Photo Credit: United States Congress / brandnewcongress.org
Eliot Engel and Jamaal Bowman

The anti-Israel Jewish anarchist group IfNotNow is supporting Jamaal Bowman, “a black working-class teacher in the Bronx challenging Rep. Eliot Engel,” a Democrat, one of Israel’s greatest friends in Congress.

The 16th district includes the northern Bronx and the southern half of Westchester County, including the suburban cities of Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Rye.

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IfNotNow has aligned with JewsForJamaal in their support of Bowman in the June 23 primaries. The candidate’s views on the Israeli-Arab conflict is clear and simple: he wants the two-state solution and nothing but the two-state solution: “…I support a two-state solution and believe in democracy and self-determination for the Israeli and Palestinian people. … We must also have honest conversations about our government’s role in enabling the continued occupation of the Palestinian people. Our taxpayer dollars should not be going toward subsidizing settlement expansion, home demolitions, the detention of Palestinian children, or in any way supporting the threatened Israeli ‘annexation’ of the West Bank.”

The above assertion is a blatant lie – US taxpayer dollars do not support the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. They support a 10-year, $38 billion military aid to Israel, the bulk of which goes to US manufacturers. The aid, mind you, was crafted and delivered by the last Democratic president, Barack Obama.

And then comes the inevitable zinger, cleverly enlisting Republican presidents to support Bowman’s point: “Past presidents like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used our financial leverage to promote peace in the region as well. We must ensure that U.S. support is used to address the very real security threats Israel faces, not to entrench the occupation.”

Except that US law determines that the military aid package cannot be used to leverage policy against Israel. The United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 determines that the $38 billion in military aid over 10 years spelled out under the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding would be funded through a special mechanism that would be separate from the annual budget. The law ensures that US aid would not be cut once the aid memorandum came into effect starting in 2019, ensuring that the funds would not be influenced by the budget negotiations between Congress and the President. It also means that presidents would not be able to suspend US aid as a means of pressuring Israel.

Eliot Engel is one of the leading congressional supporters of Israel. In 2008, he was the lead Democrat on a resolution condemning Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations. Shortly after entering Congress, he sponsored a resolution declaring Jerusalem the undivided capital of Israel. A very pro-Israel position, this was contrary to official American policy until President Donald Trump adopted it in December 2019.

Engel wrote the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003, authorizing restrictions on American relations with Syria, and penalties for its occupation of Lebanon, and for its relationship with terrorist groups.

In January 2017, Engel introduced a House resolution condemning the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlement building.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.