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Fulani apologizes for anti-Semitic remarks; contemplates run for NYC office

By Robert "Rob" Redding Jr.

Publisher

Aug. 9, 2007, 2:30 p.m. - Independent activist Lenora Fulani yesterday repudiated her own past remarks about Jews, while announcing her intentions of running for citywide office in New York.

"In light of that, I am repudiating my remarks of 18 years ago," Fulani said. "They do not express my feelings and deep concerns about the situation in the Middle East. I disassociate myself from them."

Fulani once wrote, "Jews had to sell their souls to acquire Israel," and are "mass murderers of people of color."

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She was ousted from the Independence Party of New York's State Executive Committee in 2005 for her remarks.   

"The situation in the Middle East at that time was extremely tense and polarized," she attempted to explain. "Thousands of lives had already been lost on both sides. Few imagined that it could have gotten worse. But it has. At the time, the Israelis were, to my eyes, intransigent with respect to recognition of the Palestinians and support for a two-state solution. I viewed the Israelis as the aggressors and the Palestinians as a colonized people subject to outside authority and occupation.

"My comments reflected my feelings about the situation during that time," she said. "I felt it important to stand up for the people I thought were singularly oppressed. The language I used was harsh and today I would call it excessive. But, even at the time, I never intended to be hurtful to anyone, and never intended to express anything demeaning or derogatory to Jewish people here or in Israel."  

Fulani, who has run for president in the past, said she is considering another run for public office in New York because she does not want to see the city's nonpartisan atmosphere undermined - once Mayor Mike Bloomberg, an independent, leaves office.

"In 2001, the people of this city inaugurated a new era of nonpartisan government," she said. "I am one of many New Yorkers who feel that the city is heading in a positive direction.

"And, at the same time, I am one of many New Yorkers concerned about the issue of where we go from here," she said. "In 2009, the city will have to make a decision about whether we return to the days of clubhouse control, of parties and partisans calling the shots, or whether we move ahead and build off of the independent foundation of the last six years. We've come here today out of a concern with that issue."

Fulani, who has not confirmed that she is eyeing the mayor's seat, said she has filed papers with the New York City Campaign Finance Board authorizing an exploratory committee. (Read her full statement)

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