November 22, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested career diplomat Stuart Seldowitz who has worked at the State Department & served as National Security Advisor under President Obama on one count of aggravated harassment in the second degree, harassment, hate crime/stalking, stalking to cause fear, and stalking at place of employment. The crime that he has been arrested for was not an isolated incident either, Seldowitz has been said to have spent at least a year maliciously harassing female Russian diplomats and even attempted to menace the dog of Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Stuart Seldowitz, a former senior political officer in the U.S. State Department, approached Q Halal Cart on 83rd and Second Avenue and launched into an Islamophobic tirade, attacking the operator’s faith and culture and accusing him of supporting terrorists. It was the first of several incidents over a two week period where he berated the operators of the street cart.
The vendors were said to be scared to speak up because they feared retaliation, according to a friend of theirs and although the NYPD has been called multiple times, apparently the local precinct stated that “there is nothing they can do because it is free speech”. “We never have any trouble with anyone,” said Sam, an Egyptian immigrant who works at the cart. “We have been nice to the homeless in the community too. Every day we give away free food when we have leftovers.”
Stuart Seldowitz, an advisor to Barack Obama, was arrested and charged with 5 charges, including a hate crime, after he appeared in a video clip insulting an Egyptian immigrant food truck owner in NYC, and directing anti-Islamic statements. pic.twitter.com/gKBzrb2U8C— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) November 23, 2023
The behaviour of Stuart Seldowitz is shocking especially considering he was acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate under Obama and was deputy director/senior political officer in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999 to 2003. More recently, he served as foreign affairs chair for Gotham Government Relations, which announced his new role in a press release in November 2022.
Seldowitz is also a senior consultant in humanitarian diplomacy for GDC Inc., a logistics company that services places impacted by war and natural disasters. In a Jerusalem Post article from July, GDC’s Chief Executive Officer Moti Kahana specifically called out Seldowitz as a key member of his team.
In a New York Times interview, he expressed regret for his comments and insisted that he was not Islamophobic. “I’ve worked with Muslims,” he told the Times, “I have many people who are Muslims and Arabs and so on, who know me very well and who know that I’m not prejudiced against them.”
He certainly showed prejudice against them on November 7th, when Seldowitz approached the food cart and launched into an Islamophobic tirade which was recorded by Sam’s co-worker Mohamed capturing Seldowitz attacking the vendors faith and culture and accusing him of supporting terrorists.
Seldowitz mentions his “friends in immigration” and says, “the Mukhabarat wants your picture,” referring to an Egyptian intelligence agency. “The Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents. Does your father like his fingernails? They’ll take them out one by one,” he continues, as the man he’s addressing repeatedly tells him to leave and says he doesn’t speak English.
Seldowitz repeatedly asks, “Did you rape your daughter like Muhammad did?” When the man again says he doesn’t speak English, Seldowitz calls him “ignorant.” “Muhammad, your prophet… He was a rapist,” he says.
Seldowitz then asks the man if he speaks Arabic, “the language of the Quran.” “The holy Quran that some people use as a toilet. What do you think of that, people who used the Quran as a toilet? Does it bother you?” he asks, laughing.
He then berates the man for not speaking English. “That’s why you’re selling food in a food cart, because you’re ignorant. But you should learn English, it’ll help you when they deport you back to Egypt and the Mukhabarat wants to interview you.”
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
“You support killing little children. You’re a terrible person,”
A second video shows Seldowitz holding up two buttons to the food cart’s windows, one says Israel on it; the other is hard to discern. “It’s not my fault that you pray to a criminal,” Seldowitz says when the food cart employee opens the windows. The employee asks Seldowitz to leave “please,” but Seldowitz refuses.
“I’m going to put up big signs here that say ‘This guy believes in Hamas,’” Seldowitz says and accuses the vendor of not having a permit or visa. When the vendor says he’s an American citizen, Seldowitz asks how he became a citizen and calls him a “terrorist.”
“You support killing little children. You’re a terrible person,” Seldowitz says. The vendor responds, “You kill children, not me.” Seldowitz says:
“If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough.”
his harassment of the Halal Cart vendor at 83rd and 2nd ave has been ongoing for two weeks.— Layla (@itslaylas) November 21, 2023
NYPD has been called multiple times, local precinct stated that “there is nothing they can do because it is free speech”. pic.twitter.com/6LYL40TTFK
In October, Seldowitz was interviewed about the Israel-Hamas war in an hour-long podcast by Amy Peikoff. Peikoff is former chief policy officer of Parler, a “free speech” social media network favored by right-wing users for its lack of content moderation.
