A newly appointed official in Queens borough, New York, stepped down on Monday after tweets from his past criticizing Israel circulated social media and attracted public criticism, local news reported.
Michael Hurwitz was supposed to start his new position as Queens Borough President Donovan Richards’ deputy in February.
But several tweets written by Hurwitz in the past couple of years were shared online and drew enough criticism to make him step down.
A few of Hurwitz's tweets focused on denouncing Israeli settlements, while others included harsh language against Israeli politicians and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Another tweet written by Hurwitz shared by users defended Rep. Ilhan Omar, considered a harsh critic of Israel.
“For professional and personal reasons, Michael Hurwitz will not be moving forward at this time with the Queens Borough President's Office as Deputy Borough President as originally announced,” Richards’ spokesperson Breeana Mulligan told local media.
In one controversial tweet, Hurwitz retweeted a tweet made by leader of Israel's Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, in October 2018. Bennett had written that he was about to about to fly to Pittsburgh following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting "to be with our sisters and brothers on their darkest hour," to which Hurwitz replied: "You are not welcome! You are a cancer to Judaism."
Hurwitz's Twitter account has since been made private.
Queens has a relatively large Orthodox Jewish community, which may explain the rather fast circulation of the controversial tweets, as well as Hurwitz’s agreement to resign.
Hurwitz said that he and Richards “agreed that now is not the best time personally and professionally for me to join as was announced,” according to the Eagle.
He added that he will continue to work for the community of Queens and is "excited to do good work."
Having spent several years in Israel while growing up, Hurwitz described himself as "a proud Jew" and :a lifelong Zionist."
“I love the state of Israel and I love that I’m raising my children Jewish in Queens,” he added, claiming that Twitter is not the suitable platform to address complex issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israel-US relations.
He admitted that trying to discuss such issues and put them "into 250 characters or less was naive.”