Amid Controversy, Councilman Says He Was Misunderstood


A Brooklyn councilman sought to make amends after stirring controversy for a recent comment supporting a social media posting by an Arab-American activist that included praise for Palestinian rock-throwers. In a meeting Tuesday with Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Carlos Menchaca said that he had been “misunderstood.”

The issue began several weeks ago when Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, sent out a series of tweets about events in Israel, including posting a photo on October 11 of a Palestinian boy holding rocks in front of Israeli forces, commenting, “The definition of courage.”

Amidst a heated exchange over the comment, Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) countered the statement, saying that the image in question represented “barbarism.” Sarsour shot back with a long statement containing many details of her activism, peppered with strong anti-Israel terms such as “The Zionist trolls are out to play.” Carlos Menchaca, a member of the council’s “progressive caucus” and who represents parts of Boro Park, lent his support to her comments with a message in Spanish roughly translated, “I’m with you, my sister!”

His remark elicited a torrent of criticism and on Tuesday he met with Hikind to discuss the matter.

“I recently stood up in support of the Arab American Association of New York and its leader, Linda Sarsour. I was misunderstood. Let me be clear. I do not support rock-throwing or any act of violence or speech that incites hate of any people,” stated Menchaca at the meeting.

Hikind told Hamodia that while Menchaca did not address the true intention of his initial statement, he “made it clear that he did not support rock throwing or any sort of violence which is what was unacceptable in the first place.”

Menchaca’s office did not respond to several requests from Hamodia for further clarification of the councilman’s comments.

Councilman Lancman commented that he welcomed Menchacha’s “denunciation” of   “vilification of Israel or for terrorism’s apologists.”

Not everybody felt that the clarification was sufficient.

“Suffice to say, you are judged by the company you keep,” Councilman David Greenfield told Hamodia.