New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang apologized on Wednesday for his earlier comments in support of Israel after progressives launched a hashtag campaign on Twitter accusing him of supporting genocide.
On Monday, Yang tweeted that he stood with “the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists.”
I'm standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists. The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.
— Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) May 10, 2021
“The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere,” he added.
The tweet sparked a firestorm of backlash and the creation of the hashtag “#YangSupportsGenocide.” On Tuesday, pro-Palestinian activists confronted him on the campaign trail in Queens over his tweet, according to the New York Post.
A local Muslim group also canceled an event with Yang to give out food to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, a holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
On Wednesday, Yang walked back his support after discussions with longtime volunteers who “felt that my tweet was overly simplistic in my treatment of a conflict that has a long and complex history full of tragedies.”
— Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) May 12, 2021
He wrote that his volunteers felt his earlier post “failed to acknowledge the pain and suffering on both sides.”
“They were, of course, correct,” Yang wrote. “I mourn for every Palestinian life taken before its time as I do for every Israeli.”
“Support of a people does not make one blind to the pain and suffering of others,” Yang added.
While Yang’s earlier tweet drew criticism from progressives, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) who rebuked the tweet as “chest-thumping,” the Democrat received support from the GOP.
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) tweeted: “Bravo to Yang for opposing the rabidly pro-Hamas & anti-Israel attacks from fellow Dems Omar & Tlaib,” referring to Representatives Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), both of whom are part of the progressive “Squad” with Ocasio-Cortez.
Yang, an entrepreneur who ran an unsuccessful bid for president in 2020, is the front-runner in a deep pool of candidates for the June 22 mayoral primary.