Yesterday, the New York City 44th district Councilman Kalman Yeger tweeted a string of racist and anti-Palestinian attacks against the Palestinian nation and community here in New York. Specifically, he tweeted that “Palestine does not exist. There, I said it again. Also, Congresswoman Omar is an antisemite.” Yeger represents neighborhoods with large Palestinian populations in Brooklyn including Bensonhurst, Kensington, Borough Park, among others.
This absurd lie was rejected by communities all over this city, including the Mayor’s office and Yeger’s colleagues in the City Council. This is not the first time that Yeger has spewed such filth, having rejected the existence of the Palestinian nation in numerous tweets within the last year, and referring to Palestinians as “so-called ‘Palestinians’”. These remarks come on the heels of the one-year anniversary of the historic Great March of Return in Palestine, in which over 250 Palestinians have been killed and tens of thousands have been injured by live ammunition and tear gas. They come only days after the provocative Israeli escalation in Gaza where numerous buildings were bombed by israeli warplanes. As Palestinian New Yorkers, we will not accept such flagrant disrespect and vitriol to the martyrs of Palestine and we demand an immediate sanctioning of Councilman Yeger by City Council.
We are not blind to the fact that while Yeger is particularly explicit in his racist Zionism, he shares this position with bigots such as the New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a former member of the terrorist organization the Jewish Defense League and many others in the political establishment throughout this country. Moreover, while the New York City Council pays lip service to the Palestinian community in denouncing Yeger, their condemnation is clearly hypocritical and self-serving. When City Council goes on paid hasbara junkets to occupied Palestine, condemns BDS, and constantly attacks Palestinian students for advocating for their homeland, they are engaging in the same sort of anti-Palestinian rhetoric as the councilman they are condemning.
If the New York City Council wants to send a message to the Palestinian community that they are genuine in their condemnation of Kalman Yeger’s racism, they should immediately remove him from the New York City Council Immigration Committee. We demand that he be removed as such a racist politician has no place in determining the city policies impacting immigrants and refugees, of which Palestinians are a significant number. And to Councilman Yeger directly, we know that your comments come out of your knowledge that the tide is turning. The movement for Palestine has reached even the top levels of government and continues to grow day after day. One day, it will even reach the NYC Council. We demand that you immediately apologize to the Palestinian community of this city, resign from the Immigration Committee and take steps to educate yourself and your constituency about the historic crime of the theft of Palestine. Otherwise, you have no place in our city, much less as a representative of it.
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