Many people celebrated the defeat of Eliot Engel by progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman in the New York primary. That seat hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1949, so the primary is effectively the election. Bowman’s victory was a political earthquake in many ways, but one of the most important is that Engel is the chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. His hawkish positions were one reason he lost–albeit, far from the biggest one–so progressives are hoping a new day will dawn for foreign policy in the House Democratic caucus, especially on Middle East policy.
At Responsible Statecraft today, I look at the race to replace Engel as HFAC chair. I examine the three candidates for the job, Brad Sherman of California, Joaquin Castro of Texas, and Gregory Meeks of New York. I examine the race in light of a letter sent by five pro-Israel, pro-peace groups–J Street, Americans for Peace Now, Partners for Progressive Israel, Ameinu, and Habonim Dror –calling for a considerably less hawkish chairperson than Engel was.