Alexis Grenell | The Nation | June 26, 2024

Way back in January, well before AIPAC even spent a dime, the Latimer campaign had internal polls showing him up 10 points over the incumbent: That’s a massive lead for a non-incumbent, which testifies to Bowman’s weaknesses. Latimer later won by 17 points. What really made the difference in the race were Jewish voters themselves: people who live in the district, some of whom voted for Bowman previously, some of whom did not—the majority of whom could not stomach his rhetoric around the war in Gaza, exacerbated by an indifference bordering on hostility to their fears and feedback. It’s easy to blame Bowman’s loss primarily on AIPAC, but that would be as misleading as it is for them to claim credit….

Bowman lost J-Street’s endorsement and Jewish voters who’d previously supported him not only because he moved away from this position but also because he flirted with and then fully ingratiated himself to a section of the left that does not believe in Israel’s right to exist at all….

By framing the race as a proxy battle with the “Zionist regime we call AIPAC,” Bowman ended up treating Jewish voters in the district as if they themselves were foreign to it, as opposed to people with legitimate concerns about his representation of their concerns. As one Jewish, J-Street-aligned former Bowman supporter put it in a recent HuffPost story: “He created alliances that shouldn’t be created. I shouldn’t be allying with an AIPAC candidate.” Things veered into hypocrisy when Bowman rallied outside of the district with Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—arguing that right-wing billionaires were trying to buy the district, when only 10 percent of his own contributions came from within.