Mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner was attacked by Democratic lawmakers over a campaign contribution made from a lawyer who has lobbied for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network. The New York Post is reporting that Councilman Lew Fidler and Assemblyman Alan Maisel have urged Weiner to return the contribution, indicating that the money is tainted by enemies of America and Israel.
The donation, which totaled $4,950, was made by John Merrigan, a lawyer and lobbyist for Al Jazeera. The local pols argue that Al Jazeera is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, and to accept the contribution would be a slap in the face to Jewish voters.
“Al Jazeera and its lobbyists are no friends to New York City or our Jewish community, and Anthony shouldn’t accept their support,” Fidler told the Post. “They have spread hate and lies against Jews, not only here in New York but across the world. The right thing to do is to give this money back. Anthony should do exactly that.”
Maisel echoed Fidler’s remarks.
“Anthony Weiner should know better than to accept contributions from friends [at] Al Jazeera, which has been a voice for terrorists and spewed hatred against Jews and the state of Israel,” Maisel said. “They have echoed and attempted to legitimize hate speech about wiping Israel off the map. It’s disgraceful.
Fidler and Maisel are both deeply entrenched in the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club, a Southern Brooklyn stronghold that is backing former Comptroller Bill Thompson in the mayoral race. Frank Seddio, who heads the club, is also the county chairman for the Kings County Democratic Party, which has also endorsed Thompson. Thompson, along with many of Weiner’s rivals in the mayoral race, is doggedly pursuing Jewish voters in Brooklyn, from whom Weiner is expected to have an advantage as the only Jewish candidate in the race and a hawkish, pro-Israel track record during his time in Congress.
While Weiner did not respond to the Post article directly, according to a report by the Jewish Press, he did comment on the donation during an interview on Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s radio show. Weiner, who is the only Jewish candidate in the race, accused the Thompson campaign of smearing him and laughed off the notion that he is anti-Israel.
“It is funny, last week I was hit for being too hawkish on Israel and this week I being hit for being too close to Al-Jazeera,” Weiner said.
The Jewish Press went on to describe the extent of Weiner’s relationship with Merrigan as well as Weiner’s belief that by accepting the donation, he is not supporting Al Jazeera:
Mr. Weiner went on to defend himself for accepting the contribution saying Merrigan is a partner in DLA Piper – a state law firm that advocates for the Democratic Party’s causes.
“I’ve never met the man. I guess what Mr. Thompson’s supporters are saying this because he represented Al-Jazeera America… that somehow I’m supporting Al-Jazeera.” Mr. Weiner said, adding, “I’m not a supporter of Al-Jazeera. I’m not taking money from Al-Jazeera. This makes me smile but this is what happens, I guess, you start doing well.. old politics kick in.. People want to sell you up a bit to slow your momentum.”