NY City Council Asks: 'Jew Representing NYC?'

A NY City Council hopeful asks constituents: “A White/Jewish City Council Member representing Upper Manhattan?”

Rachel Hirshfeld,

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ultra orthodox Jewish man and secular woman o
Flash 90

A candidate for a position on New York City’s 7th Council District said he opposed to the candidacy of his Jewish opponent, whom he referred to a “White/Jewish candidate”, because he was trying “to sneak into office like a thief in the night.”

City Council hopeful Thomas Lopez-Pierre wrote an e-mail to the members of the Douglass Grant Democratic Club, stating his opposition to rival Mark Levine.

The subject line of the e-mail: “A White/Jewish City Council Member representing Upper Manhattan?”

In an interview with The Jewish Week, Lopez-Pierre, an African American, maintained, "I don’t hate Jews; I love black people. I love political empowerment. … A black person has represented the district for many years, and we don’t want to see the black and Latino caucus be minus one."

“I don’t want a councilman that represents all the people; I want a councilman who represents my community,” he said during the interview, adding that the 7th District is located in upper Manhattan, which he says has a 70 percent minority population.

“They said those Jews are gonna lynch you,” Lopez-Pierre told The Jewish Week. “But because I work for myself, I don’t have to answer to anyone…”

While Lopez-Pierre said he would support a white candidate whom he felt represented issues important to blacks and Latinos, he did not feel Levine would be such a person.

When asked why he did not highlight issues, other than race or religion, in his e-mail Lopez-Pierre said, “So that the media would call me and I could get the message out.”

Ron Meier, New York director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Jewish Week that, “introducing race and religion into a city council election as a stand-in for qualifications is offensive to all voters in the district and offensive to the democratic process.”

In an interview last week, Levine noted that he had a long history of involvement in the community. “I built a nonprofit community credit union with 4,000 members, 90 percent of whom are Latino or African American… “I’m completely bilingual and comfortable campaigning in Spanish, as I have done in the past,” he said.

Levine did not indulge his opponent in a lengthy response, but simply said that the remarks were “so outrageous they don’t even merit a response.”

Lopez-Pierre, who has come under harsh public scrutiny in the past, is “best known for his racially and sexually charged rhetoric,” The Columbia Spectator reported.

According to The New York Times, his previous contributions to the Harlem community include running a private social club for blacks and Latinos, which women could only join as “associate” members, conditioned upon them being “35 or younger, unmarried, childless, college educated and willing to submit a head-to-toe photograph, to prevent unattractive women from making the cut.”