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Jamaal Bowman Loses Bigly. Plus…

Eli Steele: ‘I feel lucky to be deaf.’ Noah Pollak on the pogrom on Pico Boulevard. And much more.

Why Eli Steele feels lucky to be deaf. The activists who want to channel the “Al-Aqsa Flood” at the RNC. Is the Manhattan Institute really MAGA? A pogrom on Pico Boulevard. The Biden official pushing to scrap age restrictions for transgender care. All that and much more in today’s Front Page from The Free Press.

But first, some news from Westchester County: 

Squad member Jamaal Bowman—who denied Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women on October 7 and has pushed 9/11 conspiracy theories—was ousted by George Latimer in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in New York’s Sixteenth Congressional District.

Latimer, the Westchester County executive backed by American Israel Public Affairs Committee—whose super PAC spent $15 million on the race, making this the priciest primary ever—held an almost twenty-point lead over Bowman, with more than 80 percent of the votes counted. 

Speaking to supporters at his victory party in White Plains, New York, last night, Latimer taunted Bowman’s frequent campaign refrain that the contest was between “the many and the money” by saying of his win: “This is the many of Westchester and the Bronx.” 

He now proceeds to the general election, where he is almost certain to win in the deep-blue district, which stretches from the Bronx into the northern NYC suburbs and is more than nine percent Jewish.

Latimer told The Free Press his victory is a sign that “grassroots Democrats of this district do not want identity politics; they want productive politics that get results.” 

If anything, Bowman will be remembered on Capitol Hill for setting off a fire alarm, forcing the evacuation of one of the House office buildings—and apparently lying about it. His reasons for doing so are still unclear. He claimed he was in a rush to cast a vote. Republicans charged that he was actually trying to delay it. Either way, the congressman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and paid a $1,000 fine. In December 2023, his House colleagues formally censured him, mostly along party lines.

Bowman rocketed to power in July 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and Black Lives Matter protests across the country, defeating Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, a prominent Israel supporter.

At the time, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez both supported Bowman, a former middle-school principal.

“He is exactly the kind of person that we need in Congress,” Warren said in an endorsement video, adding that, among other things, he had a plan for “rooting out systemic racism.”

His election—like that of his fellow Squad members and progressive district attorneys around the nation—was widely viewed as a sign of the ascendant progressive left. But last night’s defeat marks something of a correction.

Back in January, the rot began to show when J Street, the progressive Jewish organization that portrays itself as the left-wing alternative to AIPAC, pulled its endorsement of Bowman in response to his “framing and approach” to Hamas’s October 7 massacre in Israel.

As polls showed that Bowman would most definitely lose his seat, his campaign appearances became increasingly unhinged. In a profanity-laced speech in the Bronx on Sunday, Bowman framed his showdown with Latimer as a fight between big-money insiders and the people. “We are going to show fucking AIPAC the power of the motherfucking Bronx!” he declared.

As our colleague Eli Lake pointed out back in February, Bowman is not the only member of the Squad in trouble post–October 7.

Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, in St. Louis, who was also elected in 2020 and is under federal investigation for misuse of campaign funds, has been outraised by her challenger, Wesley Bell, a prosecutor. A February poll showed her trailing him by 22 points. That election is August 6. That same month Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, in Minnesota, also faces a tough challenge from a Minneapolis city council member who nearly beat her in 2022.

In his concession speech, Bowman blamed his defeat on AIPAC, telling supporters “We should be outraged when a super PAC of dark money can spend $20 million to brainwash people into believing something that isn’t true.” Bowman added: “We should be outraged when, unfortunately, some so-called Democrats are aligning themselves with radical, racist, right-wing Republicans.” 

But Michael Levinson, a Latimer supporter at the event, said the opposite was true, and that Bowman’s defeat shows a desire to return to the sensible middle.

“I think that this election sends a signal to the far left, which for too long has been given too loud a voice,” Levinson told The Free Press. “Most people are sick and tired of it, just as they’re tired of the far right.” 

The author and filmmaker Eli Steele was recently asked to appear on a podcast to talk about his latest documentary, ‘Killing America.’ But when he told the producer he was deaf and would need to lip-read during the recording, he was ghosted.

