Dov Hikind
Dov Hikind Flash 90

Former Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind lambasted senior New York City Democrats Monday evening, over their decision to strip a city councilman of his committee seat after he tweeted that “Palestine does not exist”.

Kalman Yeger, a Democrat who represents a largely Jewish district in Brooklyn, was removed from the New York City Council’s immigration committee Monday, after he refused to apologize for a tweet last week in which he wrote that “Palestine does not exist”.

“Palestine does not exist. There, I said it again. Also, Congresswoman Omar is an antisemite. Said that too. Thanks for following me,” Yeger tweeted on March 27th.

The tweet drew criticism from city officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, and led to protests outside of Yeger’s Boro Park office.

Mayor de Blasio issued an ultimatum, threatening to have Yeger stripped of his committee seat unless he apologized for the tweet.

“If you’re asking my personal opinion, yeah, I think someone who has the ability to say that about Palestinian people by definition should not be on the Immigration Committee,” the mayor said on WNYC radio.

"Now, if he comes out and he apologizes, and says, ‘Look, I was wrong and I realize what I did was hurtful and I’ve got to change,’ different discussion. But if he’s not going to apologize, he shouldn’t be on that committee,” de Blasio added.

On Monday, after Yeger refused to apologize, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that Yeger would not be permitted to serve on the city’s immigration committee.

Following Johnson’s announcement, former State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represented Brooklyn’s 48th district for 36 years before he left office at the end of 2018, issued a statement condemning Johnson and New York City Democratic leaders for Yeger’s removal.

Hikind accused New York City Democrats of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism within their own party – citing recent statements by Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar – while punishing Yeger for stating a “historical fact”.

“It’s a dark and sad day for the entire city, but certainly for the Jewish community, not just here, but throughout the country where this will reverberate,” said Hikind.

“Democrats, in this case led by Corey Johnson, are sending a clear message to Jews: Ilhan Omar’s boldfaced anti-Semitism and use of Nazi tropes is totally acceptable and doesn’t even warrant the threat of committee removal, but the mere mention of an indisputable historical fact by a Jew about Palestine, that is where there’s a problem! One need not agree with Israeli government policy to realize that what just went down today is a punitive policing of an elected official’s free speech! A dangerous precedent if ever there was any.”

“The Democrats,” continued Hikind, “have doubled down, jumping head first down the anti-Semitic rabbit hole. In the end, it’s not just a meaningful percentage of Jewish voters they’re going to lose in 2020 and beyond, but they are also undermining the very foundations of our cherished democracy.”

“I have one last message to Corey Johnson and his fellow Democrats” said Hikind. “Nothing you do or say, no punitive action you take can undo or change history. You have unwittingly desecrated a history you clearly know so little of. You’ve been manipulated like marionettes. But if you would study history you’d know that all those who attempt to control and distort it are remembered unfavorably by history. Shame on you Corey Johnson! And, shame on you Democratic party! History will not forgive or judge you kindly.”