The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) declared Wednesday that the defeat of Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) in his primary by left-wing challenger Jamaal Bowman marked the rise of anti-Israel forces within the Democratic Party.
Engel, who has served in the House of Representatives for more than 30 years, is the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He had shifted left on Israel in recent years: like the rest of his party, he failed to attend the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, for example. Yet he had been viewed as one of the last pro-Israel holdouts in his party.
Now all that is over. Engel lost to Bowman by a massive margin on Tuesday. Given the district’s partisan makeup, Bowman is sure to win in November.
Bowman has threatened aid to Israel, and has suggested using it as leverage to force Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians — regardless of the terrorist threats that Israel faces, or the danger of a belligerent Iran.
The RJC noted in a statement Wednesday:
The shift in the Democrat Party away from support for Israel accelerated dramatically yesterday with the primary defeat of 16-term incumbent Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel by Justice Democrats-endorsed challenger Jamaal Bowman in New York’s 16th congressional district.
Engel is a mainstream Democrat who has done a great deal for the US-Israel relationship as chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. Bowman, who was recruited and supported by Justice Democrats, has an extreme and dangerous agenda. He subscribes to the full list of radical and anti-Israel policies espoused by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, including support for the US rejoining the dangerous Iran nuclear deal and opposition to Israeli “settlements” in the “West Bank.” Bowman wants the US to use “financial leverage” to push Israel to make “peace” concessions to the Palestinians. His platform’s section on combating antisemitism focuses exclusively on “white nationalism” at a time when attacks on Jews in New York City, almost all perpetrated by non-whites, have soared. Given that NY-16 is an overwhelmingly Democrat district, Bowman will coast to victory in November.
Jewish Republicans have had plenty of disagreements with Rep. Engel during his 32 years in Congress, but his defeat is a blow to the historically bipartisan support for Israel in the US Congress. Rep. Engel’s primary loss to a far-Left anti-Israel extremist clearly shows that the GOP is the only solidly pro-Israel party – led by the most pro-Israel President in US history, Donald J. Trump.
Last year, when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who also serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, repeatedly used antisemitic language, Engel criticized her publicly for “invok[ing] the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money.’”
Now, Omar and other opponents of Israel within the Democratic Party will have the last laugh. She will remain on the committee, and his chairmanship will come to a swift end, whether or not Democrats retain the House in November.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.