Column: More Malignant Than Any Mikado

Column: More Malignant Than Any Mikado

“I didn’t want my ‘no’ vote to be misinterpreted as ‘I want Jews to be killed”’

S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, soon to be ousted?

    PHILADELPHIA – They are both topsy-turvy antics that would readily inspire playwright William S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan, especially the ludicrous English tale.

    From Yonkers, N.Y., U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowen takes confusing stands on Israel while, across the pond, Britain’s Labour Party promises to recognize a Palestinian state if it returns to power in Parliament.

    Anti-Israel activists have established political assemblages in America, Britain and elsewhere to foist the so-called Palestinian cause on their governments. Far-left Democrats have already influenced their party on Middle East issues.

    Bowman is among a dozen (out of 435) members of the House of Representatives who maintain a slight grip on the Democratic Party because they represent, on an ideological level, a large amount of voters in the six swing states who oppose Israel’s existence or genuinely believe that Israel is usually wrong.

    Next Tuesday, Bowman will face the more moderate challenger George Latimer in the Democratic primary to represent parts of the Bronx and Westchester County. The pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee has spent $3 million a week on behalf of Latimer’s nomination.

    On July 4, of all days, the British will elect a new Parliament, pitting Labour against the Conservatives who now control the body plus other parties.

    What happened in New York and London, nearly 3,500 miles apart, signal that these people are dangerous, moreso than they have shown themselves to be. They have committed many dreadful acts already that makes them appear to serve as a fifth column for Israel’s enemies. Bowman along with other members of Congress and Labour members are trying to manipulate both governments.

    A private video emerged in which Bowman told the Democratic Socialists of America on May 26 that he never actually allowed his membership to lapse after the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, The New York Times reports. When the assault occurred, Bowman denounced a rally in which some DSA members praised Hamas’ invasion that took 1,200 lives.

    “I’m still a member,” Bowman said in the video. “I didn’t let my dues lapse.”

    However, his office claimed he ceased paying dues in 2021 or 2022, and now DSA is allowing him to rejoin, even retroactively. DSA leader Jeremy Cohan said that Bowman agreed to rejoin and begin paying dues, according to the Times article, published on June 11.

    It is bothersome enough that Bowman is offering different versions of his relationship with DSA, but the fact is that Bowman is joining a group whose members glorified the Oct. 7 massacre.

    What stands out in the Times piece is his reason for voting to fund Israel’s defensive Iron Dome system. He told DSA that he wanted to reassure Jewish constituents in his newly-drawn district that “I didn’t want my vote to be misinterpreted as ‘I want Jews to be killed.’”

    Does this mean he no longer cares if Jews interpret his votes to mean “I want Jews to be killed”?

    The southern Westchester portion of his district is home to one of the largest suburban Jewish populations in the country. Bowman describes it as a “large Jewish population, large Zionist population, large pro-Israel population, large AIPAC population.”

    Referring to civilian deaths in Gaza, Bowman is quoted in the Times to say in the video, “Now, there’s no way I could support any of that, because there’s a genocide happening in Gaza.”

    Just when British Jews thought it was safe to vote Labour in the July 4 parliamentary elections, Hamas found a new best friend on the island that gave us Shakespeare, Gilbert and Sullivan and the Beatles.

    For literary reasons, William S. Gilbert would love Labour’s twisted pledge to recognize a Palestinian state even more than the political grave that Bowman has dug for himself. The Jewish Chronicle of London reports that Labour’s new policy document declares:

    “Palestinian statehood is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people. It is not in the gift of any neighbour and is also essential to the long-term security of Israel.

    “We are committed to recognizing a Palestinian state as a contribution to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign state.”

    Gilbert exulted in satirizing British politics with the scripts he wrote for “The Mikado,” “The Pirates of Penzance” and other operettas that he collaborated on with Arthur S. Sullivan, who composed the music. Gilbert’s absurdist plots were described as topsy-turvy, the title for director Mike Leigh’s 1999 movie “Topsy-Turvy” that recounts the threatened split of Gilbert and Sullivan.

    A plot to relish: An established liberal political party that turned out Winston Churchill as prime minister soon after he led England to victory in World War II, and whose leader at the turn of this century, Tony Blair, was a popular prime minister for most of his tenure, came to resemble Hitler’s Gestapo after 2015.

    Liberal Jews lost a political home during Jeremy Corbyn’s five-year reign as Labour Party leader. Many officers and members were accused of excessive antisemitic offenses. When attorney Keir Starmer replaced Corbyn as Labour leader in 2020, he promised to root out antisemitism in the party. He ultimately eradicated much of the antisemitism and won back the trust of many Jewish voters.

    Labour benefits from renewed Jewish support along with extensive missteps and scandals by the Conservatives. Starmer’s party is well-positioned to return to power.

    After all that work, Labour now pledges to recognize a Palestinian state before “a renewed peace process” would proceed – a move that would swiftly antagonize many Jewish voters, not to mention many non-Jewish Brits who were alienated by Starmer’s predecessor. Labour’s pledge follows recognition by the less influential nations of Spain, Norway and Ireland.

    Labour’s brief statement is packed with assumptions. Who says that statehood is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people? A two-state solution would make sense for Israel because the Palestinians happen to live in Gaza and the West Bank and they will be difficult for Israel to govern.

    How can Labour be sure that a two-state solution is “essential” to Israel’s long-term security? Allowing an independent state is a substantial risk for Israelis. If Labour needs to know why, they can look no further than southern Israel where Palestinian gangs from Gaza smashed through the border and slaughtered 1,200 Israelis on Oct. 7. What will stop them from repeating this invasion if Gaza and/or the West Bank is officially recognized as a state?

    To prematurely recognize an independent state misses the point of negotiations. What does a peace process matter if major powers stack the deck before Israel can consider an agreement?

    With William S. Gilbert long gone, I cannot think of any Brits who might expertly spoof today’s crazy politics. Perhaps we can turn to Mel Brooks or Larry David.

    About Bruce Ticker

    Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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    One comment

    1. Religion is a cult

      If you are conflating support for Palestinians with support for Hamas, you aren't being honest. Anti-Zionism isn't anti-Semitism. The Palestinian people deserve a right to exist and to have autonomy, just like any other human being. No human is better than another, so get over yourselves and stop the slaughter!

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