In a rare move, two weeks before the congressional primaries, Democratic elected officials and community leaders gathered to denounce a candidate – who is currently the favorite to win the Democratic primaries and get elected to Congress – with the harshest words ever used in a political campaign.
At a press conference outside the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan, Monday morning organized by Councilman David G. Greenfield, Mayor Ed Koch was joined by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Councilman Mike Nelson and a number of community leaders to denounce Councilman Charles Barron as an enemy of the State of Israel and the Jewish community.
“We all agree that Charles Barron is a hate monger and an anti-Semite,” Councilman David Greenfield began by highlighting some of Mr. Barron’s most divisive and hateful comments. “A lot of people like to dismiss him as crazy, but this is someone who knows exactly what he is doing when he makes these incendiary remarks and has a very specific, hateful agenda. This is not an individual who is fit to hold any office in this land,” David Greenfield stated.
“One thing about Charles Barron is, he can be very charming, but so can a snake,” former New York City Mayor Ed Koch told the media. “We have learned to live together in this city despite our different backgrounds, and his vile, vicious assailing of Israel is simply not acceptable. I can tell you this without hesitation because I know him,” Koch stressed.
Barron, who has often criticized Israel, visited the Gaza Strip last July as part of a relief mission with other left-wing activists. He called on President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to both denounce Israel’s self-defense against the Gaza-bound “Freedom Flotilla” and demand the lifting of the blockade. Other Democrats have done this too, but have not gone as far as Barron, describing the Jewish state as a nation of terrorists and war mongers.
“It’s like having a concentration death camp,” Barron described the humanitarian situation in Hamas’ stronghold. “You go to Gaza and you see the destruction, you see the destruction of Gaza, the thousands that died. And this (blockade assault) isn’t even about rockets being launched. No rocket was being launched from the boat, nor were there rockets on the boat. But it is like a death camp,” Barron pontificated, likening the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust concentration camps.
“It has been made very clear that Charles Barron is unrelentingly racist and hateful,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, making his case from a local perspective. “From his rabid attacks on whites and refusal to salute the American flag to his endless rhetoric about Jews and Israel, Barron proves again and again that his is a voice of divisiveness, a dying breed that sane New Yorkers no longer care to hear from,” Hikind said.
If elected, Barron would be the most prominent anti-Semite in the United States of America, councilman Greenfield warned. “Charles Barron is the most anti-Israel person that I know of in public life,” Congressman Jerrold Nadler charged. “His presence in Congress would be poisons to rational discourse, any chance of making progress on Middle East peace or advancing intelligence policy,” he added.
Since the winner of the June 26th Democratic primary would ultimately be elected as the next congressman representing the 8th congressional district, the only viable option, say experts, is to stop Barron from gaining momentum and winning an uncontested seat.
The newly drawn 8th Congressional district, once held by Congressman Ed Towns, doglegs across the borough from Downtown to Coney Island, and includes Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York, Mill Basin, Canarsie, in which the Jewish vote makes up roughly 20 percent of the district.
Mayor Koch, explained that this primary battle is an unusual election that with a low turnout anticipated, but that Barron’s supporters would get to the polls. However, voters they would “rush to the polls” to vote for Mr. Jeffries, says Koch, if they were aware of Barron’s racist, anti-Semitic background.
“That’s why we’re here. We’re saying Barron is no good,” Mayor Koch said. Added Congressman Nadler: “We need representatives who will focus on uniting communities, not dividing them.”
“We could wake up in the morning and find Charles Barron with his hate mongering on the floor of the United States Congress,” Hikind warned.
“I’m urging all my constituents to come out and make sure that Charles Barron is not elected to the House of Representatives, Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, whose assembly district is within the 8th congressional district, pleaded.
In its endorsement of Jeffries candidacy, the Daily News editorial put the readers in the district to task. “Three hundred thousand registered Democrats have a critical mission on Primary Day this month. They must rush to the polls to choose Hakeem Jeffries for Congress,” the Daily News wrote. “One man in this contest is a class act. The other is a malignant clown.”
Emphatically condemning Barron, the editorial concluded, saying that “Democrats of the newly drawn 8th District must turn out and rally — for their own good and the good of the city — behind Hakeem Jeffries on June 26.”
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