‘Outright anti-Semitism’: Democratic Socialists seek ‘no Israel travel’ pledge from NYC council candidates

“Do you pledge not to travel to Israel if elected to City Council in solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation?” the survey asks.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Democratic Socialists of America’s New York City chapter is asking New York City Council candidates to pledge not to visit Israel in return for the group’s support, NY1 reported on Friday.

“Do you pledge not to travel to Israel if elected to City Council in solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation?” the survey asks.

“Even though foreign policy falls outside the purview of municipal government, gestures like travel to a country by elected officials from a city the size and prominence of New York still sends a powerful message, as would the refusal to participate in them,” the survey continues.

Backlash to the controversial questionnaire was immediate, NY1 reports.

“Israel is the only Jewish state,” State Senator Anna Kaplan told the news site. “And the exclusion of every other country with this questionnaire, just targeting Israel, is a very anti-Semitic position.”

New York City Council member Robert Holden tweeted:

“Not surprising to see despicable content coming from @nycdsa, but the outright anti-Semitism on display here is sickening,” he wrote. “I’d be more than honored to join my colleagues in the @NYCCouncil and state legislature on the next @JCRCNY trip to Israel. Hate has no business in this city.”

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DSA members say that Israel is a unique case.

“The reason that Israel is on the questionnaire is not because we are singling it out, it’s because the US government is actually signaling out Israel,” Sumaya Awad, a DSA member, told NY1.

“In New York City there is a unique system in which City Council members are taken on Israel lobby-funded trips, propaganda trips to be specific, to Israel,” Awad said. “And what we are pushing for is elected officials not to take trips that whitewash Israel’s occupation and cover the reality of Israel’s apartheid.”

However, city council members reject that assertion and say they travel to many countries.

“This is contrary to the goal of reconciliation, of mutual understanding, and of promoting connections between peoples,” said Manhattan City Council member Mark Levine.

Some local council members have said no one should accept DSA’s endorsement until it retracts its questionnaire, NY1 reports.

Fox News reports that responding to the questionnaire “is a requirement for any candidate seeking the DSA’s endorsement.”

The DSA has enjoyed “great success” in recent elections with “at least five of its endorsed candidates” winning their races “in the State Senate and Assembly,” NY1 reports. The most prominent of them is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).