New York City
New York City Gili Yaari/Flash 90

The New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus picked a controversial Jewish anti-Israel activist as its new head, causing a firestorm of criticism from the public and within its own ranks, the New York Post reported.

The announcement of Emily Mayer as the new director of the 34-member caucus was called a “blatant act of antisemitism” by longtime Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, who is also an Orthodox rabbi.

Mayer was hailed by the caucus in a June 1 statement as “a talented and dedicated organizer” with a “track record working with progressive organizations that seek to transform our politics for the better.” She was described as “exactly the kind of leadership our caucus needs.”

But Sheinkopf called her appointment a “warning to New Yorkers that they had better reject these folks during the council elections next year,” according to the Post.

The Progressive Caucus currently has a strong majority on the 51-seat council.

At issue is the 30-year old Mayer’s long history of anti-Israel activism, including co-founding the Washington DC-based NGO “If Not Now,” whose stated goal is “to end American Jewish communal support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

Mayer described herself in a bio posted to a gofundme campaign to raise money so she could “head to the West Bank to do solidarity actions with Palestinians” as “the grandchild of Holocaust survivors and American communists and the child of a sworn atheist" and stated that she "grew up with a deeply conflicted relationship with Judaism.”

Brooklyn Councilwoman Inna Vernikov slammed the appointment as “dangerous and irresponsible,” telling the news outlet that with antisemitism spiraling out of control in the city, it was especially troublesome.

“Democrats should take a hard look at the direction of our city and take a stand to disavow this decision,” she said.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)