Anti-Palestine tweet from Councilman Yeger draws backlash from mayor, council speaker

Councilman Kalman Yeger tweeted on Wednesday that "Palestine does not exist," drawing fire from a host of elected officials.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson denounced the tweet as “unhelpful and unwelcome.”

Councilman Kalman Yeger tweeted on Wednesday that "Palestine does not exist," drawing fire from a host of elected officials.
Councilman Kalman Yeger tweeted on Wednesday that "Palestine does not exist," drawing fire from a host of elected officials. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio denounced a Brooklyn council member who took to Twitter Wednesday to declare "Palestine does not exist. There, I said it again."

Councilman Kalman Yeger retweeted Bklyner.com reporter Zainab Iqbal who noted that in the past Yeger has not recognized the state of Palestine. Iqbal’s tweet was in response to a Tuesday tweet from Yeger in which he called U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar an anti-Semite.

Johnson responded to the social media spat Wednesday afternoon with a tweet denouncing Yeger’s comments, calling them “unhelpful and unwelcome.”

“Comments like these do not do anything to advance the dialogue needed to foster a peaceful solution which is something we should all be working toward,” Johnson said in a screen-captured message.

The mayor also weighed in, quote-tweeting Yeger with calls for a two-state solution.

“I challenge anyone who thinks the State of Israel shouldn’t exist. But the same goes for anyone who would deny Palestinians a home,” he tweeted.

Yeger’s spokesman did not give an immediate response to either Johnson or the mayor’s comments.

Other elected officials commented on Yeger’s post later in the day, including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Comptroller Scott Stringer.

"Yeger’s comments are painful to individuals & the cause of a two state solution & peace. I urge him to immediately apologize," Williams tweeted.

Ivan Pereira