He said Hamas was to blame for any Palestinian civilian deaths and said reports about the poor conditions in Gaza are exaggerated. “The Israelis will and have in the past done almost everything that can reasonably be expected to keep civilian casualties down as low as possible,” he said, describing the Israeli Defense Forces as a “moral army.”
“Responsibility for the civilian casualties can squarely be laid at the doorstep of Hamas.” Seldowitz also told Peikoff it’s “very hard” for Americans to relate to Palestinians “because their culture, their history, their religion and so on is so different than most of us.”
Malicious Harassment of a Female Russian Diplomat
But Seldowitz’s outburst was not an isolated incident. “In fact, he’s a personification of the marriage between rank bigotry and the axiomatic extremism of cross factional US foreign policy consensus.” according to the Grayzone, who says “Before his rise to internet stardom, Seldowitz spent at least a year maliciously harassing female Russian diplomats and even attempted to menace the dog of Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy.” Source
The ambassador told The Grayzone that seeing the footage of Seldowitz was a “revelation” for him because he and his team were “harassed by him for more than a year and we couldn’t identify him.” According to Polyanskiy, Seldowitz even tried to “harass” his dog while on a walk. “Which is too much for me,” the ambassador added.
The Grayzone has obtained footage of ex-State Dept official Stuart Seldowitz harassing Russian diplomats by the UN— The Grayzone (@TheGrayzoneNews) November 22, 2023
Now infamous for his viral Islamophobic rant, Seldowitz allegedly called Russian UN officials "whores" and even harassed a diplomat's doghttps://t.co/K976DS3yag pic.twitter.com/tcPsibv5Ih
Seldowitz was among a group of demonstrators against Russia at the United Nations following the launch of its military operation in Ukraine, and would stake out the entrance to the Russian mission in order to follow and insult diplomats leaving their workplace.
“He was persistent and he was personal. That’s the problem,” Polyanskiy insisted. “We don’t have problems with someone expressing concerns or disagreements with our policies, but when it becomes personal and a person really harasses and stalks women, insulting them, telling them they are ‘whores’ and all these things, this is something that we couldn’t put up with,” he told The Grayzone.
In one video obtained by The Grayzone, Seldowitz can be seen verbally assaulting a person taking a cigarette break outside the Russian mission to the United Nations. Seldowitz refers to the person’s female colleague as “whorish,” then approaches her and asks, “are you one of Putin’s prostitutes?”
According to Polyanskiy, the New York Police Department did nothing to stop Seldowitz or assist the diplomatic team in identifying their serial harasser, dismissing it as a free speech issue. Seldowitz only called it quits when “ordinary Americans just tried to reason with him and to tell him that he’s doing bad things.” Source
"If we killed 4,000 Palestinian children, we should have killed more…"— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) November 22, 2023
Who is Stuart Seldowitz?pic.twitter.com/5kywcN7t9P
The Government Mindset?
Seldowitz spree of racial abuse seems to have come to an end. Not only was he arrested, but also on Tuesday afternoon, Gotham Government announced on Twitter that it had cut ties with Seldowitz.
“Gotham Government Relations has ended all affiliation with Stuart Seldowitz, an individual who hasn’t contributed to our work in years. The video of his actions is vile, racist, and beneath the dignity of the standards we practice at our firm,” the statement said. His page has also been removed from the firm’s website.
Also on Tuesday, Kahana, an Israeli-American, from the GDC tweeted that he heard about a “confrontation” involving Seldowitz. “I do not know the specific details of the event, and I and GDC’s team condemn such language. Mr. Seldowitz has worked with us in the past and saved thousands of Muslim lives in Afghanistan and Syria. We will await further details,” he said.
Racist remarks and harassment from ignorant individuals is alway repugnant, but especially so when that individual has been in government positions.
Chay Bowes writes it is a “fascinating insight into the mindset at the U.S. State department.” This is not acceptable and those who are guilty of similar behaviour should not go unpunished.
Madeline Albright, who said the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi Children "Was worth it"— Chay Bowes (@BowesChay) November 22, 2023
Is Flanked by repugnant racist and harasser of women, Stuart Seldowitz, Ex National Security advisor to the Obama administration
A fascinating insight into the mindset at the US State Dept pic.twitter.com/QzqqdQDvgW