Jan. 19, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A candidate for the city council seat representing Kew Gardens Hills has come under fire for an alleged anti-Semitic tweet she posted nearly five years ago.
Moumita Ahmed, who’s running for the District 24 seat, allegedly replied to a Feb. 22, 2015 tweet that included a photoshopped image of a baby with a bullet hole in its head laying next to a missile.
A banner with the Star of David is draped across the baby and missile and the text “Do you want to stop this?”, “Israel’s gift to the world: orphaned children, bombs, killing” and “Please Boycott Israel” is written across the image.
Ahmed replied to the tweet with “my every heartbeat is for the children of Palestine <3,” according to a screenshot posted to Twitter Monday.
Kew Gardens Hills Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal and Ahmed’s opponents for city council criticized her tweet.
“I guess we know who’s got the #antisemitism vote locked up. #wrongdistrict,” Rosenthal tweeted alongside the screenshot.
He denounced Ahmed’s response and said anti-Semitism has no place in the City Council in a statement to the Queens Post.
“We’ve spent the last four years combating anti-Semitic tropes and dog-whistles at the federal level, and I have no interest in seeing those views gain a foothold in the City Council,” Rosenthal said. “At a time when anti-Semitism and hate crimes are on an upward rise in our city, this diverse district needs a Council Member who would never even think of promoting anti-Semitic, racist or other xenophobic language and imagery.”
Ahmed replied to Rosenthal’s criticism via Twitter. She noted that she is opposed to anti-Semitism, but acknowledged that the image that she replied to in 2015 could indeed incite hate.
“I absolutely abhor antisemitism and have made that very clear through my years of community organizing in Queens,” she tweeted. “I can see that the image I replied to is disturbing and can fuel anti-Semitism.”
She added that it is everyone’s first amendment right to be able to boycott, but didn’t address whether she is for or against boycotting Israel in her reply.
“District 24 is home to a multitude of beliefs for and against boycott (and everything in between),” Ahmed continued. “I believe it is important to protect the first amendment right to boycott — as we’ve seen recently, our democracy and constitution are fragile and must be defended.”
The Queens Post reached out to Ahmed’s campaign and was referred to her Twitter statement.
Ahmed has been endorsed by The Jewish Vote, and the progressive group came to her defense Monday — retweeting past statements the candidate had tweeted against anti-Semitism.
The progressive activist is one of several candidates running for the council seat vacated by Rory Lancman in November. A special election to replace Lancman is set for Feb. 2. The winner will represent the neighborhoods of Kew Gardens Hills, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Pomonok, Jamaica Hills and Briarwood until the end of the year.
The other candidates in the District 24 race criticized Ahmed and denounced anti-Semitism on Twitter.
“Advocating for a boycott using images of a dead baby with a Star of David is yet another in a long line of examples of the anti-Semitism of BDS [Boycott, Divest, Sanctions],” fellow council candidate Josh Maynard tweeted. “If @disruptionary [Moumita Ahmed] feels she has been misunderstood then she should immediately clarify.”
Former Democratic Council Member James Gennaro, who represented the 24th District for three terms through 2013 and is again running for the seat, also denounced Ahmed’s tweet.
“This is the kind of rank anti-Semitism that no person of good will of any faith can be silent in the face of,” he said. “And each and every time this hatred shows its face through the hate-mongers, through the BDS supporters we MUST call it out for hatred that it is.”
Ahmed has earned several endorsements from progressive leaders including Flushing Assembly Member Ron Kim, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Brooklyn State Sen. Julia Salazar, former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon as well as the Working Families Party.
— Daniel Rosenthal (@DanRosenthalNYC) January 18, 2021