Leading New York Rabbi Criticizes Democrat Bowman for ‘Outrageous Allegations’ That Israel Is Withholding Vaccine From Palestinians
After trading public letters during a heated 2020 primary campaign, prominent New York rabbi Avi Weiss addressed new concerns Tuesday to newly elected Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who recently joined House Democratic colleagues like Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Joaquin Castro in blaming Israel for not vaccinating Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
“The Palestinian government is party to the Oslo Agreement, which in Article 17 declares that it is responsible for the health of its citizens,” Weiss wrote. “When considering that just two years ago the Palestinian Authority allocated $330 million dollars to the families of terrorists, money that could have covered the cost of vaccines for all of their people – they bear responsibility.”
Bowman, who last year defeated 16-term Elliot Engel to represent New York’s 16th Congressional district, tweeted Sunday in support of Rep. Castro’s (D-TX) claim that the Israeli government was denying the vaccine to Palestinians.
“Netanyahu must ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians have access to the Covid vaccine,” Bowman wrote. “This cruelty is another reminder of why the occupation must end.”
Netanyahu must ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians have access to the Covid vaccine.
This cruelty is another reminder of why the occupation must end. https://t.co/On28F0D0XU
— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) January 24, 2021
Weiss published an open letter to Bowman in The Algemeiner during his 2020 primary campaign against Engel, a longtime pro-Israel voice in the House who served as chairman of its Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Countless Riverdalians now live in Israel, including my daughter and her family,” wrote Weiss, who runs the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in the congressman’s district. “Some live in the town of Efrat, just south of Jerusalem, in Gush Etzion. In the center of Gush Etzion, many, including Ezra Schwartz, a teenager from Boston, were viciously murdered by Palestinian terrorists.”
Bowman replied with an open letter of his own, citing his opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and a commitment to the “two-state solution and peace, security and freedom for both the Israeli and Palestinian people.”
In response, Weiss praised the congressman’s “respectfulness” and “commitment to racial harmony and justice for all,” but said he was “more concerned than ever” about the latter’s views on the Palestinian Authority and on left-wing hostility towards Israel.
Bowman and Castro’s claims on Israel’s vaccine policy followed similar accusations last week from Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who called the country a “racist state.”