‘Squad’ member Rep. Bowman’s past comments on Israel, Jews, conspiracy theories

Recent reports on Representative Jamaal Bowman have shed light on his history of conspiracy theories and support for antisemitic voices online. The reports, by The Daily Beast and New York Post, contain details of Bowman’s YouTube subscriptions. 

Rep. Bowman, 47, serves as the US representative for New York’s 16th congressional district. He is part of 9 democratic representatives unofficially named “The Squad,” alongside Ilan Omar, Cori Bush, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib.

Conspiracy theories

As of last month, Bowman was subscribed to channels on YouTube such as Afripost, which frequently shares speeches by Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan, known for his antisemitic rhetoric, according to the reports.

A recent video on Afripost is called “BLACKS ARE THE TRUE J£WS [sic].” 

The channel also makes claims such as “Vatican Angry as PUTIN Declares Russia will Only Worship THE BLACK JESUS.”

Black Hebrew Israelites demonstrate outside the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. (credit: AL DRAGO/REUTERS)

Another channel called Video Advice posts content such as “This CIA Document Literally Explains Time Travel (practical steps included),” and “Kanye Exposes the Truth: ‘The Secret Codes They Don’t Want You to Know.’”

The New York Post reported that Bowman penned a blogpost in 2014 alleging that Osama bin Laden was falsely “blamed” by the US for the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to wage war in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, according to Jewish Insider, at the end of April 2024, Bowman hosted a fundraiser with an extremist Muslim leader – Nihad Awad- who praised Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre and has been personally condemned by the White House.

X history

Investigating this further, The Jerusalem Post took a look at Bowman’s X posts dating back to October 7.

On both Purim and Hanukkah, Bowman wished a happy holiday to “all who celebrate/everyone celebrating” without referring to Jews, while on Eid, he tweeted his well wishes to “Muslims.”

On April 24, Bowman posted that he condemned “any potential police action on Columbia University’s campus” and the “suppressing [of] peaceful protest.”

His claims of peaceful protest come despite reports of many incidences of violence, such as the chants “We say justice, you say how? Burn Tel Aviv to the ground. Go Hamas, we love you. We support your rockets too” and allegations that Jewish students have been harassed, punched, shoved and spat upon.

On April 18, Bowman tweeted: “We can support students who feel real and valid discomfort towards protests advocating for Palestinian liberation while also stating clearly and firmly that this discomfort is not an issue of safety.” 

If the “students” he is referring to here are Jews, his claims that their “discomfort is not an issue of safety” does not align with the testimonies of multiple Jewish students at US colleges, such as one who filed a class action lawsuit against Columbia University this month under the allegation that the school could not guarantee the safety of its Jewish students.

On April 15, Bowman released a statement, posted on X as well, that claimed that the “collective punishment leveled against the Palestinian people as well as Israeli military actions in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq have created a dangerous powder keg.” 

There is no evidence to suggest Israel has any military involvement or operational activity in Iraq or Yemen. 

On both March 14 and November 14, Bowman was pictured with JVP Rabbis/Rabbis for ceasefire, tweeting in March: “I’m so grateful for the rabbis and advocates at Jewish Voice for Peace who spoke with me about the importance of an immediate and lasting ceasefire.”

JVP is a fringe organization with a history of endorsing Hamas. They are known to use the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which has been criticized for implying the eradication of Israel. 

On November 8 2023, Bowman expressed support for Rashida Tlaib who on multiple occasions has accused Israel of genocide and apartheid. She was crowned Antisemite of the Year 2023 by StopAntisemitism. Bowman’s tweet read: “Today I spoke against Republicans’ censure of @RepRashida. Rashida does not wanna kill Jews. She does not support Hamas. She simply, as the only Palestinian member of Congress, wants to uplift, protect, and value the lives of Palestinians — and all lives.”

Palestinian-American congresswoman Rashida Tlaib attends a pro-Palestinian protest in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., May 16, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/REBECCA COOK)

“We cannot allow the Republicans to punish the only Palestinian-American in Congress because she stood up for peace, love, and humanity.”

This rhetoric has not only been present online; in a rally speech in New York on November 17 he referred multiple times to Israel as an “apartheid state” and said that the rape and beheadings documented on October 7 by Hamas were “lies”.

“There’s still no evidence of beheaded babies or raped women, but they [Israel] still keep using the lie for propaganda.”

He claimed that Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza and accused Israel of “enslavement and genocide.”

In a statement following the publication of this video, Bowman appeared to deny accusations that the rape weaponized by Hamas was fabricated, saying: “I also voted yes on Resolution 966, which officially condemns the rape and sexual violence committed by Hamas. So let me be clear and ensure my words are not twisted: I always stand against sexual violence in all forms and stand for peace for all.” 

The Jerusalem Post checked his voting record, and Bowman did indeed vote “yes” to condemn Hamas’s use of rape and sexual violence.

However, looking at his publicly available voting record shows a majority NO votes on resolutions relating to the security of Israel and Jews.

Voting record

  • 05/01/2024 – Antisemitism Awareness Act of 2023 [adoption of IHRA] – NO
  • 04/20/2024 – Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 – NO
  • 04/18/2024 – Condemning Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel – NO
  • 04/17/2024 – Standing Against Houthi Aggression Act [designate as terrorist org] – NO
  • 04/17/2024 – Iran Counterterrorism Act of 2023 – NO
  • 04/16/2024 – Encouraging the EU to DESIGNATE [IRGC as terrorist organization] Resolution – NO
  • 04/16/2024 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the slogan, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” [is antisemitic and will be condemned] – NO
  • 04/16/2024 – Iran Sanctions Accountability Act of 2023 – NO
  • 02/06/2024 – Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 – NO
  • 12/13/2023 – Condemning antisemitism on University campuses – NO
  • 12/05/2023 – Strongly condemning and denouncing the drastic rise of antisemitism in the United States and around the world – NO
  • 12/02/2023 – H Res 798 – Condemning the support of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations at institutions of higher education, which may lead to the creation of a hostile environment for Jewish students, faculty, and staff. – NO
  • 11/01/2023 – Hamas International Financing Prevention Act – NO
  • 10/25/2023- Standing with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists – NO

Noticeably, Bowman voted against standing in support of Israel in October and voted no on condemning the rise of antisemitism. He also refused to label Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis as terrorist organizations and voted no on an act to supply Israel with emergency security supplies, despite voting yes on an identical bill for Ukraine.

Bowman was censured in December by the House of Representative for pulling a fire alarm in a Capitol Hill office building in order to delay a vote to avert a government shutdown, according to the New York Post.