Open Letter From Westchester Jewish Council to Congressman Jamaal Bowman

An open letter regarding the withdrawal as a co-sponsor of the Israel Relations Normalization Act.

February 28, 2022

Open Letter From Westchester Jewish Council to Congressman Jamaal Bowman

The Honorable Jamaal Bowman, House of Representatives

Dear Mr. Bowman:

The Westchester Jewish Council ("WJC") is, as you know, the community relations umbrella group representing 131 Jewish organizations in Westchester County and parts of Putnam County. We are dismayed and, quite frankly, shocked by your about-face and withdrawal as a co-sponsor of the Israel Relations Normalization Act (the "Act"). The Act seeks to build on the burgeoning ties between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors in the region and will improve the prospects for peace and prosperity for all-Christians, Jews and Muslims- in the region. Indeed, one of the stated purposes of the Act is "to continue to support a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states—a democratic Jewish state of Israel and a viable democratic Palestinian state—living side by side in peace, security, and mutual recognition." Are you not interested in promoting peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East?

In your letter to your constituents, you cite "your experience on the ground and further conversations with constituents" as the factors which led you to your decision. We respectfully ask: what experience and which constituents" in the 16th CD caused your about-face? Did you consult with us or with anyof the professional or volunteer leaders of our 131 organizations? Did you reach out to respected Jewish community leaders in the 16th CD to get their input? Did you reach out to anyone before, or only after, you realized that the Act enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the House (even without your vote) and Senate and would easily pass both Chambers? Was there a groundswell of opinion in the 16th CD suggesting that withdrawing your support for the Act would be the proper course of action? It is hard for us to imagine that the fine, hard-working and upstanding residents of the 16th CD are against peace and prosperity for all in the Middle East. It is difficult for us to imagine that the interests of the people you represent would be better-served by your voting against the Act. It is time, in the words of the old anti-war rallying cry to "give peace a chance."


Please, Mr. Bowman, reconsider again and add your vote to the votes of hundreds of your colleagues in the House (on both sides of the aisle) who want to lead the way to a brighter future for all who seek peace and prosperity in the Middle East.


Very truly yours,

William H. Schrag, President
Elliot Forchheimer, Chief Executive Officer