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Progressives Lash Out at AIPAC After Anti-Israel ‘Squad’ Loses First Member in US House Race

US Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaks during the National Action Network National Convention in New York City, US, April 7, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Prominent left-wing commentators are lashing out in the aftermath of US Rep. Jamaal Bowman’s landslide loss in Tuesday’s Democratic Party primary in New York, blaming the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for the result. 

Westchester County executive George Latimer cruised to a commanding victory over Bowman, winning by a margin of 58 percent to 41 percent. With the win, Latimer has ousted one of the most vociferous opponents of Israel in the US Congress.

In the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, Bowman has accused the Jewish state of committing “genocide” in Gaza and enacting an “apartheid” regime in the West Bank. Bowman infamously dismissed the widely reported and corroborated allegations of Hamas terrorists raping Israeli women during the Oct. 7 onslaught as “propaganda” before being forced to walk back his remarks. In the final days of his campaign, the congressman also urged the US to end all military aid to Israel — including for Iron Dome, an air defense system that saves Israeli lives from rockets and missiles launched by neighboring terrorist groups.

In the hours following Bowman’s loss, left-wing commentators immediately shifted blame toward AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, attributing the election results solely to the group’s financial resources. 

Olayemi Olurin, a leftist pundit and fierce critic of Israel, floated the idea that AIPAC engineered a smear campaign against Bowman by inundating voters with misleading campaign ads. 

It’s not a leftist conspiracy theory that AIPAC quite literally spent more money than ever before to unseat Jamaal Bowman for his stance on Israel,” Olurin posted on X/Twitter. “New Yorkers were drowned in ads smearing Bowman — that coupled with the redistricting of his district cost him the seat.”

Bowman appeared on Olurin’s YouTube channel earlier this month to discuss the state of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. During the interview, the congressman compared Israel unfavorably to the United States, claiming that both countries were built upon a foundation of “white supremacy.” He also suggested that the Jewish state was responsible for the Hamas terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attacks, which resulted in the biggest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

Cynthia Nixon, a former New York City mayoral candidate and progressive commentator, accused AIPAC of being operated by “far-right Republicans” and blamed the group for flooding the primary race with millions of dollars in an attempt to remove Bowman from office. Similarly, Bowman has denounced AIPAC as being an alleged tool of “racist” Republicans and allies of former US President Donald Trump. 

“Bowman is the last Congress person of color in a NY district not wholly in NYC. And let’s be clear — the record $20 mill spent against him did not come from Dems in this Dem primary but from anti-abortion, anti-climate justice, anti-worker far-right Republicans. You do the math,” Nixon posted on X/Twitter.

The stated mission of AIPAC, which poured a staggering $14.5 million into the race in an attempt to unseat Bowman, is to seek bipartisan support to strengthen the US-Israel relationship.

Nixon has spent the months following Oct. 7 accusing Israel of committing “war crimes” in Gaza and subjecting Palestinians to “inhumane treatment.” Nixon participated in a “ceasefire hunger strike” in November, demanding the Jewish state abandon its war against Hamas terrorists.

Jeet Heer, a progressive writer and anti-Israel critic, argued that AIPAC’s involvement tilted the race against Bowman. Heer has lambasted Israel for perpetrating a supposed “siege” on Gaza. He’s also stated that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is “unbearable.”

“It’s instructive to see how centrist liberals are trying to minimize what AIPAC is doing in the Bowman-Latimer race, where the lobby group has spent more than $14 million to make this the most expensive house primary in history. Denial is a big part of their ideology,” Heer posted on X/Twitter. 

Briahna Joy Gray, a left-wing political pundit and former press secretary for US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), argued that AIPAC weaponized “foreign money” and “wealthy whites” to defeat Bowman. She implored black politicians to ramp up anti-Israel rhetoric and ignore any accusations of antisemitism. 

Black electeds are too afraid to tell their Black & working class constituents the truth: that wealthy [AIPAC]-backed candidates are using foreign money to turn out wealthy whites & put Israel’s interests over their own. But they need to get over it. They’ll be called antisemitic anyway,” Gray posted on X/Twitter. 

