Rev. Khader El-Yateem, the first Palestinian-American to ever run for the City Council, has come out in support of the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement AKA BDS movement, which seeks to isolate Israel from the international community.
The Observer Reports: “In a video posted on Facebook, El-Yateem—a Lutheran minister born in Bethlehem, recalled being “very disappointed” when the Council passed a resolution last year condemning BDS for what it deemed “unacceptable anti-Semitic rhetoric.” Critics of the effort to deny dollars to Israel and its exports assert that it singles out the Jewish State while ignoring human rights abuses by neighboring Arab regimes, by Hamas and by the Palestinian Authority.
But El-Yateem, running to replace term-limited Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile, claimed that BDS represents the best chance for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and the equitable treatment of Arabs in Israeli society.
“I support BDS. And I will say this publicly, I say it to everyone. It is an issue of justice. It is a nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” the Democrat said. “So am I supporting BDS? 100 percent. Because I believe that it is the only nonviolent way to help Israel become a better democracy in the Middle East.”
Nonetheless, El-Yateem stressed that he does not dispute Israel’s right to exist.
“I support the State of Israel to end its occupation of Palestine. I support the State of Israel to be a better democracy in the Middle East,” he said. “I support the State of Israel to treat all its citizens equally without any discrimination. I support the State of Israel to live in peace and security and safety with its neighbors.”
Others expected prominent Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour to pursue the post, but she has instead backed and throw all her support behind El-Yateem’s bid.
Read more at The Observer