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How the Engel, Omar primaries became proxy wars over Israel

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel and freshman Ilhan Omar are fending off Democratic primary challengers backed by the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel wings of the party.
U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) greets campaign volunteers for Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RC2ARE9735J8

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., risks losing his seat in the New York Democratic primary next week after a 31-year tenure in Congress. And while freshman committee member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is expected to win her August primary, she won the endorsement of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer Labor Party with only 65% of the delegates. The other 31% of delegates backed her pro-Israel challenger.

The Engel and Omar primaries have become two of the most closely watched races in a series of intraparty proxy wars playing out between the party’s pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian factions in House districts across the country.

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