The NY Daily News Political Puff Piece Is Example Of Anti-Blackness

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The Daily News Continues Cruxifiction Of Congressman Jamaal Bowman On Behalf of AIPAC And George Latimer

The New York Daily News drudges up the Greenburgh Mural controversy in a fluff piece to paint Rep. Jamaal Bowman as anti-Semitic and further rally Westchester Jewish voters against the sitting Congressman ahead of a heated June Democratic Primary.

This debate over the Greenburgh Mural was quite messy and the point of the article appears to bring back up the heated issue and continue to polarize and divide the community for clickbait as we head into the silly season of the election of Congressional District 16. The problem is that as they re-open this massive paper cut that never fully healed in our community, they will move on to something else afterward as the Black and Jewish communities are further divided.

On Sunday, September 4, 2022, Black Westchester convened an intellectual, difficult but very necessary conversation to discuss the issue at hand for a reasonable and equitable approach, to create a teachable moment instead of dividing the community. We watched all the news coverage, read all the statements, and heard all the rumors from the streets and one thing was certain: there was a lot of misinformation being shared, the whole story was not being told and many people did not know what to believe. So we got all the players together and got to the truth once and for all, Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner, then-Councilman Ken Jones, Councilwoman Gina Jackson, artist Kindo Art, organizer Clifton Abrams, and others (see video below).

Note: Greenburgh was not part of CD-17 at the time, which was represented by Congressman Mondaire Jones, not Jamaal Bowman!

Eighteen months later, on Sunday, March 10th, the Daily News released a subscription-only article titled, Rep. Bowman’s defense of including Louis Farrakhan in Westchester mural sparks outrage, like it is a new issue. For those who may not be familiar with the issue and do not feel the need to subscribe to read the article, it comes off as if this happened in 2024, not an almost two-year-old issue. While everyone may not have forgotten it, many have moved on from it. To re-inflame this issue is irresponsible for both the Daily News and the political operatives who are throwing gasoline on a fire to keep it burning all for the sake of an election. It won’t matter who wins the election; the community of Greenburgh loses. Black-Jewish relations will be further divided, but as long as the by-any-means-necessary victory is the desired outcome, the unintended (or maybe intended) consequences will just be the cost of doing business in today’s political climate.

To reignite the controversy over the mural, to pull out Minister Louis Farrakhan, and to attempt to align him with Congressman Bowman, who didn’t represent the district yet, to drive Jewish voters to the polls to vote for Latimer is not different from the MAGA Republicans and Donald Trump feeding red meat to their base to get them out to vote in large numbers.

While County Executive George Latimer may not be directly behind it, he must be okay with the further polarization of the community for the sake of victory because he will not speak out against his supporters’ actions. But he has accused Bowman supporters of equally egregious, divisive behavior. The Daily News summed it up perfectly when they wrote, “Latimer declined to comment on the controversy, but he stands to potentially gain from it.” That’s the very definition of hypocrisy. The Daily News and the political operatives from outside of the county will not have to deal with the fallout; we all will. The very Westchester residents George Latimer has been elected to serve.

The Daily News article reported Bowman’s support for Farrakhan’s inclusion in the mural, came during a public access TV interview last year with Clifton Earl Abrams, a Greenburgh activist who advocated for the creation of the painting and has defended the inclusion of Farrakhan in it. The mural, located under an I-287 overpass, depicts a range of Black figures from modern American history, including Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.

It went on to quote, Congressman Bowman in the interview, saying, “Regarding the minister, you know, he said many things that I fully disagree with, you know, period, but he is a part of Black history, you know? That’s a fact. And if the Greenburgh community​ — particularly that section of Greenburgh​, you know — supports the mural, then the mural​ should be there as is.​”

Bowman-who along with U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the African American History Act, on February 2, 2023- went on to say, “When you talk about the excluding of Black History from us, it also excludes it from other people, so they don’t know and understand about our history, but because they have been historically in positions of power, usually white men, they feel they can speak on anything they want with authority. The fact of the matter is with all things, it’s a bit more complicated than that. We are a nation that was founded by slavemasters, yet we celebrate Washington and Jefferson and others, they owned slaves and many of the white men who attended the constitutional convention to ratify the constitution were slave owners, but we celebrate them, we name buildings after them, and streets after than and holidays and al of that, so American History is complicated and routed in people who have done and said some horrific things. So the community drives decision-making at the local level, whether it’s a mural or education or anything else, so that should always be uplifted and respected.”

The Daily News article is a little misinforming by attempting to paint the picture that, Congressman Bowman is antisemitic for supporting the idea that Black People in that community should be able to put up a mural with their heroes that celebrates Black History the way we celebrate many of the flawed forefathers. The writer Michael Gartland only shared a portion of a quote from the entire, almost 30-minute interview to paint a narrative of a Black elected official who received outrage from the entire Westchester Jewish community, which we have documented isn’t completely true. The article was written with the express purpose of further driving Jewish voters to Bowman’s opponent, CE George Latimer.

