The ex-Obama official is now facing charges for hate crime, stalking, and harassment.
In a video that has since gone viral, former Obama administration official Stuart Seldowitz, 64, was caught spewing hateful comments at a halal cart worker in New York. Now’s he’s being charged with a hate crime.
The incident happened at the Upper East Side food car on Second Avenue and 83rd Street. In the video, the ex-State Department official is recorded saying, “I’m gonna put big signs here that say, ‘This guy believes in Hamas,” “You’re a terrorist, you support terrorism,” and “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what, it wasn’t enough.”
Additional cell phone footage of the exchange show Seldowitz at the Adam Halal Food Cart shows him spewing incredibly offensive rhetoric meant to rile up the food cart attendant. Using a translator, Mohamed Hussein, 24, said the former government official was not a customer at the time, but came over to ask him where he was from. When Hussein replied Egypt, his translator claims,”The guy started telling him, you’re supporting Hamas.”
That’s when the food cart attendant started recording Seldowitz. The video does not show what led up to the intense interaction between the two.
News source CBS New York attempted to get in contact with Seldowitz, who has since alleged to other outlets that Hussein declared he supported what Hamas did and that’s what got him so upset.
However, this is a claim Hussein continues to rebuke.
“We would rather if he came and apologized instead of him trying to flip the story,” said Islam Moustafa, co-owner of the food stand.
“We have no problem with nobody. Don’t try to create problem. People could die for something like this,” said Yasser Nawer, another cart attendant.
Apparently, this is not the first time Seldowitz has interacted with the food cart in ways that continue to escalate. Nawer said Seldowitz approached the cart repeated to provoke them, something that he can’t wrap his head around given the growing tensions over the conflict in the Middle East.
“I don’t know what you’re trying to do, trying to say. Situation is very irritated anyway, we don’t need more spice in the situation,” he added.
The Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit dedicated to combating antisemitism and extremism, has documented a 316% surge in antisemitic incidents in the United States during the month following the war, as compared to the corresponding period in 2022.
In recent stories, celebrities of various backgrounds have also been called out for “insensitive” and “hateful” comments about the conflict, including comedians Pete Davidson and Dave Chapele, and actresses, Melissa Barrera and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Either way, we hope that the owners of the food cart can recover from this, and that Seldowitz can learn from the error of his ways.