On October 30, the Madison chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) issued the first statement in the form of an open letter to the National Political Committee (NPC), the leadership body within DSA, calling for the expulsion of Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York as a member of DSA. This was a response to a series of actions taken by Bowman from his vote in favor of direct military aid to Israel for 3.3 billion in July of this year to a second vote two months later for another 1 billion in funding the Iron Dome, an air defense system that makes it much safer and easier for the apartheid state to bomb indiscriminately the Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
Things escalated significantly after Bowman joined the liberal establishment pro-zionist group J-Street on a congressional delegation visit to Israel where he met with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and the new far-right Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. This visit has led to a second open letter, this time from the Las Vegas chapter of DSA to the NPC also calling for the expulsion of Bowman from the organization. A dozen local chapters have joined in supporting the positions taken by Madison and Las Vegas.
Bowman, a member of DSA, has given an endorsement with his voting record and actions for the continuation of the occupation and the crimes being done by the state of Israel with full U.S. support against the Palestinian people. He visited with a government that in 2019 denied a fellow member of DSA, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, from visiting her grandmother who lives in the West Bank after she would not drop her support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement.
The NPC responded with a statement on November 16 that included the following.
“The NPC is treating this as its highest priority right now; to work with the DSA BDS & Palestine Solidarity Working Group and the Congressman’s local chapters to address this directly with Rep. Bowman. We will be meeting with him in the next few days and update members shortly.”
The DSA BDS & Palestine Solidarity Working Group has since issued a statement on Jamal Bowman calling for his expulsion if he does not commit to the following actions.
- Uphold Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS until apartheid Israel ends its illegal settlement expansion, dismantles its apartheid system, and grants Palestinians their right to return. When politicians do not commit to BDS, they are literally not in solidarity with the vast majority of Palestinian civil society.
- Provide protection to and support for Palestinians through legislation. Oppose anti-Palestinian legislation, like anti-free speech laws against BDS or attempts to provide Israel with any kind of military funding. Support pro-Palestinian legislation, such as the Defend the 6 Resolution.
- Participate in the travel boycott for personal travel to Israel and Palestine, which entails respecting the ethical tourism guidelines called for by Palestinian civil society and laid out on the BDS website. In line with these guidelines, we also expect Bowman and all endorsed candidates to reject any trips or delegations affiliated with the Israeli government or Israeli lobby groups, such as J Street or AIPAC.
It is within this context that the Tempest Collective endorses the DSA BDS & Palestinian Solidarity Working Group statement on Jamaal Bowman.
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