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September 13, 2017

Why Khader El-Yateem Lost the City Council Election…

Khader El-Yateem wanted to be a councilman for Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. Yesterday, he lost the election and I am sure Reverend El-Yateem and his friends  will blame racism because it’s easy to place the blame when you lose.


Khader El-Yateem didn’t lose because of racism. Bay Ridge residents has always supported the best candidate for the job, regardless of race.


And that’s what I am writing about today – not racism, but the call to end labeling everyone who doesn’t agree with you, as a racists.


At the start of his campaign, El-Yateem announced that he supported BDS and while he claimed to support all the things that “good democrats” do,  BDS was the only topic he had publically spoken out against. El-Yateem even has a Youtube video about it.  To a Palestinian, that would be good news, but to a Bay Ridge resident, this placed El-Yateem in the same category as the self-serving politicians we have come to know. The city councilman for this area has a lot of local problems to deal with and no time to deal with Palestine’s problems. This alone turned many voters off.  Working for a group that suppports BDS would be more effective than using a NYC  Council member position. El-Yateem thinks America should get involved in this, most Americans want America to handle domestic affairs and stay neutral with other countries. 


Being a Lutheran priest probably didn’t help El-Yateem either in this race because people don’t want the church interfering in politics.  Each time #TeamEl-Yateem’s field director, Kayla Santosuosso mentioned El-Yateem’s church connection, I cringed and realized she didn’t understand the Democratic Party. 


Then there was the Socialist Party thing. Older Democrats want other Democrats to represent them – not socialists. Jobari Brisport ran under the Green Party and didn’t have success with that either. Socialism has failed all over the world, but El-Yateem wanted to push it on Bay Ridge. When his campaign became more about Socialists and less about Bay Ridge, people were turned off.  People who  live in Bay Ridge just want a Councilman who can get some things done here. During the election, we found out El-Yateem fooled those silly Socialists because although he took pictures holding signs for Bernie Sanders, Reverend El-Yateem  didn’t vote for Bernie Sanders. 


Khader El-Yateem saw supporters like Assemblywoman Pam Harris disappear AND HE REMAINED SILENT.  Why not call her out for playing politics? No one on Team El-Yateem spoke up about this.  Instead Team El-Yateem lashed out at Justin Brannan because Brannan received the support from unions  and Tish James.  Everyone who knows Pam Harris knew she wouldn’t be able to support a BDS candidate because she is backed by Councilman Mark Treyger, who is a member of the Jewish Caucus of City Council.  I think Team El-Yateem was a little shocked by some of the news that came out about Father K. Team El-Yateem couldn’t respond to any of the negative things that came out about El-Yateem. We were curious if they were more shocked that he never voted for Bernie Sanders or that money intended for a drug treatment place in Bay Ridge never received it? On Twitter, I asked  #TeamEl-Yateem supporters what happened to the money and no one could explain it. 


The Muslim Democratic Club of NY probably thought they had Pam Harris’ endorsement locked up for El-Yateem because they supported Harris in the last election. All learned that there is no ‘quid pro quo’ and that politics is the name of the game with her and her cronies.  When Harris ran for election, I questioned the head of the Muslim Democratic Club’s support for her on Twitter. After no response, I tweeted again two days later – again, no response. Apparently,  either Murad didn’t know what to say or he simply didn’t want to speak to a  women or non-Muslim about politics.  This is a problem in the Muslim community that no one can talk about. Strangely, the MDC pushed a Lutheran priest as their choice candidate, when they had women in their community who have been leaders for years (yes, other than Linda). 






The same man who didn’t want to speak to me, works for the Immigration Advocacy Group and that organization endorsed El-Yateem. When people aren’t fair to immigrants, El-Yateem said he would fight. The immigration advocacy group didn’t even interview the other candidate who was an immigrant as well, Nancy Tong. Was Tong not interviewed because she was a woman? Or was she not the right nationality for the advocacy group?   Did El-Yateem fight for fairness or stand up and say their endorsement wasn’t right if Tong hadn’t been interviewed?  No. He was silent.And this blog wrote: Do some immigrant rights matter more than others? Team El-Yateem didn’t want anyone to report that. The strange thing is  I didn’t see any Bay Ridge women from the Woman’s March  standing up for Nancy Tong or advising El-Yateem to reject the unfair nomination……oh yeah that wouldn’t happen because one of the leaders of the Woman’s March supported El-Yateem. 


