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In a Monday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Mayor Eric Adams falsely accused the Democratic Socialists of America of displaying swastikas and calling for the extermination of the Jews – and some within the organization are accusing the mayor of defamation.

“It really, I think, was despicable,” Adams told co-host Joe Scarborough. “While our Jewish brothers and sisters were mourning the immediate aftermath of the slaughter that we saw in Israel, that, you had the DSA and others carrying swastikas and calling for the extermination of Jewish people. That's not acceptable.”

It was not immediately clear what the mayor was referring to. There is no evidence that any DSA members – many of whom are themselves Jews – have carried swastikas or called for the extermination of Jewish people.



There is no love lost between the mayor and DSA. The mayor has frequently criticized the organization, its political positions and the elected officials that it has endorsed. At a fundraiser in 2021, he reportedly said, “I’m no longer running against candidates. I’m running against a movement. All across the country, the DSA socialists are mobilizing to stop Eric Adams.”

Jeremy Cohan, the co-chair of DSA’s New York City chapter, blasted Adams’ comments in a text message to City & State.

“As a DSA member, and as a Jew who lost nearly a whole generation of his family in the Nazi Holocaust, I am revolted by this defamation,” he wrote. “At a time of immense grief and fear for our community, and a process of ethnic cleansing unfolding in Gaza, public officials have a special obligation to ensure their words are factually accurate, not to mention humane and compassionate…His absurd attempts to spread lies and mislead the public will not deter us, or any New Yorker, from standing on the right side of history.”

There are also nascent discussions within the organization about whether the mayor’s comments could be grounds for a defamation suit, a source in DSA told City & State.

Progressives outside of DSA also condemned the mayor’s MSNBC comments.

“Our community is suffering immense trauma,” left-wing group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice wrote on X. “Every synagogue in NYC is overwhelmed with grief & pain. And now we have to contend with cynical politicians like Eric Adams trying to weaponize our pain to make headlines, enabling hate-based violence from Bay Ridge to Israel/Palestine,” referring to the assault of a man who had yelled “Free Palestine” in southern Brooklyn.

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