A group of Jewish elected officials in New York gathered Monday afternoon to denounce city councilman and Democratic candidate for Congress Charles Barron for his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments over the past few years. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:

Ex-Mayor Ed Koch, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), City Councilman David Greenfield and state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, among others, gathered in front of the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in downtown Battery Park at a news conference Monday to call Barron, a Brooklyn Democrat, an “enemy of the State of Israel” and the New York Jewish community....

The politicians at Battery Park expressed support for Jeffries and called Barron an “anti-Semite,” “hateful” and a “bigot.”

Barron has compared the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews during World War II. He also has publicly praised foreign dictators such as the late Muammar Gadhafi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

“To compare Israel to Nazis, calling what Israel’s doing genocide? Israel’s trying to survive in a tough neighborhood,” Nadler said during the news conference, according to Politicker. The longtime congressman added that Israel is “not doing anything like Nazis. To even put them in the same universe is a disgrace to the English language.”

Nadler said Barron’s election to Congress, “to some extent would legitimize this kind of anti-Semitic discourse, and we don’t need that.”

Barron reportedly dismissed the denunciations from his fellow Democrats as well as the claims that he is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic:

“I don’t care what they said. I am not responding to them, is my answer to you. I am speaking to the people in my district and they don’t call me that. They raise questions about the quality-of-life issues. They are trying to distract me and have me respond to Dov Hikind and Ed Koch and Jerry Nadler. They don’t even live in the district, know the district or represent the district,” he said.

Asked if whether or not a candidate was in fact anti-Israel was relevant to a campaign, Mr. Barron again refused to answer, and accused Mr. Nadler, Mr. Koch and Mr. Hikind of doing something he was often accused of–generating a phony controversy to weaken a political opponent.

“I am not responding to those folks. I am responding to the people in my district, no matter how many different ways you try to ask the question or get a rise out of me to get some good copy, it is not going to happen. The people in my district will determine what the seruious issues are– not you, not Koch, not Dov Hikind, not Jerry Nadler. When I met with the Russian-Jewish press no one aske me any of those questions,” he said. “And I believe that because I am doing well in some of those interviews and with that community, and they didn’t expect to me to do well, they are coming out with these extreme things.”

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