A New York City Council candidate accused of anti-Semitism on Monday said he will no longer use the term “greedy Jewish landlords.”
“After discussions with my Jewish supporters, I have agreed to NO longer use the words: ‘Greedy Jewish Landlords,'” Thomas Lopez-Pierre tweeted.
Lopez-Pierre, who is trying to unseat Democratic Jewish incumbent Mark Levine in September 12 elections, has run on a platform against “greedy Jewish landlords,” although he denies that he is an anti-Semite.
Despite his tweet saying he would no longer use the term, his YouTube account still had a number of recently upload videos in which he uses the term, including one of him confronting Levine and another of him at New York’s Israel Parade.
He did appear however to remove the term from his campaign website, which previously said that “Jewish Landlords [own more than 80%] of the privately owned rental apartment buildings in Harlem/Washington Heights and are at the forefront of ethnic cleansing/pushing Black/Hispanic tenants out of their apartments.”
Despite claiming that the Jewish media are covering up a conspiracy funded by Israel for “greedy Jewish landlords” to conduct “ethnic cleansing” of black and Latino residents from Harlem, Lopez-Pierre has denied harboring anti-Semitic attitudes.
“Only now am I realizing that Jewish people can’t seem to separate themselves from each other,” he told JTA in an interview in April. “An attack on greedy Jewish landlords is perceived to be an attack on all Jews. And you know what? Too bad. If that’s the way the Jewish community wants to take it, too bad.”
“These Jewish landlords are using their ownership to engage in ethnic cleansing of black and Latino tenants,” he said. And he added that Jewish journalists choose not to report on it.
“If Jewish doctors are angry with me because I’m attacking greedy Jewish landlords, if Jewish social workers are upset with me because I’m attacking greedy Jewish landlords, too bad, I don’t care,” he said. ‘It’s not my job to care about their feelings.”
The Anti-Defamation League released a statement calling Lopez-Pierre’s statement a “deeply offensive anti-Semitic stereotype” and politicians from both parties have condemned his campaign.
Lopez-Pierre says he’s a licensed real-estate broker. He’s also behind a series of apparent business ventures in Harlem to promote African-American patronage of African-American-owned businesses, but it’s unclear how active any of them are.
At least one venture of Lopez-Pierre’s appears to have netted him some cash. According to the New York Post, he raised more than $5,000 with a crowdfunding campaign by pretending it was an effort to oppose him.