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‘Challenge AIPAC’: The Audacity of Jamaal Bowman

Cynthia Nixon talks to a defiant NY Congressman about his upcoming election, in the latest ‘Stage Left’

“I represent working class, Black man, person-of-color progressive, who has the audacity to challenge AIPAC and say no to AIPAC. If we're able to win, that empowers millions to do the same.”  

- Congressman Jamaal Bowman on his upcoming primary

In this episode of ‘Stage Left,’ Cynthia Nixon sits down with Congressman Jamaal Bowman in his campaign office to discuss his upcoming primary in New York’s 16th Congressional District. 

Bowman’s race has garnered national attention, as the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC is expected to spend up to $25 million trying to unseat Bowman. Meanwhile, GOP mega donors have been holding fundraisers for his centrist opponent George Latimer, as they try to rid Congress of one of its most progressive members.

Since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza, Bowman has become one of Congress’s most vocal critics of Israel’s war, calling for an immediate ceasefire as early as October 16th. 

“The fact that we're not moving with that sense of urgency, the fact that we've invited Benjamin Netanyahu here to address a joint session of Congress – I'm in complete horror and disbelief,” Bowman told Nixon. 

Bowman’s criticism of Israel has not come without a price. Earlier this month, his former colleague Mondaire Jones – who made history with Bowman back in 2020 when they both became the first Black congressmen to represent Westchester County – endorsed Bowman’s opponent, accusing Bowman of sowing “pain and anxiety” among his Jewish constituents. 

“He [Jones] did it for political reasons. He’s trying to win a race in New York 17, and so I guess he feels that doing this will help him to win,” Bowman said, when asked about Jones dropping his support for him. “It's just an example of how trash politics has become, because politics isn't about the people. It's about the money and the power.”

In their advertisements, AIPAC has accused Bowman of pushing antisemitic, “lies and conspiracy theories.” When asked what he would say to his Jewish constituents, Bowman told Nixon, “I’m not antisemitic.”

“I support Israel's right to exist. I support a two state solution, but Israel has to follow international law,” Bowman said. “There's already been children who’ve starved to death [in Gaza]. And the Jewish constituents that I know don't want this.”

Watch the full discussion to hear more about what’s at stake for New York’s 16th Congressional District, the type of legislation Bowman is introducing in Congress, and what Bowman says to young people who are weary of voting for Biden this time around.

‘Stage Left’ is hosted by award-winning actor and progressive advocate Cynthia Nixon, where she covers pivotal issues facing New York and the U.S. in this election year. 

Stage Left with Cynthia Nixon
Award-winning actor and progressive advocate Cynthia Nixon covers the most pivotal issues facing the U.S. in this election year.