Local elected officials representing Southern Brooklyn communities, joined by former Mayor Ed Koch, stood before the Museum of Jewish Heritage yesterday morning to denounce Brooklyn City Councilmember Charles Barron as an anti-Semite, and urged voters to ensure defeat for Barron’s attempt to become a congressman.
Barron is competing against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries in a June 26 primary. The winner will be the Democratic candidate in the November election for the congressional seat currently occupied by Ed Towns, who is retiring.
Because of redistricting, the current 10th Congressional District will become the 8th District and move further south, covering neighborhoods including parts of Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Mill Basin and Bergen Beach. With an area so densely populated by Jewish residents, Koch end the local elected are urging voters to show up on June 26 and stop a candidate they say has pushed an extreme anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agenda.
“A candidate for the United States House of Representatives should be a person for all the people, and uniformly represent every member of their community, regardless of the color of their skin or their religious affiliation,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, who was at the event. “I want to go on record as stating that I have serious concerns over the qualifications of an individual running for elected office, who has consistently proven himself to not only be biased and inflammatory, but who has also been a strong voice in attempting to rewrite the most horrific atrocity in modern history.”
Cymbrowitz was joined by Councilmembers Michael Nelson and David Greenfield, Assemblymembers Helene Weinstein and Dov Hikind, Congressman Jerrold Nadler and former Mayor Ed Koch.
“There is no place for hate in Congress. The individual who is victorious in this race will be representing one of this nation’s largest populations of Holocaust survivors and should not be a person who has stated that the Holocaust never occurred,” Cymbrowitz stated.
The speakers at the event seized on numerous statements made by Barron throughout his career, including the East New York representative’s telling a crowd during remarks on reparations that, “I want to go up to the closest white person and say, ‘You can’t understand this, it’s a black thing’ and then slap him, just for my mental health,” and his comparison of Palestinian territories in Gaza to an Israeli version of concentration camps.
Barron has also praised African dictators that have made America’s list of enemies, including Muammar Gaddafi and Robert Mugabe.
“I can only imagine what he thinks of [Bashar] Assad of Syria, who has murdered 12,000 of his own people,” Hikind said at the event. “He probably thinks Assad is a great hero. He probably thinks Assad is a civil rights leader.”
Following the event, City & State reporters decided to put that question to Barron.
Barron started to answer but then cut himself off, saying that he was more concerned about Africa – and that he would not be distracted from more pressing local issues like foreclosure, unemployment and crime. “Look at Sudan, look at Congo, look at those places where more people are dying than they’re dying in Syria,” Barron said. “But you want me to talk about Syria because it’s a hot-button issue and you want to see if I’m going to be for a dictator or something.”
Video courtesy of Yeshiva World News. Nelson and Cymbrowitz begin speaking at the 16-minute mark.