Barack Obama’s former National Security Council advisor smiled as he was perp walked after being charged with five counts for an Islamophobic attack on a halal street vendor. Stuart Seldowitz (pictured), 64, issued a half-hearted apology on Tuesday night for unleashing on the street cart owner in New York City amid the war between Israel and Hamas. An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to DailyMail.com Seldowitz was arrested and charged Wednesday night.
He faces two counts of aggravated harassment and three counts of stalking, one under the city’s hate crimes law, one for intent to cause fear and one for doing so at the victim’s place of employment. Seldowitz was seen being escorted out of the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with a grin on his face. It comes after shocking footage emerged this week of him telling 24-year-old Mohammad Hussein ‘if we killed 4,000 Palestinian children, it wasn’t enough’. He also asked if the victim ‘[Sexually assaulted] his daughter like Mohammed and even threatened to get him deported to Egypt during the sick tirade. The New York-based firm he was working with, Gotham Government Relations, ‘ended all affiliation’ with him and offered to represent the vendor in any lawsuits.
Speaking to City & State Tuesday night, Seldowitz, who was deputy director in the US State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999 to 2003, offered a brief apology. ‘I regret the whole thing happened and I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘But you know, in the heat of the moment, I said things that probably I shouldn’t have said.’ He said ‘I did have an argument with a food vendor. It is quite possible that it’s me. I mean, I’ve not seen the video, but I believe it’s probably me.’ But despite going on a rant regarding the vendor’s belief in the Quran, he doesn’t believe he has any problem with Muslims. ‘If I had to do it all over again, I would not have raised the religious aspect,’ Seldowitz said. ‘I don’t think I’m an Islamophobic guy. I’ve spoken up for equal treatment of Muslims on numerous occasions with numerous different people. You support killing little children,’ Seldowitz says and takes a photo of the vendor, telling him to smile. He asks him: ‘Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed did?’
Seldowitz refers to the man as a ‘rapist’ and calls him ‘ignorant’ for his lack of English, then going on a tirade about the Quran. ‘What do you speak? You speak Arabic, the language of the Quran, the holy Quran. That some people use as a toilet,’ he says. ‘What do you think of that? People who use the Quran as a toilet. Does it bother you? Does it bother you? Tell me the truth? You don’t speak English? That’s too bad.’ ‘That’s why you’re selling food in in a food cart, because you’re ignorant, but you should learn English. It’ll help you when they deport you back to Egypt.’ Seldowitz said that he’s had several arguments with the vendor at the cart, which an employee of the establishment confirmed to DailyMail.com Tuesday night. ‘Yes, I went back because I pass that food cart regularly and I went back and had other arguments,’ he explained.
Letitia James, Attorney General of New York, said on X: ‘This is disgusting, hateful, and New York won’t tolerate it. We won’t stand for Islamophobia or any kind of hate in our state.’ Gotham Government Relations claimed Seldowitz hadn’t worked there for years, though Vice claimed he was hired in 2022 as Foreign Affairs Chair. ‘I haven’t done work with Gotham for a very long time,’ Seldowitz claimed. ‘I had a high opinion of the people at Gotham up until I found out that they had issued this statement. I considered the people at Gotham to be friends, and I haven’t had a chance to speak to them, or to try to speak to them as to why they felt the need to issue this statement.’
The feeling appears to be mutual, as David Schwartz, the founder and president of Gotham Government Relations, said that Seldowitz was never an employee and he’ll help the vendors should they take him to court. ‘By the way, I’ll represent the food vendor pro bono if he wants to bring a lawsuit against Stuart Seldowitz,’ he said. ‘I’m absolutely outraged by this video.’ His LinkedIn page shows a stint as Acting Director of the National Security Council South Asia Directorate from February 2009 to January 2011 under President Obama. Seldowitz has also worked as a journalist – editing for Bloomberg News briefly – a strategist and a life insurance agent, according to his LinkedIn page.
However, Northwestern Mutual – whom he listed as a current employer on that page – said on X earlier Thursday: ‘We have confirmed this individual is not contracted by or affiliated with Northwestern Mutual.’ Left-wing journalist Matt Binder claimed that Seldowitz has served as an agent for the State Department under five different presidents. According to his bio at Gotham – which has since been removed – he is a three-time winner of the State Department’s Superior Honour Award. Tommy Vietor, host of popular liberal podcast Pod Save America and former spokesperson for Obama and the NSC, clarified his role in a post on X. ‘He was a state department employee for 30 years who got detailed to the NSC during the Obama administration, not a direct hire. But horribly embarrassing for the US government to be associated this guy in any way.’
A spokesperson for the State Department told DailyMail.com: ‘The United States unequivocally opposes racist language of any form.’ In the BitChute interview, he claims that people have a hard time understanding the conflict because of their inability to relate to the Arab and Muslim world. ‘Their culture, their religion, their history is so different than most of us.’ He adds that he believes Hamas, based on his readings of their charter, ‘their eventual goal is frankly the creation of an Islamic state and Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East and even beyond the Middle East.’ ‘Hamas is and was an organization that was not interested in reaching a peace agreement with Israel, not interested in a compromise, not interested in negotiating,’ he said. ‘They have a very clear view of the world that Israel must be destroyed, it must be replaced by a Palestinian state, it must be replaced by a particularly Islamist state. That is not just true of Israel.’
