A former high-ranking Obama administration official has been arrested after being captured on video by a Columbia University student spewing Islamophobic language at a halal food vendor in New York City and saying the death of 4,000 Palestinian children in Gaza “wasn’t enough”.
Stuart Seldowitz, 64, who previously served as a deputy director of the US State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian affairs, was arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD) on preliminary charges of hate crime, stalking, and aggravated harassment.
A video was posted to X by Columbia student of, then unknown Seldowitz, captioned “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?”
The video shows Seldowitz taunting the vendor, asking him “Do you rape your daughter like Muhammed did”.
He went on to ask the vendor whether he spoke Arabic, “the holy language of the Quran”, maintaining that “some people use it as a toilet”, and asking whether this bothered him.
He went on to ask the man whether he was familiar with Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, better known as the Mukhabarat. “Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents,” Seldowitz remarked.
“Does your father like his fingernails? They’ll take them out one by one”, he added smiling.
The Muslim vendor replied saying he does not speak English and asked him to leave.
“You don’t speak English? That’s why you’re selling food in a cart. Because you’re ignorant”, Seldowitz replied.
After the video went viral, the man was identified as a high-ranking advisor to the Obama Administration, making the whole situation all the more appalling.
The 24-year-old vendor told the NYPD that Seldowitz had been harassing him for weeks. In fact, other videos surfaced of Seldowitz calling the vendor a “terrorist”, taunting him about his citizenship status, and accusing him of supporting Hamas.
“You support killing little children,” Seldowitz exclaimed, to which the vendor replied, “You kill children, not me”.
The former US official then went on to say “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian children, you know what? It wasn’t enough!”
After the situation became viral, another video was posted to X of a Jewish customer giving one of the workers at the Halal food truck a birthday cake.
This attack comes amid an escalation of tensions in the Israel-Palestine conflict which has further translated into an increase of xenophobia and vicious discriminatory attacks amongst the general public.
It has also been revealed that the vendor was not the only victim of Seldowitz’s verbal attacks. In fact, Russia’s UN ambassador reported that Seldowitz viciously harassed him, his staff, and his pet dog for over a year.
These allegations were accompanied by another video of Seldowitz calling Russian UN officials “whores”.
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