Moumita Ahmed, the progressive candidate running in the Feb. 2 City Council District 24 special election, fell under heavy fire after a 5-year-old anti-Semitic tweet resurfaced Jan. 18.
In February 2015, Ahmed showed support for a post sharing a photograph of a baby, draped with a banner depicting the Star of David, with a bullet hole in its forehead and lying with a missile. “Boycott Israel” appears above the image, and Ahmed replied, “my every heartbeat is for the children of Palestine <3.”
Five of Ahmed’s special election rivals commented on the controversial tweet, all denouncing anti-Semitism and raising concerns that her attitudes would disenfranchise the district’s large Jewish population.
Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Fresh Meadows), whose district overlaps the area Ahmed hopes to represent, commented: “I guess we know who’s got the #antisemitism vote locked up. #wrongdistrict.” He also thanked every commenter who joined him in rejecting Ahmed’s stance and spreading of hate. He did not, however, respond to Ahmed’s reply, which invited him to meet for discussion.
“I absolutely abhor anti-Semitism and have made that very clear through my years of community organizing in Queens,” she said, acknowledging that the image was disturbing and fuels prejudice, but she does support the right to boycott. “My heart does beat for children everywhere: Palestinian children, Israeli children, and children right here in District 24.”
In an email to the Chronicle, she said, “The Bangladeshi community buried another leader yesterday who died of Covid. New York just reported the most Covid hospitalizations since May. Now we are running out of vaccines. Frankly, our political leaders should not be talking about anything other than solving this pandemic.”
She did not apologize for the 2015 post.
On Jan. 8, the city Campaign Finance Board invalidated 75 of Ahmed’s contributions, leaving her ineligible for matching funds. The City reported that a standard audit found that a significant amount of paperwork appeared to have been written and signed by a single individual in dozens of instances.