Gray has a long history of making controversial comments against Israel. She has rejected the notion that Mizrahi Jews are of Middle Eastern descent, insisting that they are from Europe. Roughly 45 percent of Israeli Jews are Mizrahi — Jews who can trace their ethnic origins to the Middle East and North Africa.

The progressive pundit has also repeatedly accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza and cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught on Oct. 7.  Gray was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, “Rising,” after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the Palestinian terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women.

Bowman was not the only member of the so-called “Squad” of far-left US lawmakers outspoken against Israel who was up for reelection on Tuesday night. US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most virulent opponents of Israel in Congress, managed to throttle her opponent, Martin Dolan, by a margin of 82 percent to 18 percent in the New York Democratic primaries.

Though AIPAC spent a record-breaking $14.5 million on the race, the ultimate impact the organization had on the final result remains unclear. Bowman trailed Latimer by double digits prior to AIPAC deploying a single ad against the incumbent congressman.

Bowman also made himself particularly vulnerable after he pulled a fire alarm in a congressional building last year in an apparent attempt to obstruct a key vote, an act that embarrassed moderate voters in his district. The congressman initially claimed his actions were caused by a panic attack, but video later surfaced of Bowman calmly removing warning signs near the fire alarm before pulling its lever. The House of Representatives voted to censure Bowman in response to the surfaced video footage.

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IDF Operations in Gaza Have Led to Conditions for Hostage Deal, Israel’s Defense Chief Says

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin receives Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Pentagon in Washington, US, June 25, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The ongoing military operations of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza have created the necessary conditions for a ceasefire and hostage deal to be reached, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told his US counterpart.

Gallant’s office on Wednesday released a statement outlining his overnight call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the Israel-Hamas war.

“IDF operations in Gaza have led to the conditions necessary to achieve an agreement for the return of hostages, which is the highest moral imperative at this time,” Gallant said, according to the statement.

Israeli officials have argued that applying significant military pressure is necessary to push Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules Gaza, to agree to a ceasefire that involves the release of Israeli hostages.

During their call, Gallant provided Austin with a “situation assessment” of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, especially the IDF’s efforts to target senior Hamas leadership.

They also discussed the humanitarian situation in Hamas-ruled Gaza. According to the statement, Gallant informed Austin of his most recent order to build a temporary field hospital along the Gaza border in order to treat sick children.

The war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists invaded southern Israel, murdering 1,200 people and kidnapping about 250 hostages. Israel responded with an ongoing military campaign in neighboring Gaza to free the hostages and dismantle Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

Qatar, Egypt, and the US have been brokering talks between the two warring sides aimed at reaching a ceasefire that would include the release of Israeli hostages still in captivity in Gaza. Negotiations are ongoing.

Beyond Gaza, Gallant and Austin discussed the situation in northern Israel, where Lebanese Hezbollah has been striking daily with rockets, missiles, and drones.

Hamas and Hezbollah are both backed by Iran, which provides the Islamist terrorist groups with funding, weapons, and training.

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Google Acquisition Target Wiz Another Fruit of Israel’s Military Intelligence

Technologists with the Israeli military’s Matzpen operational data and applications unit work at their stations, at an IDF base in Ramat Gan, Israel, June 11, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias

An elite Israeli military intelligence unit may once again be about to prove its value to the nation’s tech economy as Google‘s parent eyes cybertech company Wiz for an eye-watering $23 billion.

Alphabet Inc , a person familiar has said, is in advanced talks to buy Wiz from founder Assaf Rappaport, a former officer from the famed 8200 military unit, which has built a track record in turning out tech entrepreneurs.

As the war in Gaza squeezes Israel’s economy, the deal underscores the resilience of the tech industry, which accounts for some 20 percent of the country’s output and around 15 percent of jobs. It also highlights the military‘s role in developing one of Israel’s most successful sectors.

Along with universities, Israel’s military intelligence and technology units, such as 8200, have provided the leaders for hundreds of tech start ups, helping to turn Israel into what is widely considered the No. 2 tech center globally after Silicon Valley.

