By Peter Reitzes, The Algemeiner
Nida Allam, a 27-year-old progressive activist and Durham, North Carolina County Commissioner, announced last week that she will run for the Congressional seat of retiring Rep. David Price (D-NC).
I first researched Allam during her 2019 campaign for County Commissioner, due to her anti-Israel positions. What I found was a history of abhorrent statements that extended far beyond Israel.
In 2018, Allam tweeted, “This is the United States of Israel,” which is consistent with centuries-old antisemitic propaganda that Jews seek to dominate the world.
In 2013, Allam tweeted, “F*** the police,” and she has made many offensive and hateful posts over the years.
I spoke with award-winning Durham columnist and Black minister, Carl W. Kenney II, who told me that Allam’s use of the N-word in a 2014 tweet is “appalling.”
When asked if it matters that Allam’s tweet is from 2014, Kenney responded:
“I think it speaks to character issues. I think it speaks to a lack of sensitivity. We have a person who has a desire to run for US Congress at 27…What has she done in building relationships with the Black community to help soothe the pain connected to making that type of statement? … I’m not comfortable that she’s learned a lesson.”
When asked about Allam’s “F*** the police” tweet, Kenney told me that while he understands the anger, “In Durham, we’re not one to say ‘f*** the police.’ We want to say we want to work with the police.”
I met with Kenney via Zoom and asked if it is acceptable that I — someone who is not Black — cite Allam’s N-word tweet in this column as a warning to the public. Kenney responded, “You have an obligation to do that. … For people to fully understand what we are talking about, they need to have it in its original form.”
In 2019, Allam tweeted a picture of herself standing with a Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) sign. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describes JVP as “a radical anti-Israel activist group that advocates for a complete economic, cultural and academic boycott of the state of Israel.”
In 2018, the Durham City Council passed the “Israel Resolution,” making Durham the first city in the United States to boycott police training specifically with Israel. Eleven local rabbis wrote that the council’s attack on Israel was a “punch in the gut” to the Jewish community. Allam championed the attack by signing the petition demanding a ban on police training with Israel.
Allam has repeatedly promoted her close ties with noted antisemite Linda Sarsour, calling Sarsour “my shero, role-model, mentor, and so much more.”
Sarsour has been widely criticized for advocating for the destruction of Israel via the BDS movement and other means, saying “Nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and advising Muslims not to “humanize” Israelis.
Earlier this year, Black constituents and politicians strongly criticized Allam and two other Durham commissioners for what was viewed by many as racially divisive policies.
“There is a sense in the Black community that she [Allam] is among the politicians here who doesn’t really talk to Black people” Kenny told me. “They have an idea of what is best for Black people without actually engaging in the conversation. That’s a problem.”
On his widely read blog, Kenney warns: “If Allam has her way, the race for Congress will not be determined by local Black voters. It will be won by the support of the national media and progressive politicians desirous of an addition to The Squad — joining Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).”
Bob Gutman, a Jewish leader in Durham, told me: “In her bid for local office, Nida Allam [ran on] an anti-Israel position. She has served for less than a year as a County Commissioner, and in that time, Allam has caused painful division in the city. Now she wants to leave Durham and take a seat with The Squad.”
Just hours after Allam announced her run for Congress, Ilhan Omar tweeted, “Let’s go Nida!”; Keith Ellison tweeted, “Great Candidate”; and Linda Sarsour retweeted Allam’s campaign announcement.
In her short political career, Nida Allam has alienated both Black and Jewish constituents. North Carolinians need a representative who will foster peace and cooperation. Instead, Allam offers hate and division.
Peter Reitzes lives in Chapel Hill and works in Durham, North Carolina.