Bomb-throwing Charles Barron may have met his rhetorical match.
The Brooklyn councilman known for his incendiary remarks against Israel and white people has a militant Jewish group working to upend his congressional campaign.
The Jewish Defense Organization—which runs a paramilitary training camp in upstate New York and whose leader, Mordechai Levy, was once accused of threatening to kill the Rev. Al Sharpton—is portraying Barron as a “black Nazi” and the “black David Duke” to Russian Jews living in the Eighth District.
Barron “hates Jews, Israel, whites and wants to burn down America!!!” says a flier being circulated in Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Manhattan Beach. Last week, the group—whose logo is a Star of David emblazoned with a machine gun—held a rally on the Brighton Beach boardwalk to denounce Barron, a former Black Panther from East New York. Hundreds gathered, according to organizers.
“This man is unfit to hold any office, period,” a spokesman said.
Barron refused to comment on the group, saying instead that he was wholly focused on issues such as Medicaid, veterans’ benefits and college tuition assistance.
“We have crises in this community,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and address something that doesn’t address those crises.”
Although the group has not formally endorsed Barron’s Democratic primary opponent, Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a JDO spokesman made it clear that it prefers him.
“We hope that Barron loses and that, God willing, Jeffries wins,” the spokesman said. A Jeffries campaign spokeswoman said, “Hate and extreme rhetoric have no place in our society, and we denounce these actions. The organization at issue should stay out of the race.”
One political consultant predicted that Jeffries could benefit from the attacks on Barron by increasing turnout in the Jewish portion of the district. But given that many Russian Jews are registered Republicans and can’t vote in the primary, the effect could be muted.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, who recently denounced Barron as a “viper” and an “anti-Semite,” said the JDO’s fliers may cross the line.
“I personally agree with those who believe you don’t invoke the images of Nazis when you’re dealing with anti-Semites,” Koch said. “So if they go a little over the top, I think steady heads in that community should suggest they lowball it.”