Chuck Schumer Releases Video That Features Him Alongside BDS Supporter

Assemblyman Zohran Kwame Mamdani has spoken out against US aid to Israel

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and N.Y. assemblyman Zohran Kwame Mamdani (D.) / Twitter
September 22, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Tuesday released a pro-union video that features him alongside a New York state assemblyman who supports the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Schumer and Zohran Kwame Mamdani (D.), an assemblyman from Queens, released a two-minute video in support of the 25,000-member New York Taxi Workers Alliance. Schumer and Mamdani spoke out against what they said are predatory loans for taxi medallions in New York City.

A self-described democratic socialist, Mamdani supports various left-wing causes, including BDS and the movement to defund police departments. He has called BDS "a righteous movement for liberation" and has spoken out against U.S. aid to Israel. Mamdani at a rally this year criticized elected officials for accepting taxpayer-funded trips to Israel. He also blasted officials who march in parades in support of Israel.

"We ought to let them know that there are three letters that we have as an answer to what's happening in Palestine, and it's 'BDS,'" Mamdani said at a May 12 rally.

Schumer, who is Jewish, has been a staunch opponent of the BDS movement. He cosponsored legislation in March 2017 with Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) to protect state and local governments that cut ties with companies that boycott Israel. He called BDS an anti-Semitic movement in 2018. Schumer has also repeatedly marched in the pro-Israel parades that Mamdani decried this year.

Though Schumer and Mamdani are at odds on the BDS issue, the Senate leader has in recent months courted the left wing of his party to ward off a potential primary challenge next year. Schumer has held a series of meetings with activists in New York and Washington to burnish his progressive credentials, the New York Times reported. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said last month that she has not ruled out running against Schumer, who is seeking his fifth term.

The offices of Schumer and Mamdani did not respond to requests for comment.