NY congressional primary race exposes Democratic Party rifts over Gaza, role of big money

The Democratic primary race in New York's 16th congressional district between incumbent Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Westchester County Executive George Latimer is revealing deep rifts within the party over US policy on Gaza. The race has been dominated by allegations of disinformation, race-baiting and questions about the role of big money. Voting is underway Tuesday in what is now the most expensive US primary race ever.

Four years ago, Bowman toppled 16-term Rep. Eliot Engel, one of the most staunch supporters of Israel in US government, in New York's Democratic primary for the 16th district. Now up for re-election, Bowman's fighting for his political life, largely over to his calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Bowman, 48, a former middle school principal turned progressive politician, is famously a member of "The Squad", an unofficial group of nine of the most progressive and most-watched Democratic members of Congress.

In the autumn, pro-Israel groups encouraged Westchester County Executive George Latimer, 70, to challenge Bowman for New York’s 16th Congressional district – which covers working class parts of the Bronx as well as wealthy suburbs in Westchester. Latimer refuses to criticise Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, putting him to the right of US President Joe Biden.

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