WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rep. Jamaal Bowman, the progressive New York Democrat, condemned a memo from his office that referred to Republicans as Nazis.
House Republicans have launched efforts to punish Bowman for setting off a fire alarm in the U.S. Capitol over the weekend during last-minute negotiations over a pending government shutdown. In response, according to Politico, Bowman’s staff sent a set of talking points to other Democrats that recommended they say, “Republicans need to instead focus their energy on the Nazi members of their party before anything else.”
Bowman wrote on social media that he did not approve of that language.
“I just became aware that in our messaging guidance, there was inappropriate use of the term Nazi without my consent,” Bowman said Monday on X, the platform once known as Twitter. “I condemn the use of the term Nazi out of its precise definition. It is important to specify the term Nazi to refer to members of the Nazi party & neo-Nazis.”
Bowman said setting off the fire alarm was an accident he made as he was rushing to the U.S. House of Representatives floor to vote on keeping the government open. Republicans believe he set off the alarm to delay the vote until Democrats could fully read a Republican-led bill.
The Anti-Defamation League welcomed Bowman’s condemnation. “Trivializing the Holocaust by making inappropriate Nazi comparisons is unacceptable,” it said on X.” Members of Congress have a unique responsibility to show leadership and restraint, and @RepBowman was correct in apologizing for this offensive guidance.”
Bowman is a member of the “Squad,” the group of six Democrats who have championed a raft of staunchly progressive policies, and who have been stridently critical of Israel. He was elected to Congress in 2020 after defeating a long-term Democratic pro-Israel incumbent, Eliot Engel, in a primary, but was relatively cautious on Israel policy in a district that at the time was substantially Jewish. Bowman lost Jewish constituents in the 2022 redistricting. He has since become more outspoken in his criticism of Israel.