A friend asked Eli whether this made him angry. He said it didn’t. Why? “Deafness,” he explains in his piece for us today, “taught me early on that life is unfair.” 

Eli was born into a world of silence, and yet, he writes, “I still feel blessed: if I had been born a couple of decades earlier, in a different place, or with different parents, I would never have had the opportunity to speak at all, let alone to thousands of people.”

Read Eli’s account of his deafness and why his life is proof that “miraculous things happen when people help you to help yourself.”

  1. More and more of us are looking on the bright side. Either that or we’ve upped the Zoloft recently—at least according to this year’s Gallup “Negative Experience Index.” It’s the first time in ten years the score has fallen, with “experiences of stress, sadness, anger, worry, and physical pain each taking a downturn.” (Gallup

  2. Earlier this year it looked like UNRWA’s days might be numbered. Western and Arab nations pulled funding for the UN agency for Palestinians after its close links to Hamas were exposed, including by Hillel Neuer, who wrote about the agency’s terror ties for The Free Press. But UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini says the cash crunch is over. (Times of Israel

  3. Emmanuel Macron has warned that victory for the far-right National Rally party or the far-left bloc, France Unbowed, could spark “civil war.” Both groups are in front of his own centrist alliance in the polls ahead of the parliamentary vote that Macron himself called after European elections earlier this month. (Politico

  4. Joe Biden’s latest student debt forgiveness plan had a bad day in court Monday. Two Obama-appointed judges in federal district courts ruled against the plan in separate lawsuits, a fact that “makes it hard to argue the decisions were a result of ideological or partisan bias.” They’re also “a very bad sign for the administration’s chances of prevailing on appeal.” (Reason

  5. Hillary Clinton is the only person to have debated both Trump and Biden. In an op-ed for The New York Times, she offers some advice for Biden: “It is a waste of time to try to refute Mr. Trump’s arguments like in a normal debate.” Okay, but she’s also the only person to have lost to Trump. So should she be relied upon for debate strategy? (New York Times

  6. A look at the media consumption habits of UK voters isn’t exactly heartening. Here’s Zoya, 28: “Zoya had never heard of the Israel-Palestine dispute before [October 7]. . . Since then her social media feeds have been swamped with Gaza-related content and it has become one of her top political issues. This has undermined her trust in the BBC and Sky News, which she feels are pro-Israel. She prefers Instagram, TikTok, and clips from Al Jazeera as they provide her with pro-Palestine content, some of which is AI-generated.” (The Guardian)

  7. New York mayor Eric Adams is being probed by the FBI over the use of private email addresses and the disappearance of records relating to seven trips to China. Both the FBI and Manhattan prosecutors have reportedly flagged one trip, taken when Adams was Brooklyn Borough president, that was partly funded by the Chinese Communist Party. (New York Post)

  8. In a suitably eccentric final twist to the Assange story, the newly freed Australian Wikileaks founder has pleaded guilty as part of the deal on the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific. Reacting to the news of Assange’s release, Matt Taibbi takes the press to task for turning on Assange once he was targeted by the U.S. government. (Racket News)

  9. Speaking of New York mayors, Michael Bloomberg has joined the chorus of voices calling for a ban on phones in schools. Whether you agree with Jonathan Haidt that smartphones are the cause of a major mental health crisis among teens or just a time suck and a distraction in the classroom, this move is surely a no-brainer. (Bloomberg

  10. In the 1820s, British adventurer Gregor MacGregor almost tanked the British economy by selling off parcels of land in a fictional country in Central America. He claimed to be its king, and there was even a guidebook—and when his lie was exposed, he set off a financial panic in London. Sure, it was 200 years ago, but there are lessons for today. (Terra Nullius

On Sunday in Los Angeles, Noah Pollak loaded his kids into the car and headed to the Adas Torah synagogue. He was there for a event for those interested in purchasing real estate in Israel. Little did he know that anti-Israel activists had identified the synagogue as “THE BELLY OF THE BEAST.” What ensued outside the synagogue was a street fight, as activists attacked, bear-sprayed, harassed, and brawled with Jews up and down Pico Boulevard. Here’s what Noah saw.

