Jamaal Bowman’s Campaign Threatens Defamation Lawsuit Over False Accusation of Hamas Funding

City & State NY reported that the campaign for Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y) is considering a defamation lawsuit against his opponent, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, over an accusation that Bowman received money from Hamas. A lawyer representing the Bowman campaign sent a letter to the Latimer campaign demanding a retraction of the false accusation. The letter states that the accusation is a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and could be considered defamation.

According to the Black Westchester magazine, Latimer made the accusation while speaking at an event where he was questioned about his relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The woman questioning Latimer expressed concern over AIPAC’s support for right-wing Republicans and accused Latimer of “taking money from the devil.” In response, Latimer claimed that Bowman was also receiving money from Hamas.

AIPAC was a major donor to Latimer’s campaign, contributing $600,000 in the last quarter of 2023. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Hamas donated to Bowman’s campaign. Latimer reportedly emailed the woman an article from the Washington Free Beacon, which detailed a fundraiser for Bowman and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) hosted by left-wing activists critical of Israel. The article did not mention any donations from Hamas.

In response to the letter from Bowman’s attorney, Latimer’s campaign dismissed the threat of a lawsuit as a “baseless attack.” The campaign claimed that Bowman had accepted support from individuals who cheered on and justified Hamas’ acts of terrorism.

Bowman, who represents parts of Westchester and the Bronx, is facing a primary challenge from Latimer as he seeks re-election. This lawsuit threat adds another layer of tension to their campaign.