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“Now we know how much it costs to buy an election.” Jews for Jamaal Decry Anti-Democratic Juggernaut Spending in NY-16 Primary

Yonkers, New York — Jews for Jamaal, a diverse coalition of New York Jews from Westchester and NYC, are devastated by the results of the NY-16 election, in which anti-democratic SuperPACs funded by Republican money ousted progressive champion, Rep. Jamaal Bowman. Rep. Bowman’s positions on social justice and human rights at home and abroad are popular with Democratic voters, and outside groups spent historic amounts of money to confuse and drown out the voices of NY-16 constituents. NY-16 saw nearly $25 million – much of it from Republican billionaires – poured into the effort to defeat the Congressman. The vast majority of that money was funneled via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which targeted Bowman for his positions on Palestinian human rights.

Jews for Jamaal organized hundreds of volunteers to knock on tens of thousands of doors and make over one hundred thousand phone calls to voters – a massive effort that proved no match for what organizers described as a “juggernaut” of AIPAC money.

“It has been an honor to be represented by Rep. Jamaal Bowman these past four years as he’s delivered major funds to our district for projects in the critical areas of housing, education, childcare, mental health, jobs and climate justice,” said Iris Hiskey Arno, a constituent in NY-16  and volunteer with Jews for Jamaal. “As a Jewish constituent, it has meant so much to know that my Congressman sees and understands the full complexity of New York’s Jewish community, instead of pandering to us with hawkish and fear-mongering policy positions the way so many politicians do. Rep. Bowman’s work in Congress has truly reflected my values and priorities – from his Green New Deal for Public Schools, to his advocacy for a permanent ceasefire and hostage return, Medicare for All, women's reproductive rights, and ending antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all forms of hatred and violence. The loss of Rep. Bowman in Congress will be felt deeply not only by his constituents, but by the millions of people across the state and country who have felt represented by his courageous and compassionate leadership.”


“This should provoke a crisis in the Democratic Party,” said Eva Borgwardt, National Spokesperson at IfNotNow Movement. “AIPAC’s MAGA billionaires just spent nearly $20 million trashing the reputation of a courageous, beloved Black educator to replace him with a mediocre white candidate with a history of racist remarks and governance. This is a wake up call to anyone who believes in democracy, equal rights, and an end to the slaughter in Gaza. AIPAC is going to keep going back to the same playbook against anyone who believes in the humanity of Palestinians. Democrats wouldn’t tolerate this from the NRA, and it should be equally unacceptable from AIPAC."


“Now we know how much AIPAC, big real estate, crypto-billionaires, and oil companies think it’s worth to take out a progressive champion who dares to challenge the status quo and speak out against war crimes, billionaires, and racism,” said Alicia Singham Goodwin, Political Director at Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) and The Jewish Vote. “The price tag is $24 million. But while they wrote blank checks, we made phone calls, knocked on doors, and engaged in powerful grassroots fundraising. While they tried to exploit our differences to divide us, we built relationships and coalitions, and remained committed to working together towards a true multiracial democracy. And we sent a clear message: if you want to buy our elections, you won’t walk away without a fight.”  


“Support for Palestinian rights is so popular among Democratic voters that it took AIPAC more than $17 million to unseat Congressman Bowman,” said Beth Miller, Political Director of Jewish Voice for Peace Action. “Extremist, far-right groups like AIPAC are spending at historic levels to scare members of Congress into ongoing support for military funding and weapons to the Israeli government. Congressman Bowman’s positions are popular among voters, and we will continue organizing to overcome anti-democratic dark money and to build a government that is governed that actually serves our communities.”


“New Yorkers know the history of the Republican funders who ended Roe v Wade, robbed our families of education, housing and health, and even supported elected officials who attempted to end democracy by offering Trump the White House he lost. Which is why their ads ran with a different name than theirs, why they needed to influence a Democratic Primary, and why Republicans were encouraged to register as Democrats to vote in it,” said Madeline Ritter, a former NY-16 constituent and volunteer with Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, adding, “These tactics may temporarily grow Republican power in Congress, but if the Democratic Party begins to embrace people-power over Republican money,  it can turn non-voters into voters, voters into organizers, and build the Congress we need to survive.”


Jews for Jamaal is a diverse coalition of New York Jews from Westchester and NYC who are organizing to re-elect Congressman Bowman.