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NY Rep. Bowman calls meeting on antisemitism amid sharp criticism from Jewish constituents ahead of potential primary

(New York Jewish Week) – Rep. Jamaal Bowman, the progressive New York Democrat, is asking his Jewish constituents to attend a meeting to discuss antisemitism as criticism of his stance on Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza has bolstered a potential primary challenge against him.

The meeting, which his office called “Healing breakfast: Fighting antisemitism and hate,” will be held at Bowman’s office in White Plains on Monday morning.

An invitation was sent out to some local Jewish leaders on Friday, but some of the invitees are ridiculing the effort. Rabbi Evan Hoffman, the head of the Westchester Board of Rabbis, called the meeting “laughable.”

“Nobody’s going,” said Hoffman, the leader of the Orthodox Congregation Anshe Sholom in New Rochelle. “The relationship with the congressman has hit rock bottom, and he knows it, we know it. There’s no point in dancing around it anymore.”

Bowman has elicited pushback locally and nationally over his calls for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas, including from Jewish constituents. He has condemned Hamas and a rally appearing to support its attack; he has also demanded the release of the terror group’s hostages and decried antisemitism. But he is also a member of the “Squad,” the group of progressive Democrats that has directed harsh criticism at Israel  both before and since Oct. 7.

Bowman co-sponsored an Oct. 16 resolution from fellow progressive Rep. Cori Bush calling for an “immediate ceasefire.” The resolution did not mention Hamas, terrorism or Israeli hostages, and Bowman’s backing drew condemnation from the Westchester Board of Rabbis, which said the resolution denied Israel the right to defend itself while Hamas held hostages and drew false equivalence between the two sides.

Bowman was one of just 10 members of Congress to vote against a resolution “Standing with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists.” He likewise voted against a resolution condemning support in campuses for terror groups including Hamas.

Bowman was elected to Congress in 2020 after defeating a long-term Democratic pro-Israel incumbent, Eliot Engel, in a primary. Unlike other members of the Squad, including Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rahida Tlaib, Bowman at first tried to walk a cautious line on Israel policy. He traveled to Israel in 2021 on a trip organized by the liberal Israel lobby J Street, drawing fire from the left, and quit the Democratic Socialists of America after the trip.

J Street had endorsed Bowman before Oct. 7. The group told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Oct. 24 that it was not withdrawing that endorsement.

The discord over those stances in his district could bolster the prospects for a challenge from George Latimer, the popular county executive in Westchester, who has said he will make an announcement on a potential run this month; Bowman’s current term ends on Jan. 3, 2025.

Bowman’s 16th congressional district is located north of New York City, though it also covers a small part of the Bronx. It is home to a significant Jewish population, and is around half Black and Latino.

More than two dozen rabbis in Bowman’s district, including Hoffman, wrote a letter to Latimer nine days after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, urging him to challenge Bowman due to the incumbent’s “effort to erode support for Israel on Capitol Hill and within the Democratic Party.”

Rabbi Jonathan E. Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple, who also signed the letter, said that Bowman’s approach to the war appeared to be at odds with most of Westchester’s Jewish community.

“The overwhelmingly shared sentiment is that the Jewish voters in Representative Bowman’s district do not believe that his policy and messages on Israel reflect their own views,” Blake said.

Hoffman feels that that tension predated Oct. 7. Ahead of the war, he said, Bowman was “unresponsive to our requests and our needs and developed an adversarial relationship with us.”

On Thursday, Bowman posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had been in daily contact with Jewish constituents “and they do not want their pain exploited by the right wing to justify even more civilian deaths.” Following the rabbis’ letter criticizing Bowman, and another missive urging Latimer to mount a challenge, several dozen Jewish community members calling themselves “Jews for Jamaal” wrote a counter letter, expressing support for the congressman and urging Latimer against running.

Micah Sifry, one of the lead signatories on that letter, said he had been invited to the meeting on Monday and planned to attend.

“I don’t think anybody has actually polled so it’s hard to know, so probably everyone is touching a different piece of the larger picture,” he said regarding Jewish support in the district for Bowman. “It’s no secret that there’s a wide range of opinions in the Jewish community.”

Sifry said Bowman distributed his contact information to community members and had been responsive to requests, but may struggle to keep up with the volume of messages he receives.

Bowman’s office did not respond to a request for further information about the Monday meeting, including who would be attending, what would be discussed and what prompted the event.

Blake, a member of the Westchester Jewish Council, an umbrella group, and the Westchester Board of Rabbis, said that he was not aware of Bowman’s office approaching either group, did not know who Bowman was speaking to in the Jewish community, and had not received an invitation to the Monday meeting.

Hoffman said he had received a brief phone call from Bowman last month, and that the congressman’s Jewish supporters represented a “very small fraction” of the community.

“I believe that he uses this language as a fig leaf,” Blake said of Bowman’s claim that he had been speaking daily with Jewish constituents, “to cover the plain fact that his relationship with the mainstream Jewish community in his district is badly strained at this time.”


The post NY Rep. Bowman calls meeting on antisemitism amid sharp criticism from Jewish constituents ahead of potential primary appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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