(UnitedHeadlines.com) – A former deputy director of the U.S. State Department Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs Stuart Seldowitz is facing backlash for comments made to a halal food vendor in Manhattan.
In a video posted on Twitter Seldowitz can be seen threatening and taunting a vendor on the corner of East 83rd Street and Second Avenue. He is heard stating that if 4,000 Palestinian kids were killed as a result of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, “it wasn’t enough.”
After Seldowitz accused the vendor of being a terrorist, he threatened to use his connections in the government to go after the family of the vendor in Egypt. In the video, Seldowitz holds an Israel pin up to the window of the vendor’s cart. He then asks if the vendor has a visa and a permit.
The vendor repeatedly states that he does not speak English and asks Seldowitz to leave. Seldowitz then calls the vendor ignorant because of his lack of English fluency.
The videos were posted to Twitter by a Columbia grad student who stated Seldowitz had been harassing the vendor for about two weeks. The video clips seem to have been filmed at different times of the day, with Seldowitz wearing different clothing throughout the video.
In an interview with the New York Times, Seldowitz stated he became enraged with the vendor for expressing sympathy for the terrorist group Hamas. None of the videos show the vendor mentioning Hamas. Seldowitz added that he said things he “probably [regrets].” Seldowitz stated he is not “Islamophobic.”
Under former President Barack Obama, Seldowitz served on the National Security Council’s South Asia Directorate. He was working as a foreign affairs chair at Gotham Government Relations, a lobbying firm in New York. On Nov. 21, Gotham Government Relations stated it had severed ties with Seldowitz. A statement from the company refers to Seldowitz’s actions as “vile” and “racist.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Attorney General Letitia James also responded to the video, calling his actions “hateful, disgusting, and unacceptable.”
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