On Sunday, a synagogue in the largest Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles hosted a small, privately advertised event for those interested in purchasing homes or second homes in Israel. “The Great Israeli Real Estate Event,” at Adas Torah synagogue wasn’t political and it had nothing to do with the Gaza war. But within moments of its noon start time, it became the backdrop to the worst antisemitic violence in Los Angeles since an attack on Jewish diners at a restaurant in 2021.

Over the course of several hours, with dozens of LAPD officers decked out in riot gear largely staying out of the fray, around 100 pro-Hamas activists attacked, bear-sprayed, harassed, and brawled with Jews up and down Pico Boulevard.

The police occasionally stepped in, but their main activity Sunday afternoon seemed to ensure that the activists were able to successfully shut down the front entrance to the synagogue, ruin the event, and harass Jews more or less with impunity. Dozens of video clips from Sunday afternoon have been posted online (a good roundup is here). The striking thing about the footage is that despite the significant police presence, there is scant footage of the police forcefully intervening in the numerous fistfights, brawls, and beatings.

Read on for Noah’s full account of the violence on the streets of Los Angeles.

→ EXCLUSIVE: Anti-RNC protesters plan to “create a little chaos”: On Monday, 63 activists from across the country joined a Zoom to discuss how to “create a little chaos on the streets of Milwaukee” when thousands of GOP leaders flock to the city for the Republican National Convention from July 15–18. Those are the words of Tom Burke, the Freedom Road Socialist organizer who led the meeting and said when participants come across Republicans next month, they should “get in their faces.” 

“It’s looking like Trump is going to win at this point,” said Burke, who the FBI investigated in 2010 for possible “material support of terrorism.” “But our protests can have an impact on things—we can really mess things up for these rich people, you know?”

Omar Flores, the spokesperson for the coalition of groups planning to protest the convention, March on RNC 2024, agreed that “it’s honestly not looking so hot for Biden” but said that’s all the more reason to turn out next month. 

“Seeing that Trump might get in, people will know that they can look to us as the real opposition to the Republicans,” he said. “Until we actually defeat the Republican agenda, they’re going to feel scared to show their faces anywhere.” 

A graduate philosophy student at Northwestern on the call asked for donations, saying that the coalition was going to need funds to buy a speaker system, print banners, and supply water bottles. In total, the group raised $845 by the time the more than 90-minute meeting wrapped. 

Liz Rathburn, a trans woman who’s also part of a lawsuit against the City of Chicago that seeks to obtain permits for an anti-DNC march, told the meeting, “Since the Al-Aqsa Flood [as Hamas refers to the October 7 attack], we have stayed with Palestine, and we’re going to bring that same message to the reactionary Republicans.” —Olivia Reingold 

→ ‘You have no idea how Soviet we really are’: It seems we jumped the gun with yesterday’s round up of all the responses to Niall Ferguson’s debut Free Press column, “We’re All Soviets Now.” After we closed The Front Page, The American Conservative’s Helen Andrews wrote what, for my money, is the most interesting response of the lot. Andrews called Niall’s column a “banger” (she’s right) and went on to argue that if anything, he is understating the case. The depth of the problem, Andrews argued, goes further than the data cited by Ferguson. “The essence of a late Soviet economy is not that the state plays a big role,” writes Andrews. “It is that the average citizen looks around and thinks, This can’t possibly continue forever. The whole system is fake and insane.Read her full response here. 

→ A Biden official pressured WPATH to remove age restrictions on gender care: The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has outsize influence on the medical care offered to children distressed about their gender. It shouldn’t. It’s not a medical or scientific organization, it’s an advocacy group. And in 2022, when it released its long-awaited revision of its treatment guidelines, including those for minors, the recommendations came as a shock. At the last minute, the group eliminated virtually all minimum age restrictions for receiving these life-altering medical and surgical interventions—interventions that, for example, could render patients sterile. How and why did such a thing happen? 

Now we know. 