He added that Hamas had been training for the attack for over two years and called their plan ‘very sophisticated, very effective’ and that they were ‘pretty smart guys,’ who carried out the attack because Palestinians felt that the west had forgotten them in the wake of the Abraham Accords under President Trump. While he had some praise for the intelligence of Hamas, at one point in the interview he said: ‘We used to joke in my time in the State Department that the Middle East is quickly entering the 14th century’ He also says he was ‘very greatly surprised’ and ‘encouraged’ that ‘nobody’ in America or Europe was saying that what Israel had done in response is a war crime. At the time, only 1,000 people had been killed in Palestine DailyMail.com has reached out to Gotham and Seldowitz for comment.
Mohammad Hussein (pictured), 24, said on Wednesday morning that the harassment began two weeks ago, when he claims 64-year-old Seldowitz started targeting him at random, asking him where he was from and then scolding him about the war with Hamas in Israel and Gaza. Speaking in Arabic with his boss translating, Mohammad told DailyMail.com he feels ‘hurt’. ‘He’s scared. He is just a worker, now he’s fighting someone with connections and a lot of power,’ Islam Mustafa, the owner of the business, said. Mohammad said the incidents began at random on November 7. When DailyMail.com visited the cart on Wednesday, there were no pro-Palestine flags or posters there.
Owners insist they have never displayed any kind of political posters or messaging, and that they just want to ‘serve the community’. ‘We’ve been here for years and we have no issues with anybody. We have been here since the [Q] train opened so around six or seven years, and we’ve had zero problems. ‘Our staff have any criminal records, no issue with anyone, we’re all well-educated,’ he said. Seldowitz, he said, approached at random and started asking him where he was from. He then began berating him about the war, and accusing him of supporting Hamas. A customer called the NYPD but the business owners say the issue was largely ignored. Now, after a swell in public outrage and support for Mohammad, the NYPD is investigating. ‘We’re extremely upset because of the offensive vocabulary he used. It’s unfortunate that it happened. We don’t have any hate towards anybody. We have all respect for all religions and ideologies, we’re not here to feed that hate speech. How could a government official say that kind of stuff?’ Mustafa, the business owner, added.
In one video, he threatened Mohammad: ‘I’ll send your picture to my friends in immigration. The Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents. Does your father like his fingernails? He’ll take them out one by one.’ No hostages held by Hamas in Gaza will be released before Friday despite the two sides having agreed to a truce, Israel’s national security adviser has revealed. Officials say negotiations for the release of kidnapped Israelis are ‘advancing and continuing’, but the 10 women and children who were expected to be freed tomorrow will now not be released until Friday. It was not immediately clear if the deal between Israel and Hamas blew up or if the delayed release of hostages stems from a technical matter.
News of the delay broke just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed during a televised news conference to ‘rescue all hostages held by Hamas’ and ‘obliterate’ the terrorist group. Netanyahu, joined by the two other members of his special war cabinet, also revealed that following the four-day ceasefire, the war would resume and continue ‘until we achieve all our goals’. Israel’s goals are to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and return all 240 hostages held captive in Gaza. Last night, in a dramatic announcement Netanyahu’s office revealed that the ten kidnapped children and mothers who were supposed to be released tomorrow, ‘will not be released before Friday.’ ‘The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly,’ National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi said in a statement. ‘The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday.’
Hanegbi gave no further details and did not mention any change to the truce agreed with Hamas and approved by Israel’s cabinet early Wednesday, which an Israeli official earlier said would go into effect from 10am on Thursday. His statement also came just minutes after Israeli officials notified journalists that a media centre would open in Tel Aviv at noon on Thursday ‘to cover the return of the hostages’. Under the approved deal, Israel and Hamas agreed on a four-day ceasefire during which Hamas would free at least 50 of the hostages taken in their deadly October 7 attack. In turn, Israel would release at least 150 Palestinian prisoners and allow more humanitarian aid into the coastal territory after more than six weeks of bombardment, heavy fighting and a crippling siege. The hostages to be freed in the process are women and children, and the Palestinian prisoners are women and male detainees aged 18 and younger.
Israel said the exchange would take place in two phases. In a first step, 50 hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners are set to be released during the truce. If successful, a second phase could see 150 more Palestinian prisoners freed in exchange for another 50 hostages during an extended truce, the Israeli government said. Netanyahu, addressing the families of kidnapped Israelis on Wednesday, said that since the beginning of the war, he has not stopped thinking about them and their loved ones. He also reassured them that ‘we will rescue all hostages held by Hamas’. He also revealed that the truce deal was reached due to the exerted ‘massive military pressure’ on Hamas as well as diplomatic efforts from his government. He added: ‘I want to be clear. The war is continuing. The war is continuing. We will continue it until we achieve all our goals.’
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