A former member of President Barack Obama’s Department of State was caught on video delivering an anti-Islamic rant at a New York City street vendor, and the video has already cost him a job.
Stuart Seldowitz, who was deputy director/senior political officer in Barack Obama’s U.S. State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999 to 2003, was identified as a smirking man on video harassing a Big Apple halal seller on the city’s Upper East side, according to City and State New York.
Seldowitz, a Democrat, more or less admitted that it is him on the video.
“I did have an argument with a food vendor,” Seldowitz told City & State on Tuesday. “It is quite possible that it’s me. I mean, I’ve not seen the video, but I believe it’s probably me.”
He also admitted that going after the seller’s religion was probably not the best move.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would not have raised the religious aspect,” he said of his anti-Islamic attacks.
This man wearing a green jacket was berating and harassing a halal cart vendor off 83rd and 2nd Ave in NYC. Does anyone know who this man is? Planning to report to the authorities. pic.twitter.com/GwklyXpsPH
— Layla (@itslaylas) November 21, 2023
Multiple videos show Seldowitz in different clothing at different times of day, so it appears that the argument was an ongoing issue causing repeated arguments that apparently went on for around two weeks.
this man is continuing to berate and harass the halal cart vendor. He ends the video with “if we killed 4,000 palestinian kids? It wasn’t enough”. pic.twitter.com/yhu4HSvIEZ
— Layla (@itslaylas) November 21, 2023
In one clip, Seldowitz asks the halal seller, “Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed did?” In another, he asks “You support killing young children?” He also asks if the vendor has a seller’s license, and adds, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what? It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough.”
Seldowitz was working with Manhattan-based lobbying firm Gotham Government Relations as the group’s Foreign Affairs Chair, but that relationship has now been severed as the firm cut ties with the former Obama official.
“Gotham Government Relations has ended all affiliation with Stuart Seldowitz,” the firm said in a statement posted to social media. “The video of his actions is vile, racist and beneath the dignity of the standards we practice at our firm.”
David Schwartz, the founder and president of Gotham Government Relations, also was quick to note that Seldowitz was not a direct employee of the firm, but was only an “affiliate.”
Schwartz also insisted that he would even represent the vendor against Seldowitz.
“By the way, I’ll represent the food vendor pro bono if he wants to bring a lawsuit against Stuart Seldowitz,” Schwartz added. “I’m absolutely outraged by this video.”
Seldowitz told City and State that he hasn’t worked with Gotham for some time, but said he was blindsided by the group’s statement.
“I haven’t done work with Gotham for a very long time,” Seldowitz said. “I had a high opinion of the people at Gotham up until I found out that they had issued this statement. I considered the people at Gotham to be friends, and I haven’t had a chance to speak to them, or to try to speak to them as to why they felt the need to issue this statement.”
Seldowitz also denied that he is Islamophobic.
“I don’t think I’m an Islamophobic guy,” he insisted. “I’ve spoken up for equal treatment of Muslims on numerous occasions with numerous different people.”
The former Obama operative said he regrets that “the whole thing happened, and I’m sorry. But you know, in the heat of the moment, I said things that probably I shouldn’t have said.”
New York Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul also blasted Seldowitz on social media.
Hochul added, “This is hateful, disgusting and unacceptable. Vile rhetoric like this has no place in New York, and we condemn it in the strongest of terms.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.