City Councilman Kalman Yeger created the hullabaloo on Wednesday with a tweet saying “Palestine does not exist. There, I said it again. Also, Congresswoman Omar is an anti-Semite. Said that too.” Yeger, who was taken to task last year for similar remarks in a Bklyner article (http://bit.ly/2TLSaKs) by journalist Zainab Iqbal, finished his tweet by thanking Iqbal for following him on Twitter.
A rally to protest Yeger’s remarks is called for 6 PM this evening at the councilman’s office at 4424 16th Ave in the heart of Borough Park. Among those supporting the protest are Bay Ridge for Social Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace, Black Lives Matter Brooklyn, South Brooklyn Democratic Socialists of America, NYC Democratic Socialists of America, New York Progressive Action Network, Union of Arab Women and Yalla Brooklyn.
Linda Sarsour, who is expected to be at the rally, tweeted her thoughts yesterday on Yeger’s comments noting, “This is an irresponsibly, bigoted and dangerous tweet from a NYC Councilman. I hope @NYCCouncil & NYCSpeakerCoJo take action. There’s no place for this kind of hate in our city government.”
Former Assemblyman Dov Hikind took to Twitter to announce another gathering scheduled 15 minutes earlier at the same location saying, “COME OUT TO COUNTER-PROTEST AGAINST ANTISEMITE LINDA SARSOUR WHO’S TRYING TO CHARACTER-ASSASSINATE COUNCILMAN KALMAN YEGER.” A second tweet by Hikind said that he had spoken with Yeger who said that he had been receiving death threats.
Yeger did not respond to multiple requests for comment from VIN News.
As of this afternoon, Yeger’s tweet had been retweeted approximately 2,000 times and drew nearly 8,000 likes. Among the approximately 5,000 comments on Yeger’s tweet was one that advised “I see him all the time. I know his favorite sandwich shop. I can follow him for a mile and he would have no idea. Probably wouldn’t be tough to find his home. Or his family. I’ll say hi next time, Kalman.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer pulled no punches with his criticism tweeting, “I condemn this irresponsible and divisive rhetoric unequivocally. We will only achieve peace if we acknowledge each other’s inherent dignity. Council Member @KalmanYeger should apologize now.”
Speaking at a press conference today, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for Yeger to be removed from the council’s immigration committee, reported AM New York (http://bit.ly/2TF9GzY).
“My personal viewpoint is those comments make me uncomfortable with having someone with those viewpoints on a committee that’s supposed to work with immigrants,” said Johnson.
As of Thursday afternoon, Yeger was still standing by his remarks saying, “What I said was truthful.”