NY State Sen. Julia Salazar distances herself from pro-Hamas staffers

New York State Senator Julia Salazar distanced herself from online posts by two of her staffers that appeared to praise or endorse Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

But Salazar did not indicate that she would reprimand either of them and, on Saturday, condemned reporting on the posts as a “cynical hit piece.”

According to screenshots published by the New York Post earlier that day, Sarah Campbell, Salazar’s communications and policy director, wrote the phrase “by any means necessary” on her personal account on X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 7.

More than a month later, on November 12, she posted, “I don’t condemn Hamas, I condemn Israel. Who has reigned more terror: Hamas in the entirety of their existence, or Israel in just the last 30 days?”

The screenshot of the November 12 post showed that her account had been made private, so that only approved followers could see her posts. It has since been deleted.

Salazar speaking on a bill in the New York Senate chamber, March 2021 (credit: NEW YORK SENATE PHOTO / CC BY 2.0)

Chief of staff liked post that said the attack ‘really cheers me up’ 

The Post also reported that Isabel Anreus, Salazar’s chief of staff, liked an October 7 post that said, “The stuff happening in Palestine really cheers me up.” During the attack, Hamas terrorists killed approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 200 people captive. Anreus’ account is also now private.

“Her personal thoughts are not mine, and do not reflect me or my office in any way at all,” Salazar wrote. “I’m not going to allow anyone to wrongly pin another person’s reckless and completely unacceptable words onto me or my office.”

Salazar’s office did not respond to a request for further comment.

Salazar is part of Dem Socialist group that blamed Israel for Oct 7

Salazar, a Democrat who represents northwest Brooklyn, was elected to the State Senate as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America in 2018. Questions surrounding Salazar’s Jewish identity sparked controversy during the campaign. The senator’s district includes Hasidic neighborhoods in Williamsburg.

The Democratic Socialists of America’s New York City branch came under fire for endorsing a rally held in Times Square on Oct. 8, before Israel had fully launched its counteroffensive in Gaza, that backed the Palestinian “right to resist.” 

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America from New York and a Salazar ally, condemned the event, as did New York State’s Democratic Party leadership. Salazar co-authored a statement that did not mention the event by name but that said some rallies on the weekend of the massacre “failed to first acknowledged the fear, grief, death and destruction that was occurring.”

Since the start of the war, Salazar has repeatedly called for a ceasefire, criticized Israeli strikes on Gaza, condemned the Hamas attack and demanded the release of hostages held by Hamas. She posted that she was among the hundreds who were arrested at a Jewish-led rally calling for a ceasefire at Grand Central Terminal late last month. Her profile picture on X appears to be from a ceasefire rally. 

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