BAY RIDGE, Brooklyn — Nerdeen Kiswani, 24, was born in Jordan but has spent most of her life, 22 years, in the thriving Palestinian community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
“I’m apparently a figment of his imagination,” Nerdeen Kiswani, a member of the group “In Our Lifetime” told PIX11 News, referring to New York Councilmember Kalman Yeger’s anti-Palestinian tweet. “Even though I’m Palestinian, how can I be standing here if you say I don’t exist,” Kiswani added.
Nerdeen and other Arab and Muslim leaders gathered in front of the Islamic society of Bay Ridge to call on councilmember Kalman Yeger to apologize for his tweet in which he said “Palestine does not exist.”
“He should resign from city council. These sentiments are rooted deep. You just don’t go on don’t go on Twitter and accidentally say that,” The councilmember represents Borough Park, Kensington and Bensonhurst and they have large Palestinian populations,” She added.
Others at the new conference applauded Mayor de Blasio and council speaker Corey Johnson for criticizing Yeger’s tweet.
And many called on the Councilmember to apologize and step down from the city council immigration committee.
“We cannot accept anything less than an apology to our community and also the removal from that committee,” Cheikhahmed Mbareck, Arab American Federation executive director, said at a news conference.
After pro-Palestinian demonstrations at Yeger’s Borough Park Office and counter demonstrations by those waving Israeli flags, the protests moved to Times Square on the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return, commemorating the six-week campaign of Palestinian protests in the Gaza Strip last year.
“We want an apology from Kalman Yeger because he has been completely racist to the Palestinian and Muslim community living in New York,” Rokeya Mohammed, a demonstrator and member of the group “Within Our Lifetime”, told PIX11 News.
Efforts to get an answer from Councilmember Yeger about an apology went unanswered.