Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) has raised eyebrows and drawn criticism for saying that Jews who do not call for a ceasefire in Israel’s counterattack of Hamas-controlled Gaza are not “uplifting” the true essence of Judaism.
The congressman’s remarks came during a pro-ceasefire rally at the Capitol in Washington, where he made the audacious claims about the Jewish community and their faith.
“I’ve heard what was said here this evening before that, by me calling for a ceasefire with my colleagues and centering humanity, I am uplifting deeply what it actually means to be Jewish because I’m centering the way in which God wants us to live with each other, so I feel grateful to be standing here,” Bowman, who is Black himself and not Jewish, asserted during his speech.
Bowman’s comments didn’t stop at advocating for a ceasefire, as he went further to accuse Israel of war crimes, echoing unverified claims from Hamas about civilian casualties and launching an attack on the Israeli government.
“The Israeli government does not represent Judaism or Jewish values and the Jewish people. It does not, just like Hamas doesn’t represent the Palestinian people, and so, we have to hold these governments accountable for how they behave and treat people in the name of the people they’re supposed to represent. We have to be honest about that,” he asserted.
Bowman’s speech generated a significant backlash, as a ton of social media users condemned his statements, with some interpreting his words as if he were speaking for the Jewish community.
Political commentator and radio host Guy Benson tweeted, “Sir, are you Gentilesplaining what it means to be Jewish…to Jews?”
Sir, are you Gentilesplaining what it means to be Jewish…to Jews?
::pulls fire alarm:: https://t.co/zjlhUZQOvA
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 14, 2023
This sentiment was echoed by columnist David Marcus, who posted, “Please, go on congressman, do tell us what being Jewish really means.”
Please, go on congressman, do tell us what being Jewish really means… https://t.co/RSYDwcf8fi
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) November 14, 2023
Media personality Tony Katz chimed in, “Taking cultural appropriation to a whole new level. Don’t buy into this nonsense. A cease-fire supports Hamas. Bowman and the Squad support Hamas.”
Taking cultural appropriation to a whole new level.
Don't buy into this nonsense. A ceasefire supports Hamas. Bowman and the Squad support Hamas. https://t.co/4sLAth60Q8
— Tony Katz (@tonykatz) November 14, 2023
Some commenters made reference to the congressman’s infamous fire alarm stunt during a vote in September. “Mr. Fire Alarm guy has zero credibility on this issue. His pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic feelings ooze out,” tweeted James Hutton, the former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mr Fire Alarm guy has zero credibility on this issue. His pro-Hamas, anti-Semitic feelings ooze out.
— James Hutton (@JEHutton) November 14, 2023
Podcaster Shaiel Ben-Ephraim also chimed in, tweeting, “If there are two things this guy understands, it’s Judaism and fire alarms.”
If there are two things this guy understands, it’s Judaism and fire alarms. https://t.co/yROkmAUgsc
— Shaiel Ben-Ephraim (@academic_la) November 14, 2023
Some commenters shifted the focus towards Bowman’s own identity and tried to put him in the shoes of Jews. Drawing parallels, National Review contributor Pradheep J. Shanker wrote, “This would be analogous to me lecturing @JamaalBowmanNY what it is like to be Black in America.”
— Pradheep J. Shanker (@Neoavatara) November 14, 2023