A Jewish New York City councilman was removed from the immigration committee Monday, days after he received backlash for tweeting, “Palestine does not exist.”
Kalman Yeger tweeted, “Palestine does not exist. There, I said it again. Also, Congresswoman Omar is an antisemite. Said that too. Thanks for following me,” last week, in response to Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar being critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for focusing on her during his speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. (RELATED: NYC Councilman Faces Backlash After Tweeting ‘Palestine Does Not Exist’)
Yeger’s comments led to him being removed from the immigration committee by the City Council’s leadership team.
“I found Council Member Yeger’s comments completely unacceptable,” Corey Johnson, the Council’s speaker, said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “As I said before, they were dehumanizing to Palestinians and divisive, and have no place in New York City.”
Mr. Johnson added, “I do not believe that someone who engages in the type of rhetoric we heard from Council Member Yeger belongs on the immigration committee, which is supposed to welcome and support immigrants in our city.”
In his first public statement on his removal, Yeger tweeted, “I respect the Speaker’s right to run the Council as he sees fit. It’s unfortunate that political correctness takes precedence over objective fact. Of course, there are Palestinians. However, the fact remains there is no Palestinian state.”
Cops providing a wall of officers Btwn Yeger protesters and counter protesters. pic.twitter.com/6vqmzSdK1O
— Ivan Pereira (@IvanPer4) March 28, 2019
Last Thursday, there was a protest outside of Yeger’s home and counter protesters showed up to defend the councilman. Leaders of the Women’s March condemned Yeger’s comments.
I hope people will be just as swift condemning this NYC Councilman’s comments as they were with me, a Black woman activist. https://t.co/pt0wBvXsir
— Tamika D. Mallory (@TamikaDMallory) March 28, 2019
On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC: “I made very clear that the councilman was wrong. I made very clear that there has to be a Palestinian homeland,” said Mr. de Blasio, who went on to call Mr. Yeger’s comments “destructive and divisive.”