Head of NY City Council Jewish Caucus must resign – opinion

An anti-Israel, anti-AIPAC activist has no role as a leader of the New York City Council and should not be paid from taxpayer dollars.

By Ronn Torossian and Hank Sheinkopf, Special to World Israel News

The New York Post revealed this week that Emily Mayer, the Jewish, anti-Israel founder of IfNotNow, has been named director of the New York City Council progressive caucus. People who label Israel an “apartheid” state have no place on the payroll of this city, and no place in the government of NYC.

As former Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, the appointment is “an embarrassment” and a “disgrace.” In their silence, other members of the progressive caucus have made a pointed choice to oppose Israel.

Members of both the progressive and Jewish caucuses — especially Eric Dinowitz, the head of the Jewish Caucus — must speak out against the appointment. They have a choice: will they stand with Israel and the Jewish community or with Mayer, who has proven to be anti-Israel?

Should he choose to remain in a progressive caucus headed by Mayer, Dinowitz must recuse his role at the helm of the Jewish caucus.

Mayer’s long record of anti-Israel activities has been well-documented. She has expressed support for violent protesters, trivialized anti- Semitism, demonized the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and in 2016, was one of 17 IfNotNow activists arrested for holding a “liberation seder” in the lobby of the Manhattan building housing the offices of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

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In April 2021, Mayer’s group IfNotNow endorsed pro-BDS legislation introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum under the claim that U.S. tax dollars “are complicit in apartheid.”

Shortly thereafter, following the May 2021 conflict with the Hamas terror group in Gaza, IfNotNow called for people to recite the Jewish Mourner’s Prayer for individuals killed in the fighting on both sides, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists.

Mayer also participated in an 2018 demonstration in which protesters blocked the doors of United States Senator Chuck Schumer’s New York City office for 90 minutes over his support of Israel. In 2017 Mayer wrote an article for the radical leftwing +972 Magazine accusing AIPAC of controlling American politicians. In it, she claimed that AIPAC “spends millions of dollars every year making it politically impossible for any elected official to disavow the occupation, creating an atmosphere in Congress that is a far cry from the views of the American people.”

Mayer also claimed that Israel’s policies in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza were based on “racial discrimination and authoritarianism.”

“AIPAC has done everything in its power to maintain, strengthen, and perpetuate the occupation, even when it means acting against the whims of the Israeli government itself and getting into bed with anti-Semites and Islamophobes,” Mayer alleged.

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On March 6, 2018, she doubled down on the pro-Israel lobby, writing in Haaretz that the “progressive wing [of the Democratic Party] will have to fight hard to loosen AIPAC’s grip on the party.”

“Progressives of all stripes must demonstrate that the future of the Democratic party lies in policies that push for an end to the occupation…If we succeed, we can truly say goodbye to AIPAC forever,” she asserted.

Mayer is married to Waleed Shahid, a leader of Justice Democrats, the progressive organization that recruited and helped elect Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, and Jamaal Bowman.

The progressive caucus includes 34 of 51 city council members. All those who stand against racism and anti-Semitism must either resign or call on Mayer to do so.

In his capacity of head of the Jewish Caucus, Dinowitz is slated to chair upcoming hearings on anti-Semitism at New York’s public university system, CUNY. But how could he good conscience speak on such matters when he is also part of a council that employs someone who is openly anti-Israel?

Dinowitz, and fellow Jewish council members Julie Menin, Lincoln Restler, Lynn Schulman, must call for Mayer’s firing.

Dinowitz did not return repeated requests for comment. His silence is deafening.

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Ronn Torossian is a New York City based entrepreneur. Hank Sheinkopf is CEO of Sheinkopf Communications and a leading Democratic strategist. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton and others.