Anthony Weiner was back at New York City’s Israel Day Parade this week, using the annual procession to promote his bid for the mayor’s office. The reaction from participants was mixed at best, with many in the crowd heckling the disgraced former congressman with taunts related to the Twitter scandal that prompted his resignation. But there were others who offered Weiner their unconditional support, recalling his long record of aggressive pro-Israel activism, a history that ranges from leading calls to subject Gaza Freedom Flotilla activists to a criminal investigation to claiming in a public debate that the Israeli occupation did not exist.
Anthony Weiner at the “Celebrate Israel Parade” in New York City
on Sunday, June 2. (Photo: Andrew Renault/Polaris)
Though Weiner is far from the only New York Democrat who has relied on demagogic pro-Israel appeals to propel their ambitions (at a March, 2002 pro-Israel rally, Hillary Clinton proclaimed that the 9/11 attacks originated “from the same well of hatred and evil that stalks Israel”), he has been one of the most consistently extreme. Early in his career, as a young New York City Councilman and protege of Senator Charles Schumer, Weiner joined a rally against the Oslo Accords that devolved into a festival of incitement against Yitzhak Rabin, then Israel’s Prime Minister.
The rally, which took place on December 13, 1993 in New York, was organized by a far-right pro-Israel millionaire named Manfred Lehmann, who headed a group called the World Council for Israel. Weiner accepted Lehmann’s invitation to speak, joining the longtime Jewish Defense League terror cell leader and NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind on stage before a crowd of 300.
Also speaking at the rally was Sam Domb, a Likudnik businessman who had described Rabin as “a man seemingly devoid of honor, self-respect, compassion, common sense and sense of history,” and who accused the Israeli Prime Minister of “spiritually destroying the Jewish people.”
According to a December 14, 1993 report in the Mideast Mirror, “The vocal crowd carried homemade placards bearing mottos such as, ‘Don’t turn Israel into another Lebanon,” and ‘Rabin is a traitor.’”
Political science professor Ofira Selikar published a similar account of the demonstration in her book, Divided We Stand: American Jews, Israel, and the Peace Process. According to Selikar, “some participants described Rabin as ‘worse than Hitler” and demanded that he be killed.” There is no record of the remarks Weiner made at the rally.
Less than two years after the demonstration, on November 4, 1995, a Jewish fanatic named Yigal Amir acted on the calls to kill Rabin, assassinating the Prime Minister at a rally in Tel Aviv.
Rabin’s career ended in a single gunshot, but Weiner’s was just beginning.