A high-ranking Biden administration official, Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine, directly interfered with these supposedly evidence-based WPATH recommendations.

Levine, we learned this week from internal WPATH documents that are part of a civil suit, lobbied WPATH to eliminate age minimums for treatments—including surgeries. The documents, from a report by expert witness Dr. James Cantor, show that Levine’s chief of staff met with WPATH representatives, who reported that Levine was very concerned that “specific minimum ages for treatment” “based on the rhetoric she is hearing in D.C.” “will result in devastating legislation for trans care. She wonders if the specific ages can be taken out. . . ” (Cantor’s report also shows the American Academy of Pediatrics similarly pressured WPATH to remove minimum age recommendations.)

The documents, as reported by Jesse Singal, show WPATH officials acknowledged Levine’s request and said they would act accordingly. Levine, a transgender woman who transitioned in middle age, was also worried about bans and backlash that were coming regarding transitioning young people. So, as the documents show, she pressured WPATH to hurry and release the new standards of care, to get them out soon for the administration’s political advantage: “I have just spoken to Admiral Levine today, who—as always is extremely supportive of the [Standards of Care 8], but also very eager for its release—so to ensure integration in the US health policies of the Biden government. So, let’s crack on with the job!!!”

Levine frequently describes gender transition of young people as “lifesaving” and “medically necessary.” Now we see how she used her political influence to interfere in what was supposed to be an evidence-based undertaking. But she also hasn’t been consistent. Levine said that she’s grateful that transition was not available when she was a teenager. “If I had transitioned when I was young, then I wouldn’t have my children,” Levine said at a 2019 meeting of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. “I can’t imagine a life without my children.” —Lisa Selin Davis

→ Is the Manhattan Institute MAGA?: Yesterday, Bloomberg published a long look at all the ways in which the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research is shaping the conversation. It describes the growing influence the center-right, New York–based think tank is having on state-level lawmaking and national politics in areas ranging from gender and DEI to energy and higher education. 

About one thing, Bloomberg is correct: with Reihan Salam—one of the sharpest minds on the right—at the helm, the think tank is having a massive impact. But in a tedious display of the media’s determination to make everything about Donald Trump, all the strides MI is making are sold by Bloomberg as an attempt by Paul Singer—its chairman and major donor—to “pitch Wall Street’s own brand of MAGA.” We are told that the think tank is “projecting its own vision for Trump’s America.” And in a bizarre non sequitur, the piece notes that the think tank’s gala dinner was “three weeks before the landmark verdict in Trump’s hush-money trial.” Coincidence?! Well, yes. 

So what is this sinister Trumpist agenda uncovered by Bloomberg? The list includes: protecting meritocracy, tackling DEI, and pushing back on the medical scandal that is gender-affirming care for minors. Things get only more controversial from there: Bloomberg reports that on immigration, MI “has suggested laws designed to encourage immigration for highly skilled people instead of those with fewer skills or people seeking to join their families.” Other outlandish ideas that MI has championed include letting people choose where they send their children to school. That’s right, school choice—a cause that such radicals as Cory Booker and Michael Bloomberg himself passionately support

What’s the upshot of all of this? Well, normal conservative—dare we say, even, good—ideas are labeled “MAGA.” That’s good for absolutely no one.

Jessica recommends listening to her favorite band, Hanson, and maybe attending one of their shows this fall: Hear me out. Hanson (as in “MMMBop”) never stopped making music. They just created their own music label (3CG Records) and have been pumping out music nonstop. They have a beer company, 15 children between the three of them (all with their original wives), and they host a yearly music festival, Hanson Day, in their hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that brings in fans from all over the world. Also, Taylor is on the 2024–2025 Grammy Board of Trustees and founded Food on the Move

Gracia recommends celebrating the Fourth of July with a classic bike parade: It’s how our neighborhood celebrates. Kids decorate their bikes. We hand out Popsicles. The elderly neighbors watch from windows or set up shop on their driveways. Good, cheap fun bringing the whole neighborhood together. 

What do you recommend? Let us know at

Oliver Wiseman is a writer and editor for The Free Press. Follow him on X @ollywiseman

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