Yeger Does No Favors For Israeli’s Plight Or Fellow American Jews


City Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Borough Park, Flatbush, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park) is a public relations nightmare for New York City Jews, and by extension, Jews living in the American Diaspora.

City Councilman Kalman Yeger

And make no mistake, his “Palestine does not exist” Tweet played right into the hands of those who would welcome nothing more than to see Israel and Jews in this city taken down a step or three, while creating public sympathy for the cause of Palestinians as innocent victims to radicalized Jews acting out on some of their worst inclinations.

This thought has been with me for some time, but was cemented at yesterday’s rally and counter-rally in front of Yeger’s district office in Borough Park.

The protestors included several respected Palestinian-Americans and supporters from Bay Ridge – perhaps the largest enclave of Palestinians in the city, including the respected physician Dr. Ahmad Jaber, founder of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) and the president of the AAANY Board of Directors.

Palestinian-American Linda Sarsour is the former executive director of the AAANY, and co-founded the non-profit with Jaber. Sarsour may or may not be anti-Semitic, but I tip my cap to her as a master strategist for her people.

Believe me, the made-for-TV and social media look of about 20 pro-Palestinian protesters surrounded by several hundred impassioned Jews, including a few spewing venom, in the heart of heavily Orthodox Jewish Borough Park, was a public relations coup for Palestinians and Jew-haters alike.

But make no mistake, Yeger and his ilk, are on the very fringe of what mainstream American-Jewry – religious or non-religious – is all about. They are more akin to Brooklyn-born far-right Israeli-American Meir Kahane, who was banned from the Israeli Knesset for his “racist” and “anti-democratic” views and eventually assassinated in a Manhattan hotel by an Arab gunman in 1990.

Protesters and embedded journalists outside City Councilman Kalman Yeger’s District Office. Photo by Stephen Witt

Yeger hasn’t spoken on the record to KCP since his election victory against Yoni Hikind two years ago. Additionally, well respected black sources have confided in me that Yeger’s tone towards blacks put them off.

But what should really raise the alarm is Yeger being the only Jew in the City Council to not join the Council’s Jewish Caucus. Every other Jew in the council besides Yeger belongs to the caucus – an organization that includes progressives like Brad Lander (D-Park Slope), moderates like Alan Maisel (D-Canarsie) and more orthodox and conservative like the Caucus Chair Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Homecrest, Midwood).

Deutsch stands his ground on his religious beliefs but remains an overall consensus builder. It was Deutsch, who a few weeks ago held a youth-centered anti-hate rally at Madison High School that drew Muslims, Jews, Christians, Asians, blacks and LBGTQ community members.

And there are many American-Jewish leaders, who remain very pro-Israel, and still work to build bridges with Palestinian-Americans, Muslims, Christians and every other race, religion and ethnicity this country has to offer. People like U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island), a decorated U.S. Army Ranger war veteran.

There are also strong pro-Israel, and pro-Jewish civic activists in the community. People like Bridge Multicultural & Advocacy Project Founder Mark Meyer Appel, who will hold an Interfaith Seder with Jews, Muslims and Christians, from 5-9 p.m., Sunday, April 14 at 1894 Flatbush Avenue in the heart of Caribbean Flatbush.

But Yeger in one Tweet brought down a lot of good will, while creating an opening for fellow lawmakers, media elite, activists and others to take to social media and vent animosity towards Jews and Israel.

Thanks Kalman for nothing.