Mr. Jeffries’s 72–28 percent primary triumph is tantamount to victory in the heavily Democratic Eighth Congressional District, though he’ll have to take on Green Party candidate Colin Beavan and Republican Alan Bellone in the general election in November.
Accepting the nomination and flanked by a phalanx of Democratic politicians and his photogenic family, Mr. Jeffries thanked the voters and attributed his victory to “a wonderful coalition across the entire district” — a reference to the perception of Mr. Barron was a divisive figure whose anti-Israel and racially charged rhetoric and frequent isolation from his fellow lawmakers scared away many voters.
Nearly 75 percent of the district is black and Hispanic, although it includes heavily Jewish areas like Coney Island and Brighton Beach.
Endorsing Jeffries, The New York Daily News quite correctly called Barron a “malignant clown” who “plays a one-note trumpet of racial grievance.”
At a 2002 rally in support of reparations for slavery, he said: “I want to go up to the closest white person and say, ‘You can’t understand this, it’s a black thing’ and then slap him, just for my mental health.”
In other words Barron actually is what some rightwing fools claim Barack Obama to be.
Barron has eulogized Muammar Gaddafi (calling him a “freedom fighter”). And he has defended Zimbabwe’s vicious president Robert Mugabe.
Despite its abysmal human-rights record and disastrous economy (the country abandoned its currency in 2009 due to hyperinflation), Zimbabwe is, according to Barron, “one of the most stable countries in Africa.” Along with a few of his acolytes, Barron went on a “fact-finding mission” to the country and later hosted a reception for Mugabe at City Hall. Criticism of his Potemkin trip to Harare, he barked to the New York Times, was motivated by racism. In 2008, the Times remarked that those angered by the City Hall reception for Mugabe were aware of the “third-rail potential of a racially sensitive issue, [and] acquiesced with their silence.”
By contrast, can you guess which Middle Eastern country Barron holds in utter contempt? Right.
While Barron might not be an anti-Semite on the order of Louis Farrakhan (a man for whom he frequently professes admiration), he is obsessively hostile to Israel—a country whose founding he rejects as historical crime. After a 2009 trip to Gaza with British MP George Galloway’s anti-Israel group Viva Palestina, Barron told reporters that the Gaza Strip was a giant “concentration camp.” Considering this description a touch understated, he traded Dachau for Auschwitz, comparing the Palestinian territories to a modern “death camp.” Israel, he added, “deliberately cause[s] the death of innocent children” and is guilty of “genocide.”
Barron routinely conflates Jews and Israel, decrying the influence not of an “Israel lobby” but of the “Jewish lobby,” a distinction that even Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer considered important. In 2003, Barron cast the only dissenting vote after the City Council tabled a resolution denouncing anti-Semitic remarks by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad: “I will be voting against any resolution pro-Israel [sic] in this council until this council has the heart to be fair with the Palestinian cause and come up with a [similar] resolution.” For Barron, a condemnation of Mohamad’s claim that “the Jews rule the world by proxy” amounted to an endorsement of Israeli policy.
At a pro-Qaddafi rally in Harlem organized by Farrakhan, he happily shared the stage with second-string anti-Semites like New Black Panther Party Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz (“Who is it that has our entertainers … and our athletes in a vise grip? The Jews!”). Barron has also declared his admiration for Khalid Muhammad, the viciously anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader who said there was “no evidence” the Holocaust happened and thundered against the “hook-nosed” Jews who control the “Jew-nited Nations in Jew York City.” When Muhammad died of a brain aneurysm in 2001, Barron was on hand at his memorial service.
This was enough to earn Barron the not-so-coveted endorsement of David Duke, who described Jeffries as a “complete Zionist sellout.”
You can watch George Galloway and Charles Barron basically endorsing the end of Israel as a Jewish state at a 2009 press conference in New York:
Jeffries– who said “I look forward to pushing the administration to continue to be the strongest possible friend to Israel”– visited Israel (including Sderot) during Operation Cast Lead in 2008. In an interview with The Jewish Press, he said:
“Israel’s status as our most robust ally in the world, and the important Middle Eastern region, is grounded in over 60 years of shared struggle and mutual interest. Our presumptive and strongly supportive posture toward Israel in its disputes with its neighbors should remain an important part of American foreign policy.”
Hakeem Jeffries looking at rockets fired on Sderot
Like his friend Galloway, Barron seems more interested in grandstanding and provoking than in achieving anything tangible for the people he represents. Jeffries, on the other hand, has sponsored a long list of progressive legislation in the New York Assembly, including measures to assist residents in foreclosure, protect tenants from landlord harassment and require developers who receive tax breaks to build affordable housing in the neighborhoods that he represents.
And Jeffries is an opponent of the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices, which he said unfairly target blacks and Hispanics. In the State Assembly he sponsored a law that prohibits the police from maintaining an electronic database with information about individuals who are stopped and frisked, but not charged with a crime.
Well done to the people of the Eighth Congressional District.