Zephyr Teachout, a former New York gubernatorial candidate and a Fordham law professor, defeated Livingston town Councilman Will Yandik to win the Democratic primary for the Hudson Valley, NY, 19th Congressional district. Teachout, a progressive, was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and many influential Democrats in the district. In November she will run against Republican John Faso.
Teachout is on the record as opposing NY Gov. Cuomo’s new order prohibiting awarding state contracts to BDS-supporting companies, which has earned her the support to many pro-BDS groups.
Back in 2014, when she ran against Cuomo for NY Governor (and won an impressive 26%), Teachout was accused of being anti-Israel. Last week, in a Time Warner Cable-sponsored debate with her primary opponent, she refused to declare her support for Cuomo’s anti-BDS order.
But on Tuesday, she finally went on the record, telling the NY Post, “I don’t support BDS.”
“I support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people living in peace and security alongside the state of Palestine as the national homeland of the Palestinian people,” Teachout told the Post. As to the BDS campaign, she declared: “I see that as not productive toward the ultimate goal of peace and security in the Middle East. … There are other diplomatic approaches open to those on both sides of this issue.”
According to Zach Carter, writing for Huffington, Teachout is very popular with progressives, and was one of a very select group of House candidates endorsed and helped by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The Sanders campaign helped raise money for the Teachout campaign. As a result, Teachout raised more money in the first three months of her campaign than any other House candidate from either party in the state of New York, relying mostly on small donors, with an average contribution of less than $50—just like Bernie.
Back in 2014, NY Jewish politicians bashed Teachout for her refusal to reveal her stand on Israel, which was widely interpreted as her unwillingness to reveal just how hostile she was to the Jewish State. In a September, 2014 press conference, on the eve of the primary vote, Councilman Mark Weprin called Teachout’s views “outrageous” and “offensive,” and then Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (Ah, those were the days) called her views “unacceptable,” adding that her and her running mate’s “failure to stand strong with Israel speaks volumes about their true feelings when it comes to protecting and defending the Jewish state … We as New Yorkers cannot accept this. We as New Yorkers have a strong and profound connection to Israel.”
In 2014, Jacob Kornbluh reported that Teachout hired Robert Akleh, a former Field Director for the Working Families Party, as her campaign consultant, to the tune of $60,800. Akleh had been fired as campaign manager for Bronx state Senate candidate Oliver Koppell after The NY Post questioned his anti-Israel rants on his Facebook page. Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of New York Board of Rabbis, said in a statement back then:
“I was shocked to read in today’s news that Democratic candidate for Governor of NYS would choose to spend over $60,000 on a consultant who has made inflammatory comments against the State of Israel. The Jewish community in New York is the largest outside of Israel. As Israel is currently being dragged into war by Hamas, it is especially disturbing that a candidate for Governor would associate with someone who has a clear anti-Israel bias.”
Rabbi Potesnik added: “We call upon Zephyr Teachout to unambiguously let New Yorkers know what her position is regarding this issue.”JNi.Media