Dueling Anti-Hate Rallies Face Off In Brooklyn

June 23, 2019 - 6:16 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Dueling anti-hate rallies were held outside the Brooklyn office of Congressman Max Rose on Sunday – one highlighting anti-Semitism, the other Islamophobia.

Each group lined separate sides of Third Avenue in Bay Ridge – a microcosm of a debate developing in the Democratic Party.

On one side was a group led by former state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is calling on Rose to speak out more against Democratic colleagues like Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Related: Omar's Israel Remarks Expose Democrats' Simmering Divisions

Hikind wants Omar removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee over comments some see as anti-Semitic. And he said he thinks Ocasio-Cortez is “ignorant” for recently comparing migrant detention centers at the southern border to Nazi concentration camps.

“I’d like to ask her, ‘Have you ever read a book on the Holocaust, ever in your life?’” Hikind said.

On the other side of the street was a larger counter-protest led by Murad Awawdeh. They say the other side’s motives have more to do with Islamophobia. They point to Hikind’s criticism of Omar.

“It’s no shock that Dov Hikind has decided he’s going to target Congresswoman Ilhan Omar,” Awawdeh said. “When he was an Assembly member he was a failed Assembly member, and now we see what he’s been doing, which is spreading hate.”

In a statement to WCBS 880, Rose said he is a Jewish combat veteran who has led the fight against anti-Semitism regardless of political party.

“When synagogues and mosques are being targeted by evil gunmen and acts of hate are occurring across our community, I don't have time for political games,” he said in the statement. “We all have a responsibility to stand up to hatred and educate those who may be ignorant to how their words can hurt or incite old wounds. That's my focus and will continue to my focus, consequences be damned.”