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B’klyn Senator Compars The Gaza Pullout To Slavery

A Brooklyn politician running for district attorney has compared the evacuation of Jewish residents in the Gaza Strip to the experience of black Americans with slavery.

State Sen. John Sampson (D-East Flatbush) made the controversial comments while on a tour of Israel this month with Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park).

“This, in certain ways, is like slavery,” Sampson told Worldnet Daily last week. “It’s the same general concept … completely violating these Gaza residents’ civil rights and kicking them out of their homes.”

Sampson’s comments brought a swift response from Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who called the remarks “the height of arrogance.”

“For him to compare it to slavery, he either doesn’t understand what slavery is about or he’s totally ignorant of what is going on in Israel,” Foxman said.

“Israelis are making difficult decisions about life and death,” he said. “It’s like two Israeli members of Parliament coming to Brooklyn [and] telling them what laws to pass.”

Hikind supported Sampson’s statement, saying it was “on target” because as many as 9,000 Jews will be forced from their homes this summer.

Hikind, who wields considerable influence in his largely Orthodox Jewish district, refused to say whether he would endorse Sampson in the district attorney race.

Though Sampson also reportedly said he would “spread the word in America” when he returned, yesterday he referred a reporter to a campaign spokesman.

Although “the horrors of slavery are incomparable, in all these cases, people’s civil rights are being abused” because there is no public outcry, the spokesman said.

District attorney candidate Mark Peters lauded Sampson for making the trip, but said “we need to be very careful when making comparisons between slavery and other issues.”

The other candidates, including incumbent Charles Hynes, declined to comment.

Political experts said Sampson’s statement – likely an attempt to garner support with Jewish voters – may have hurt his overall cause.

“Politicians say dumb things sometimes, especially when they’re not on U.S. soil,” said political consultant Gerry O’Brien.

“There are two things people like to equate controversies with,” O’Brien said. “One is slavery, the other is the Holocaust. But the smart thing is to avoid it, because it offends people who were touched by either.”

Rep. Charles Rangel angered Jewish groups two weeks ago for saying the U.S. military involvement in Iraq was “just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed.”

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