Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Gravesend) this weekend moved to shore up relations with her Jewish constituents by going on record supporting a resolution in the state assembly against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel.
According to Wikipedia the BDS movement is a global campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until it withdraws from the occupied territories, removes the separation barrier in the West Bank, grants full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and promotes the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
Many Jews and Israel supporters maintain the BDS movement is inherently anti-Semitic as it disincentivizes the Palestinian leadership from negotiating with Israel at present and promotes the delegitimization of Israel.
“I support the NYS Assembly’s anti-BDS legislation passed in 2015 for the reasons stated in the resolution,” said Frontus in an email to KCP yesterday.
Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) sponsored the resolution in question, which 74 assembly members co-sponsored. The resolution rejects BDS activities that “undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution and the right of Israelis and Palestinians to self-determination.”
The resolution states:
“This Legislative Body is concerned that the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and its agenda are damaging to the causes of peace, justice, equality, democracy, and human rights for all peoples in the Middle East.”
The resolution also recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and says the U.S. and Israel share “a common bond rooted in the values of freedom, democracy, and equal rights.”
The issue of Frontus’ support or lack thereof for the BDS movement came up early last month, when in the runup to the general election sources told KCP that Frontus has said she was inclined to support the BDS movement. When KCP asked her view on it, Frontus refused to answer, and instead both her and her supporters accused KCP of sewing bad seeds between her and the district’s Jewish community.
However, the New York Post reported yesterday that a member of Frontus’ transition team, Soya Stewart, in a Facebook post disparaged Jews for the current troubles at New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing.
“Nycha [sic] don’t give a damn it’s run by Jews they just gonna flip there [sic] money and there will be no charges brought up against any of them and all this is all criminal,” Stewart wrote, according to a screenshot of the post provided to The Post.
Facebook later removed the post for violating the site’s standards on hate speech.
Frontus responded that Stewart is not an active member of her 33-person transition committee, but that her name would be removed from the transition list anyway.
“Her comments were not only shocking, hurtful and inaccurate, they perpetuate harmful racial stereotypes which groups in our society often have about one another,” Frontus told the Post.
“I strongly condemn the comments and would like to clarify [that] although Ms. Stewart’s name was listed as a member of my transition team, she has never attended any meetings . . . and she will play no official role in my office,” she added.