Check Point Software Technologies, Nice, Palo Alto Networks, CyberArk, Wix and Waze — bought by Google for $1 billion — are a handful of companies whose founders have military roots.

Rappaport credits the Israeli military for his success, once calling the 8200 unit “the best school of entrepreneurship.”

He served there with his “army buddies” Yinon Costica, Roy Reznik, and Ami Luttwak, with whom he co-founded his previous cloud security company Adallom in 2012, which they sold to Microsoft three years later for $320 million.

In 2020, at the outset of the COVID pandemic, the four started cloud cyber security company Wiz, rapidly building it into a company that was given a $12 billion valuation after a $1 billion funding round in May this year.

“In a way it’s like raising tigers and then releasing them to the wild,” Gili Raanan, founder of Venture capital firm Cyberstarts and general partner at Sequoia Capital, said of the intelligence units.


He said being from an elite intelligence unit is not a requirement for him when investing; however, “90 percent to 95 percent of the teams I see are made up made up of 8200 graduates.”

“So whether I look into that or not, that’s the talent pool I am looking at.”

Part of the reason is the free wheeling, meritocratic nature of the units, which allow their graduates to move smoothly into the startup world after their service ends, said Raanan, who was an initial investor in both Adallom and Wiz — now headquartered in New York with R&D in Tel Aviv.

Rappaport did not initially want to accept money from Sequoia for Adallom in 2012 and declined a number of meeting requests from Raanan.

Raanan insisted and he eventually agreed to meet at a gas station about 40 minutes north of Tel Aviv. “Essentially we signed the terms on a napkin in a gas station.”

While Israel has mandatory post-high school military service, the intelligence units have the right of first refusal so they “can screen for the best people,” said Dror Bin, chief executive of the Israel Innovation Authority.

8200 is the army’s main information gathering unit, where 18-21-year old soldiers develop and use tools to gather information, which they pass on to senior officials. It’s Israel’s version of the US National Security Agency.

Less known is 81, the Intelligence Corp’s Technological Unit that supplies cutting-edge technologies to Israeli combat soldiers.

Rappaport also served in this unit, which has been the launchpad for many cyber, AI, and fintech firms once soldiers return to civilian life.


Despite the cloud cast over the economy by the Gaza war, Israeli companies have been among the major beneficiaries of the boom in demand for cloud security and have benefited from a number of strong financing rounds.

Industry group Startup Nation Central on Wednesday said in a report that private funding in Israeli startups rose 31 percent to $5.1 billion in the first half of 2024 from the second half of 2023, with cybersecurity contributing 52 percent of the funding.

“One might expect the ‘Israeli factor’ to have a stronger impact on the Israeli tech activity, but the data suggests otherwise,” Avi Hasson, Startup Nation Central chief executive, said.

If the Wiz acquisition goes ahead, it would eclipse a $15.3 billion purchase of Mobileye by Intel in 2017 and provide at least $1 billion of tax income into Israeli coffers.

“Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s a sign of confidence in the Israeli tech sector,” said Bin.

“Deciding to make such a big investment in an Israeli based company during time of war means that it’s really a good deal,” he said adding he expected to see more.

“There are many good targets in Israel today for such acquisitions. And maybe even this potential decision of Google will accelerate investment decisions of others.”

Amiram Shachar, CEO and co-founder of Israeli cloud security firm Upwind Security, said Google potentially buying Wiz is the “best thing” that could have happened for both the cybersecurity and cloud industries and Israel’s ecosystem will benefit.

“It confirms that the cloud is the future,” he said, “and underscores the need to build comprehensive platforms, not just feature-specific companies, to protect it.”

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University of Windsor offers separate agreement to Jewish students after making a far-reaching deal with pro-Palestinian protesters

The University of Windsor issued an olive branch on July 16 to its Jewish students—and to Canada’s Jewish community and its allies—pledging to take “tangible” steps to make all students feel included, safe and welcome on the campus. The unexpected statement was released just days after Jewish groups reacted with outrage to the school’s July […]

The post University of Windsor offers separate agreement to Jewish students after making a far-reaching deal with pro-Palestinian protesters appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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