime, violence, and failing schools, which George Latimer had passionately championed for years, seemed to fade into the background during his initial steps into the congressional race.

Certainly, it’s important to note that Westchester County, like many counties in New York, is home to a significant population of Asians, Arabs, Whites, and Blacks who practice Islam. Given this diversity, questions arise about George Latimer’s position on the Israel-Gaza conflict and the significant loss of life among Palestinians who are not affiliated with HAMAS. These individuals are not considered a threat to Israel and are simply trying to survive the conflict. It’s essential to avoid generalizations, just as it would be unfair to assume that all Black people are involved in gangs or have criminal records.

The Westchester Muslim community is estimated at approximately 10,000 people, and the United Nations Security Council has classified the Israel-Gaza conflict as a global threat due to Israel’s actions. The toll of the conflict includes the tragic loss of over 17,400 Palestinian lives in Gaza and more than 56,400 wounded since the war began. Additionally, the district’s cultural diversity is evident, with 35.7% of households reporting a non-English language spoken at home.

This situation brings to mind the age-old saying, “he who pays the piper calls the tune,” highlighting how influential political donors or backers, such as AIPAC, can shape politicians’ decisions and actions. AIPAC proudly discloses on its website that it has contributed a significant $17 million to both Republicans and Democrats.

The evolving political landscape raises questions about the acceptability of candidates openly declaring themselves as “pro-this” or “pro-that.” In the speaker’s 55 years of life, it has been a rare sight to witness a candidate openly embracing a “pro-Black” label as a positive attribute. In contrast, in Westchester, it has been more common to see Black politicians distancing themselves from such a label while proudly wearing the “pro-Israel” badge.

This juxtaposition reminds me of a tragic incident involving the killing of Mr. Kenneth Chamberlain by White Plains police. The incident, where racial slurs were used before his untimely death, initially received limited response from politicians, preachers, and the community. However, a few months later, when a swastika was drawn on a dumpster, there was an outpouring of condemnation. This contrast underscores the disparity in priorities when addressing racial injustices.

The disregard for Black interests and Black people appears to have reached a point where it was reported in Westchester that a Young Israel Synagogue of New Rochelle member sent out an email focused on defeating Congressman Jamaal Bowman in the Democratic primary to support Israel.

The email also stated, according to reports, “It is critically important that if you are a registered Republican, at least for this election, you should re-register as a Democrat so you can vote in the primary (against Bowman).” Did the writer of this email know that it is illegal to do what he suggested? Or is it merely a coincidence that former County Executive Robert Astorino tried to do the same to the then-Westchester Independence Party, with the court ruling it was illegal and removing 3,700 Republican staff, family members, and associates from the party’s enrollment?

George Latimer, a highly regarded figure with a 30-year career and widespread recognition across all ethnic lines, has aligned himself with a group willing to polarize Westchester politics to achieve its interests. While he may emerge victorious, one must question the potential toll on his soul, as his campaign has already begun to polarize Westchester politics along racial lines only a week into his announcement.

In an article published by City and State Magazine, George Latimer expressed his desire to avoid discussions centered on AIPAC or race. While I’ve known George for many years and hold him in high regard, it’s important to acknowledge that the assumption that AIPAC and its supporters would not be assertive in their support, making Israel the paramount issue, is a significant oversight in a district that is multi-cultural, multi-racial and multi-religion, my friend.

Moreover, stating that you have Black friends is viewed as a problematic statement, as it oversimplifies the complexities of racial dynamics and is insensitive. to Black people.

It leaves us wondering how many Black individuals, Black politicians, and Black pastors will stand with Latimer, either unaware or consciously choosing to ignore that Latimer represents something other than a progressive candidate this time. AIPAC and other interests that back him do not necessarily align with the values of Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, or White Plains.

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries takes money from AIPAC

The sobering reality is that a strong Black man who speaks passionately about Black Love, Black Power, and Black issues like Reparations may not find a comfortable place in Westchester Politics. Many may silently accept financial support from AIPAC, resembling Judas betraying Jesus. Black political leaders like Hakeem Jeffries may not be significantly different from Judas in their silence regarding the attempt of removal of Black and brown congresspersons who do not conform to AIPAC’s agenda. We should not expect any other Congressional Democrat to support Bowman because they all have taken the bag of gold from AIPAC. The influence of big money on politics has undoubtedly led to the corruption of our American political landscape.

