(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) The New York chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) came under fire after posting a flier to promote a protest targeting House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. The poster featured an image that some critics found disturbingly racist.
The DSA — an activist organization closely associated with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — announced plans for a protest outside Jeffries’s Brooklyn office using a poster that included a depiction of a watermelon.
This imagery drew swift attention and criticism due to historical racial connotations associated with watermelons.
“Why was @RepJeffries sharing the stage with far-right pastor John Hagee at yesterday’s ‘March for Israel’? Ask him yourself on Friday!,” the DSA proclaimed on Twitter, featuring the poster.
The DSA’s Twitter post promoting the event quickly scathing rebukes from users on the platform.
So NY DSA chose to highlight the black house minority leader with a watermelon on a flyer.
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) November 16, 2023
“So NY DSA chose to highlight the black house minority leader with a watermelon on a flyer. This is @AOC’s DSA by the way, no big deal,” conservative writer Stephen L. Miller said.
Another Twitter user echoed Miller’s sentiments, saying, “Let’s talk about your racially offensive ‘watermelon’ rhetoric towards House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.”
Even individuals identifying as Democrats expressed dismay over the poster
Former NY State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, a Democrat, took issue with the poster, mocking the tweet’s imagery in a satirical tweet.
“DSA’s poster discussion, a short play: ‘Comrades, how can we pressure Hakeem Jeffries to do what we want?’ ‘How about a drawing of a watermelon?’ ‘Great idea! That will really show him we mean business. And there’s definitely nothing racist about it either!’ End scene,” he said.
Columnist and Democratic strategist Max Burns chimed in. “Another own-goal of a messaging mess from DSA, which inexplicably chose to call Rep. Hakeem Jeffries out with a poster that includes a giant watermelon,” he noted.
An attempt was made by a user to explain that the watermelon could be a reference to Palestinian solidarity, dating back to the Six-Day War. This interpretation ties watermelons with the colors of the Palestinian flag.
The protests aimed at Jeffries stem from his support of Israel, which has attracted criticism from some leftist groups following Israel’s response to Oct. 7 terrorist acts by Hamas, which left at least 1,400 individuals dead.