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New York Republicans Slam City Official For Ties To ‘Anti-Israel Movements’

Several Republicans from New York’s congressional delegation are calling on New York City Comptroller Brad Lander to resign over a senior adviser’s stances on Israel, as well as his own proximity to an organization critical of the nation.
Robert Schmad, DCNF

Several Republicans from New York’s congressional delegation are calling on New York City Comptroller Brad Lander to resign over a senior adviser’s stances on Israel, as well as his own proximity to an organization critical of the nation.

Lander is affiliated with Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), an organization that released statements critical of Israel following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attacks, and he employs Naomi Dann as a senior adviser who, among other things, collaborated with a Hamas-tied group at a previous job. New York Reps. Marc Molinaro and Brandon Williams called on Lander to step down from his position, while Reps. George Santos and Andrew Garbarino criticized him in statements to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“I cannot believe we have to say this, but an elected Comptroller and his staff should not be embracing antisemitism and anti-Israel movements,” Molinaro told the DCNF. “It’s especially disgraceful considering they represent thousands of Jews living in New York City. Put your extreme politics aside or step down.”

“Targeting civilians is a war crime. Taking hostages is a war crime. Bombing medical facilities is a war crime. Collective punishment is a war crime,” Dann tweeted on Oct. 10. “There is no path to peace without an end to the siege and occupation.”

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She also partnered with a Hamas-tied group, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, in a campaign to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from addressing Congress in 2015 while working at Jewish Voice for Peace, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Dann was arrested at a 2014 pro-Palestinian protest in New York City, the International Business Times reported. Lander expressed his “full confidence” in Dann last year when asked about her Israel stances by the Free Beacon.

“You are who you surround yourself with, and Mr. Landers has chosen a hater of Israel as one of his top lieutenants,” William O’Reilly, a political consultant and columnist, told the DCNF. “This is America—Ms. Dann has every right to her opinions—but New Yorkers also have a right to object to who’s on their payroll.”

“Mr. Lander needs to explain his choice to a concerned public,” he continued.

Williams told the DCNF that Landler should step down over his affiliations, statements and staffing.

“He should resign immediately,” Williams said. “We have to root out anti-Israel leadership in New York State—political leaders must be firm in their support for the Israeli people and condemn the actions of Hamas and affiliated groups.”

“Anyone who excuses or trivializes Hamas’ actions does not belong in public service,” Garbarino said to the DCNF.

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“1800 Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza—500+ kids. 420k displaced. No electricity, little food & water, hospitals collapsing. Israel has the right to defend itself & go after the terrorists who attacked it. But our grief does not justify collective punishment or mass death,” he tweeted. “I was moved by this call from Israeli human rights activists—all of whom know people killed or kidnapped by Hamas— calling for Israel to exercise restraint in its response, to allow humanitarian aid, to halt indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians.”

Lander is a member and former co-chair of JFREJ, according to Forward, and the group has released a steady stream of anti-Israel messaging since Hamas’ attacks. The group said in its official statement on the war that the Hamas attack was “neither justifiable nor unprovoked.”

“We must act with urgency to decry and demand an end to Palestinian genocide,” the group tweeted Oct. 16 while promoting a pro-Palestinian protest in Washington, D.C. held by Jewish Voice for Peace. The group also held “a prayer to stop [the] #GazaGenocide” at an Oct. 13 rally calling on Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to act on their behalf, and has participated in pro-Palestine demonstrations in New York City and D.C.

JFREJ members at the D.C. protest helped block “every entrance to the White House,” which led to some of their members being arrested, according to their website. Protestors at the New York demonstration held up signs accusing Israel of genocide and being an apartheid state.

Lander, who has jurisdiction over New York City’s pension fund, had expressed support for Ben & Jerry’s decision in 2021 to stop selling ice cream in “occupied Palestinian territories,” saying that “companies that decide not to operate in the settlements do not pose a risk to New York’s pension funds.”

Santos called both Lander and Dann “abhorrent” in his statement to the DCNF.

“Decisions that we make as public servants should reflect our core values—freedom, democracy, and human rights,” he said. “We shouldn’t compromise these values by aligning with adversarial interests or using our role in public office to advance political agendas.”

Lander and Dann did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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