Brooklyn Assembly Member Diana Richardson has vehemently denied making anti-Semitic remarks at a community board meeting in her district, as a firestorm envelops over her alleged remarks.
The New York Post reported on April 4 that Richardson, the daughter of Caribbean immigrants, who represents the 43rd Assembly District in Brooklyn, made the alleged remarks at Board 17 meeting.
According to the Post, Richardson “faulted Jews for gentrifying in her district,” which includes East Flatbush, Flatbush, Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
During a rezoning talk, the Post reported that “a board member complained that people constantly ring her doorbell to ask if she’s interested in selling her home.”
“It must be Jewish people,” the Post quoted Richardson as allegedly responding, reporting the quote from Lew Fidler, a former City Council member, who is Jewish and attended the meeting as a representative of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“As a Jew, I found that to be offensive,” Fidler told The Post. “That was dripping with anti-Semitism. That’s when smoke came out of my ears.”
But Richardson said in a statement that, “as a public servant to a district that serves as a cultural melting pot, I have had the opportunity to work with an esteemed group of rabbis, pastors and community leaders.
“It has come to my attention that in a conversation about gentrification, the New York Post stated that I said, ‘It must be Jewish people.’
“I did not make these remarks; these allegations are false,” Richardson said. “As a passionate leader who values individuals on a human level, I condemn hate, anti-Semitism and racism.
“I will continue to stand with each and every family, group, and leader that I represent. I am humbled by the support of the following community leaders, who truly understand my heart for tolerance, inclusivity and togetherness,” she added.
In defending Richardson, former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, said: “As a colleague in the New York State Assembly, but more importantly as a close personal friend, I have known Diana to be a thoughtful, understanding and inclusive representative who has worked tirelessly to represent every family and resident of her district.
“Her passion for public service and commitment to the community come straight from the heart and her unwavering advocacy is sincere and unwavering,” he added.
Rabbi Eli Cohen, executive director of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council, also came to Richardson’s defense.
“It seemed clear to me from the reports that it was not the Assembly Member who made the offensive comment,” he said. “I accept her clear denial.”
Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, founder of the Jewish Future Alliance, Crown Heights said: “I believe that the New York Post reported #fakenews.
“Assembly Member Diana Richardson has always been a friend to our community,” he said. “She has stated publicly on multiple occasions that gentrification is about economics not race.”