House Democratic Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries blasted the Democratic Socialists of America after the group targeted him with mocking ads that included an image of a watermelon.
“The watermelon has long been deployed as a dehumanizing racist trope by white supremacists in America. In connection with the planned rally targeting our district office, the use of racially inflammatory imagery should come as no surprise given the role NYC-DSA and other gentrifiers have played in aggressively attacking black elected officials,” Andy Eicher, Jeffries’ communications director, told The Post in a statement.
“They have zero credibility in the communities Leader Hakeem Jeffries proudly represents,” Eicher added.
Jeffries, whose district includes Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York, Canarsie and Coney Island, is the first black man to lead House Democrats and would be the frontrunner to serve as Speaker of the House should the party retake control of the chamber.
The original DSA ad had condemned Jeffries for speaking at the “March for Israel” rally in Washington D.C. this week, and urged their supporters to protest his office Friday to demand a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Top elected socialists in New York, like state Sens. Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar, shared news articles insisting that the watermelon was a longtime symbol of Palestinian resistance.
“It’s pretty racist to say that Palestinians can’t use a watermelon symbol because only Black people eat watermelon,” Brisport protested in an X post Thursday.
Brisport also issued a pointed warning to Jeffries.
“My Senate district overlaps pretty heavily with that of @RepJeffries, particularly his Democratic voters. His ongoing support for the genocide of Palestinians has placed him wildly out of touch with our community,” he wrote Friday.
The protest outside Jeffries office went forward on Friday evening, video of the events posted by the DSA showed. Many of the protesters brandished signs with images of watermelons in defiance of Jeffries’ objections.
Reps for the DSA did not respond to request for comment.