"The Squad" Faces Pro-Israel Primary Challengers in 2024

Progressives’ views on Israel could cost them congressional seats

What’s happening: Several members of “the Squad” — a group of far-left congressional Democrats — will face primary challenges from more pro-Israel Democrats in 2024. The members include Reps. Jamaal Bowman (NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Summer Lee (D-PA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Why it matters: The Israel-Hamas war could weaken the Democratic Party by splitting radical progressives from their more centrist colleagues. Ousting the Squad from Congress would be a significant loss of power for the progressive bloc.

The strategy: Several progressive Squad members represent districts with large Jewish communities. Their primary challengers recognize this, elevating Israel policy as a top campaign issue in their announcements.

  • Examples: Bush’s challenger dropped his Senate bid to run against her, citing her anti-Israel stance as a reason. Rep. Lee, who represents large numbers of Jews in Pittsburgh, was called out by her Democratic challenger for spreading Hamas’ fake story that Israel bombed a Gaza hospital.

  • Strong backing: Pro-Israel lobbyists have been aggressively working to unseat the Squad, already airing attack ads. They are expected to spend tens of millions of dollars on primary challengers in 2024.

On the other hand: Though support for Israel is popular across the aisle, Squad members will still have the backing of many Gen Z voters. Around half of this demographic supports the Palestinians, according to polling. It’s also true that Democratic primary voters are usually more progressive than general election voters.