(JTA) — Several current and former New York Jewish elected officials gathered to denounce the congressional candidacy of Charles Barron for his anti-Israel views.
Ex-Mayor Ed Koch, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), City Councilman David Greenfield and state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, among others, gathered in front of the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in downtown Battery Park at a news conference Monday to call Barron, a Brooklyn Democrat, an “enemy of the State of Israel” and the New York Jewish community.
Barron, a city councilman, is facing state Assemblyman Hakeen Jeffries in a June 26 Democratic primary in a bid to succeed 24-year incumbent Rep. Edolphus Towns, also a Democrat, who is retiring at the end of this year.
The politicians at Battery Park expressed support for Jeffries and called Barron an “anti-Semite,” “hateful” and a “bigot.”
Barron has compared the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews during World War II. He also has publicly praised foreign dictators such as the late Muammar Gadhafi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
“To compare Israel to Nazis, calling what Israel’s doing genocide? Israel’s trying to survive in a tough neighborhood," Nadler said during the news conference, according to Politicker. The longtime congressman added that Israel is "not doing anything like Nazis. To even put them in the same universe is a disgrace to the English language."
Nadler said Barron’s election to Congress, "to some extent would legitimize this kind of anti-Semitic discourse, and we don’t need that.”