It leaves out how much of the interview was about Black Pride, speaking truth to power, and teaching true African American History in public schools. African Americans have always been labeled anti-something for speaking up and being pro-Black. The bill Bowman and Booker reintroduced, the African American History Act is legislation that provides important resources to help educate the American public about the richness and complexity of African American history and the impacts of racism, white supremacy, and the struggle for justice on the fabric of America. Black Americans and those of the African Diaspora have made countless contributions since the founding of the United States. But the article manages to purposefully leave that out. It is a one-sided smear campaign falsely attempting to align Bowman to Minister Farrakhan and paint him as antisemitic to drive Jewish voters to the polls to vote him out. While Latimer has received outrage from some of the Black, progressives, and even the Jewish community and he did not appreciate the calling out of taking money from pro-Israel groups and organizations like AIPAC, and folks saying that this election is a referendum on Israel, he has no problem with the same divisive tactics he claims were used against him being used against Bowman as long as it leads to victory.

Rev. Michael Gerald, pastor at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Tuckahoe who recently abandoned his primary run for Bowman’s seat [Black Westchester]

To bring out a few Jewish leaders and Rev. Michael Gerald, a pastor at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Tuckahoe, who was appointed by Latimer as Deputy Commissioner of the Westchester Department of Corrections, is misleading. Rev. Gerald told The Daily News, “It is extremely unfortunate that Rep. Bowman again exercises his disregard for the community by advocating for the inclusion of a highly controversial figure in a painting.” In response, we say it is extremely unfortunate you are carrying water for those who want to unseat the first Black Congressman of CD16, which we are told does not make many in your congregation happy. White people always find a Black face to take down a Black leader or a pro-Black organization or group.

The inclusion of Minister Farrakhan on a mural celebrating the history and protests of African Americans should be as welcomed as the celebrations of our forefathers, who were notorious slavemasters who grace our currency and have streets and buildings in Black Communities around the country named after them. To deny Black People that right is hypocritical and to drudge up an almost two-year-old polarized issue that almost permanently divided our community is unacceptable. The Daily News owes Congressman Jamaal Bowman and the Black Community an apology or Black People should stop buying and reading The Daily News. We also have to ask CE Latimer if he really cares about the Black community the way he tells us he does over and over why he won’t denounce these tactics used by his supporters.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor claims in the article that Bowman doesn’t “really understand [how] the Farrakhan image is very hurtful to the Jewish community,” but does he understand that telling Black People who they are allowed to celebrate is very hurtful to the Black community. Does he agree with the drugging up of this issue that divided the communities he represents for the sake of unseating a Black Man from his congressional seat? Minister Farrakhan has nothing to do with the way Congressman Bowman is or isn’t serving CD-16. To try to make it about him to change the narrative from the innocent lives being lost in Gaza at the hands of Israel and those supporting that, who also support Mr. Latimer, is disingenuous.

Barry Sugar, president of the Jewish Leadership Council, told The Daily News, “America is facing a tremendous amount of challenges. To do something that’s more divisive doesn’t help anybody,” he said. “When you represent the people, you represent all the people.” We agree so why are you against Black residents being represented in a way they have never been before? Why aren’t you against The Daily News rehashing an issue that was so divisive to the community and Black-Jewish relations to discredit a candidate in an election?

But since he mentioned “all the people,” has Mr. Sugar ever spoken out on the atrocities that have happened to Black and Brown people like the killings of unarmed men like Jonathan Maldonado (Greenburgh Police), Kenneth Chamberlain (White Plains Police), and off-duty MVPD Christopher Ridley by Westchester County Police? Where was his voice on the racial inequality, African Americans face when it comes to things like housing and healthcare in Greenburgh, Westchester County, and the surrounding area? don’t remember reading quotes calling that out. Mr. Sugar is right, “America is facing a tremendous amount of challenges,” but where is your voice or Paul Fiener’s voice in all the things that are hurtful to Black and Brown people? Does Mr. Sugar think the reliving of the divisive issue for the sake of an election, helps the community? Someone should ask him that.

The 16th Congressional District currently has a Congressman who speaks up for issues that are hurtful to and affect Black and Brown people like never before and that should not be a threat to any other group of people or be used as a tactic to paint him as anti-anything for being pro-Black. He represents all of the people, but the problem may be he represents those who have never really been represented before.

Black Westchester, which delivers ‘The News With The Black Point Of View,’ strongly condemns the Daily News article and the political operatives behind it. The Daily News article was not about antisemitism; it is further proof of the anti-Black racism that is prevalent in Westchester, and in mainstream media, that does not get reported or spoken of and that’s REAL TALK!!!

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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