I expected El-Yateem, as a  Lutheran pastor to speak out against people on his team who weren’t being honest about Justin Brannan. Brannan’s worked hard for this community for years. When El-Yateem supporters went to people’s homes, they weren’t talking about El-Yateem’s accomplishments. They bashed Justin Brannan. There is no reason residents should have heard anything about Brannan from El-Yateem’s  staff.  Finally at the end of El-Yateem’s campaign, I ran into an El-Yateem campaigner handing out flyers. I listened intently as he told me that El-Yateem was running for City Council. Then he told me lies about Brannan. I didn’t stop him because I wanted to ask him about the money that went missing from the rehab. The campaigner told me, “El-Yateem brought the money to the rehab and the woman lied because she wants another candidate.”  That simply is not true.   Did El-Yateem know his team was saying these things or was this the Socialist Party pushing saying anything to push for a win?  How will Reverend Khader El-Yateem undo this?   


Some publications were trying to say that this was the first time a Palestinian was ran for a position. Yet, Linda Sarour ran for Democratic Female County Representative in 2016.  


Each press release that Team El-Yateem released, reminded me of the nonsense this community gets from Nicole Malliotakis. We don’t need press release politicians using our papers to print their selfies.  When I heard about The Bay Ridge Unity Task Force,  I went to research it. Although the name sounds good, the group didn’t live up to that name. How could anyone think eating breakfast at a church or mosque one day a year would solve the problems of diversity? Why would anyone accept that as a “task force” – especially Muslims in Bay Ridge? But not one called the Task Force crew out for taking photos, eating bagels and doing nothing.  


And when I saw Brannan’s name was picked first and El-Yateem’s name was picked last, I thought, “Oh no, another thing for him to blame when he loses.”





And let’s talk about the drug rehab that wasn’t funded…….when an old friend of El-Yateem’s  said to the media that El-Yateem didn’t fund the drug rehab, why didn’t El-Yateem correct that?  Instead El-Yateem went after the woman’s character and said she was minimizing his work with: “But for my work in helping to make this happen to be erased, as well as for the work of other Arab community leaders to be erased, would be a shame.”  Basically, El-Yateem wanted people to believe that the rehab was saying this because he was Arab – That’s a cry towards racism, rather than addressing the missing money. This is not okay. We have people dying from overdoses. If you gave your word about supporting a group and the money was raised, why not provide it to her? Not one Team El-Yateem supporter who lives in Bay Ridge thought it was strange that the man they were pushing into the council seat didn’t give the money to the organization.


I found it strange that a few men and a woman jumped up to be a councilperson for Bay Ridge, but have remained silent over certain situations in Bay Ridge and either never or hardly ever voiced their indifference to decisions made by local politicians like Marty Golden and Nicole Malliotakis.  While illegal conversions are a problem, most candidates didn’t say anything about this before the election.Then when they run for office, they want to pretend they always supported that issue. El-Yateem’s staff shouldn’t have been surprised to see unions go with Brannan. Brannan has been supporting unions for years and his twitter acct can back that up. He’s even walked picket lines in Bay Ridge with some unions.  We have never heard or seen  El-Yateem support unions, except right before this election. On election night, El-Yateem told the Socialists that he learned the song Solidarity Forever (psst, Socialism isn’t anything like a union)


As far as I could see, Vinnie Gentile was inclusive and invited Khader El-Yateem into his events and to Community Board 10. Yet, El-Yateem and his staff bashed Gentile. 


Finally, I didn’t see any #CD-43 Democrat candidates congratulate Justin Brannan or offer him their support publicly (maybe they did privately?). A real Democrat and classy person would have (like this). It’s an election and when you lose, you brush yourself off and move on. Even Bob Capano went over to congratulate John Quaglione yesterday.


Today El-Yateem retweeted a comment in which some idiot who doesn’t know Bay Ridge called Justin Brannan the ‘machine candidate’……that’s just being a bad loser and a poor example to young people who voted for you.  Disappointments happen in life and they are followed by other amazing moments…..God works it out that way.  If the neighborhood was important to you yesterday, it should be just as important today and Brannan is going to need everyone’s help to win this.  


Some people want to congratulate El-Yateem. I don’t think his run was an honest one. WHY? I ran into an old acquaintance after the election. I said, “Hey who did you vote for in the election?” He said, “The priest.”  I said, “I didn’t know you were into Socialism. In fact, I would have though that went against your beliefs.”  Him: Socialism? Whose a Socialist? I wouldn’t vote for a Socialist. It turns out that someone on #TeamElyateem went to my friend’s house and said some convincing words, some untrue items about Brannan and left out that El-Yateem was a socialist with a BDS push.



Update: Ross Barken wrote about how the Brooklyn Democratic Machine’s Losses Could Sway the Speaker Election



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