A former advisor to President Barack Obama has been arrested after making Islamophobic remarks against the children of the Gaza Strip to a Halal food cart vendor in New York City.
64-year-old Stuart Seldowitz, was arrested on preliminary charges of hate crime, stalking, second-degree aggravated harassment, stalking causing fear, and stalking at employment on November 22, the New York Times reported citing police sources.
The arrest came after a 24-year-old Mohammad Hussein, vendor of Q Halal Cart filed a complaint of aggravated harassment with police, local ABC affiliate WABC reported.
Videos of the incident were shared widely on social media platforms of Seldowitz on November 7 accusing Hussein of supporting Hamas and berating him for not speaking English.
Seldowitz allegedly harassed the vendor with flashing lights and stickers, then unleashed hatred, calling him a “terrorist,” questioning his nationality, and claiming to know the food truck owners.
In one of the video clips, Seldowitz appeared saying, “Did you rape your daughter like Muhammad did?” In another, he says, “Killing 4,000 Palestinian children was not enough.”
He added, “We will put up big signs here saying that this man is a supporter of Hamas.”
He said in another video clip, “The Mukhabarat [the intelligence agency] in Egypt will get your parents. Does your father like his fingernails? They’ll take them out one by one.”
He then holds up his phone, says, “Smile for me,” and laughs.
Watch the videos below here
In an interview with The New York Times, on Tuesday, November 21, Seldowitz said, “I regret the whole thing happened and I’m sorry… In the heat of the moment, I said things that probably I shouldn’t have said.”
“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.”
Seldowitz served as acting director for the National Security Council South Asia Directorate and senior political officer in the State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs.
Since November 2022, he has been working as the Head of External Affairs at Gotham Government Relations.
After the spread of his videos, “Gotham” announced the end of its relationship with Seldowitz.
“Gotham has terminated all affiliation with Stuart Seldowitz, an individual who has not contributed to our work in years,” it said in a statement on X.