DSA backing for Council run
The political organization that backed Bernie Sanders for president is now setting its sights on the City Council campaign in Bay Ridge. The New York City Democratic Socialists of America Political Committee is launching an all-out effort to get Democrat Rev. Khader El-Yateem to the Council.
El-Yateem is a member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and if elected, would be the first Arab-American to ever serve on the City Council.
The DSA will hold a rally for E-Yateem on Saturday, June 10 2017, at the An Noor Center, 7114 Fifth Ave. in Bay Ridge at 1 p.m.
Hoping to build on the excitement surrounding the Sanders campaign in 2016, the DSA is planning to mobilize its 2,000 members to win a ground war to get El-Yateem elected, leaders said.
DSA leaders point out that El-Yateem has already raised more than $90,000 for his campaign to date and has refused to accept donations real estate developers.
“We will replace the corrupt mainstream ‘progressive’ politicians of this city with those who are actually accountable to the interests of the people. El-Yateem is Trump’s worst nightmare. He supports immigrants, is Arab-American and explicitly refuses to take money from developers,” said NYC-DSA Co-Chairwoman Rahel Biru.
El-Yateem, pastor of Salam Arabic Lutheran Church in Bay Ridge, is one of four Democrats seeking the party’s nomination to run in the general election in November in the 43rd Council District. The field of candidates includes Justin Brannan, Kevin Peter Carroll and Nancy Tong. The Republicans running for the council seat are Bob Capano, Liam McCabe and John Quaglione.
The council district covers Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights and includes parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach.
Councilmember Vincent Gentile, a Democrat, who has held the seat since 2003, cannot run for re-election due to the city’s term limits law.
DSA is solidly behind El-Yateem, according to Abdullah Younus, a DSA member who lives in Bay Ridge.
“For the first time in my community, we are seeing a candidate with a truly progressive vision. Khader El-Yateem has worked for years to build bridges in the Bay Ridge community, and has dedicated his life to its residents, regardless of their class, color or creed. He has been a vocal supporter of police reform, affordable housing and immigrant rights,” Younus said.
El-Yateem said he is grateful for DSA’s endorsement. “I am proud to be endorsed by DSA, and I am proud to be a member. Together, we will fight to end inequality, and work to ensure that everyone in this city is treated with dignity and respect,” he said in a statement.
Brooklyn DSA Political Committee
Abdullah Younus, an organizer for Democratic Socialists of America, says that the group’s New York City chapter received over a hundred applications for their support for city council races, eventually settling on two candidates. One of them is the Lutheran Rev. Khader El-Yateem, the first Palestinian Christian to run for city council in the city’s history. El-Yateem fit the Democratic Socialist platform on a few important platform issues — criminal justice reform, support of nonviolent protest of Palestinian occupation — but, most importantly, he singled himself out as the only candidate in his district from either side of the aisle to refuse money from real estate developers.
Now, El-Yateem has 60 socialists volunteering, knocking on doors and creating original videos for the campaign. DSA canvases for El-Yateem in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, every day, taking on 30 to 40 shifts a week.
“We can promise people an army,” Younus, who volunteers as DSA field director for El-Yateem’s campaign, said.
According to Younus, his organization’s involvement proved instrumental in garnering El-Yateem more money, more manpower and more petition signatures than any other candidate in NYC’s 43rd district.
The DSA inherits its model from the Sanders campaign — a loss ultimately, but one that gave birth to a new paradigm for political organizing. Duhalde identified two lessons mainstream Democrats can learn from Sanders’ campaign model — a model which shattered fundraising records and garnered Sanders unexpected wins in states like Michigan.
Support of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Khader El-Yateem supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement:
- “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.”
New York Immigration Coalition Endorsement
- “Immigrant Action is dedicated to supporting candidates and elected officials who will fight for immigrant communities and support humane immigrant policies,” Steve Choi, executive director of Immigrant Action, said in a statement. “These six candidates represent the values that Immigrant Action fights for.”
- “The group also endorsed Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez to retain his job; Carlina Rivera, a former staffer for Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, who is running for Mendez’s seat; Democratic Bronx District Leader Marjorie Velazaquez for Bronx Councilman James Vacca’s seat; sitting Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who is an incumbent; and Dylan Schwartz, a Democrat seeking to challenge Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli.
- “Carlina Rivera, Marjorie Velazquez, Dylan Schwartz and Rev. Khader El-Yateem, will all bring an immigrant-focused and fresh perspective to the New York City Council,” Choi continued. “The districts they are running to represent span four of the five boroughs of New York, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and Brooklyn, and showcase the diversity of immigrant communities and needs in New York City."
Claims against opponent Justin Brannan
"Supporters and staff for City Council candidate Khader El-Yateem of Brooklyn have accused his opponent, Justin Brannan, of failing to disclose campaign expenses to election regulators."
The complainants are Bay Ridge resident Abdullah Younus, a member of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America, an organization El-Yateem belongs to that has endorsed him for the seat and whose political committee has organized a full-blown endeavor to help him get elected; Brooklyn resident Kayla Santosuosso, El-Yateem’s campaign field director; and Bronx resident Andrew Smith, who stated on his Facebook and Twitter profiles that he is working for El-Yateem, the first Palestinian-American Christian ever to run for City Council.
National DSA endorsement
Democratic Socialists of America, August 12017
- Our national has an announcement: we are proud to endorse a new list of candidates across the nation.
- Khader El-Yateem, New York City Council
- Tristan Rader, Lakewood, OH, City Council
- Jabari Brisport, New York City Council
- Jon Grant, Seattle City Council
- Ginger Jentzen, Minneapolis City Council
- JT Scott, Somerville, MA Board of Aldermen
- Brooklyn Eagle, Democratic Socialists vow ground war to help elect El-Yateem By Paula Katinas
- Canvassing for Khader El-Yateem, accessed July 28 2017
- [https://mic.com/articles/183382/we-can-promise-an-army-the-democratic-socialist-plan-to-help-progressives-win-america-back#.DC5FO5bXB MIC Jack Smith IV Published 6h ago on Aug. 7, 2017 “We can promise an army”: The Democratic Socialist plan to help progressives win America back Jack Smith IV “We can promise an army”: The Democratic Socialist plan to help progressives win America back]
- Palestinian Democrat Running for NYC Council Announces ‘100 Percent’ Support for BDS, accessed July 28 2017
- Immigrant Activist Group Backs Palestinian Candidate for City Council, accessed July 28 2017
- Brooklyn City Council Candidate Accused of Failing to Disclose Campaign Expenses, accessed July 28 2017