Myrie, Hamilton & The Jewish Constituency

Copy of Where do They Stand_

In a series of tweets today, a constituent of Senate District 20, claims that current Democratic challenger for the 20th Senate District, Zellnor Myrie, didn’t understand the State Senate’s role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), in a community known for having a large Orthodox Jewish voting bloc.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton
Democratic State Senate Candidate Zellnor Myrie

According to the social media thread, Andrea Karshan, a former intern in State Senator Jesse Hamilton’s (D-Central Brooklyn) office, alleges that Myrie claimed to be lacking in education when asked about the controversial Anti-Israeli movement.

BDS is a global campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets what the campaign describes as “[Israel’s] obligations under international law”, defined as withdrawal from the occupied territories, removal of the separation barrier in the West Bank, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and promotion of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Opponents of BDS, believe the movement is immoral and a threat to peace because of its belief in that Israel is to blame for a lack of a Palestinian state. Additionally, many opponents believe BDS perpetuates anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate education on which generations of Palestinians have been raised, an education that denies any place for a Jewish state in any borders.

Myrie didn’t directly respond to KCP’s questions concerning the BDS movement, but committed himself to working with all diversity groups in the district, not just one specific neighborhood. 

“Zellnor’s focus is protecting and expanding affordable housing – an issue that affects constituents of the 20th Senate District across ethnic and religious groups,” said a spokesperson for Myrie’s campaign. “He looks forward to partnering with a range of organizations, including Jewish community groups, to encourage interfaith dialogue about issues of concern to Central Brooklyn.”

The series of Twitter exchanges comes as Hamilton has been an ardent supporter of Israel, and recently released a mailer pointing out that support, which includes supporting tax credits for Yeshiva tuition [including Christian schools in other parts of the district], his opposition to the Iran nuclear accord deal, and getting funding for both small business opportunities and increased healthcare.

Hamilton and Myrie have been locked in a contentious race since the relative newcomer first announced his candidacy back in October, citing Hamilton’s lack of loyalty to the Democratic party.

The primary election is Sept. 13.

– Stephen Witt contributed to this story.