LINK TO WEBSITE

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Westchester Democratic Party, it’s crucial to recognize that your elected officials may not fully represent your interests; they are not as progressive as claimed, as organizations like AIPAC can exert substantial influence and control their campaigns and local and national agenda.

It is essential that we remain vigilant and engaged in the political landscape. The influence of influential organizations like AIPAC should not dictate the direction of our elected officials or compromise the values we hold dear. We must

Our voices, principles, and concerns deserve to be heard and prioritized by those representing all of us. We must demand transparency, accountability, and a commitment to our community’s diverse needs and interests. We should not accept the rustication of our Black elected officials who have voiced concerns of all Congressional District 16 by organizations like AIPAC and has no interest in the daily struggles, social issues, or anything else of this multi-racial, multi-religious district of Congressional District 16.

Let us strive for a political environment that truly reflects our values and serves the best interests of all Westchester residents. Together, we can ensure that our elected officials remain steadfast in their dedication to our community and its well-being.

Check out Black Westchester January 15, 2024 Newspaper Digital Edition
DAMON K JONES
DAMON K JONEShttps://damonkjones.com
A multifaceted personality, Damon is an activist, author, and the force behind Black Westchester Magazine, a notable Black-owned newspaper based in Westchester County, New York. With a wide array of expertise, he wears many hats, including that of a Spiritual Life Coach, Couples and Family Therapy Coach, and Holistic Health Practitioner. He is well-versed in Mental Health First Aid, Dietary and Nutritional Counseling, and has significant insights as a Vegan and Vegetarian Nutrition Life Coach. Not just limited to the world of holistic health and activism, Damon brings with him a rich 32-year experience as a Law Enforcement Practitioner and stands as the New York Representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Damon, it’s Justice Democrats’ PAC v AIPAC, both driving a referendum on the Israel Hamas war, in pursuit of an election win. This primary election is a civil war within the Westchester Democratic Party, with each side deploying dollars and social media, instead of guns and drones. In 2022 40,000 voters participated in the Democratic Primary, and they were the deciders for the 710,000 people in the district. Domestic problems you mentioned like homelessness, crime, violence, and failing schools – that’s for the winner, after the primary. In the meantime, geo-politics IS the strategy for both candidates. If there’s a cease-fire, what then? Pivot to some other wedge issue to keep the campaign contributions pumping?

    • After reviewing the Justice Democrats PAC’s website, it’s evident that their content is inclusive for all Americans. AIPAC’s website does not prioritize inclusivity in their agenda other than giving masses amount to money to candidates to support more and more of our tax dollars to Isreal. What raises concern is the fact that in 2022, the United States allocated over $3.3 billion in foreign assistance to Israel, while pressing domestic issues like homelessness remain unaddressed, with the government often citing budget constraints. So, if someone suggests reducing this allocation to $1 billion and allocating the remaining $2 billion to support impoverished communities within the U.S., does that automatically make them anti-Israel?

      It’s essential to remember that these funds come from hard-working American taxpayers who might not see a direct return on their investment. This isn’t about being anti-Israel but rather questioning the allocation of resources in a way that serves the best interests of all Americans. The debate revolves around responsible resource allocation and ensuring that taxpayer dollars benefit both international commitments and pressing domestic needs.

      Indeed, the situation becomes even more complex when we consider that AIPAC is reportedly willing to invest millions in campaigns to unseat Black and Brown sitting Congresspersons who raise legitimate questions about the substantial financial support provided to Israel while critical issues in poor communities across the United States continue to be neglected. This raises concerns about the priorities and values of candidates reflected in these actions, highlighting the need for a more comprehensive and equitable approach to resource allocation that addresses both international commitments and the pressing needs of marginalized communities within the country.

  2. Let’s not forget that George Latimer jumped over Ken Jenkins to become the County Executive. Will George’s legacy be that of the white man from Mt. Vernon who denied Black men elected office?

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