The following are our endorsements for the Democratic Primary elections in New York, taking place June 23.
Chaim Deutsch (9th Congressional District)
We endorse NYC Councilman Chaim Deutsch for Congress in the 9th Congressional district in Brooklyn, covering Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Park Slope.
Before Deutsch won a City Council seat in November 2017, he worked with several elected officials and became widely known as the go-to person for those in need of help from government. And after he entered the City Council, his commitment to “constituent services” didn’t miss a beat, nor was it limited to his own district.
At the City Council, in addition to being attentive to the needs of his diverse district, Deutsch has also been sensitive to the special religious needs of the Jewish community of which he is a proud member.
Sadly, the incumbent he is challenging, Rep. Yvette Clarke, has largely relegated Jewish issues to less than second-class status, hardly giving them any notice. Of particular concern has been her record on Israel. Over the years Clarke has joined several efforts to get President Barack Obama to pressure Israel to take unilateral actions favoring the Palestinians that totally ignored the issue of the necessity for the Israeli positions.
She has also backed legislation condemning Israel. When called out, she invariably apologized but then soon reverted to form. Most recently, she has made common cause with the likes of congressional colleagues Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley in single-mindedly criticizing Israel.
It’s time for a change and that’s why we support Chaim Deutsch. Two years ago, Clarke beat back a primary challenge by a 52-48 percent margin. But the turnout was only 9 percent of eligible voters – or 28,266 out a possible 313,940. So, plainly her support is paper-thin and a Deutsch victory is within reach. We urge our readers in the 9th CD to come out and vote.
Rep. Eliot Engel (16th Congressional District)
We endorse Rep. Eliot Engel for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 16th Congressional district, covering Westchester and the Bronx. Engel is a 16-term incumbent and currently chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He is widely regarded as one of the leading supporters of Israel’s efforts to defend itself against the threats of its Arab neighbors.
In 2015, he demonstrated independence – and also great courage – in voting against the JCPOA, the so-called Iran nuclear deal despite the blandishments of President Obama who had expected his fellow Democrat and ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the time to fall into line.
Engel argued, however, that the deal ran against the national security interests of both the United States and Israel and was a virtual script leading to Iranian becoming a nuclear power. He was particularly critical of the deal’s wholly inadequate inspection regime and its short duration, after which Iran would effectively be positioned to develop nuclear weapons.
By contrast, Engel’s challenger, Jamaal Bowman, recently touted his endorsement by a far left group, The Jewish Vote, which says it is dedicated to “harness[ing] the power of the progressive Jewish resistance.” In fact, according to news reports, its leadership regularly voices support for BDS and defends progressives who make anti-Semitic remarks, and likens Israel to Nazi Germany.
From where we sit, Engel’s continuance in office is a political imperative.
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (51st Assembly District)
In the primary election for the NYS Assembly in the 51st Assembly District covering Sunset Park and Red Hook in Brooklyn, we endorse the incumbent, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.
In his last outing in 2018, the assemblyman garnered 98 percent of the votes cast, an extraordinary feat in itself. But what drew us to support his candidacy was his track record of sensitivity vis-à-vis the needs of the Jewish community, which has characterized much of his public career, something many of his supporters emphasize.
We were particularly taken with his agreement to take on the notorious Carlos Menchaca, in November 2017 for the latter’s NY City Council seat. Menchaccha seemed never to miss an opportunity to take a swipe at Israel and its Jewish supporters. Indeed, his anti-Israel rhetoric was legend.
Ortiz lost but gained the respect and support of much of the Jewish community for challenging Menchaca. In addition, Ortiz also serves as the Assistant Speaker of the Assembly, which adds to his value to the 51st AD.
Additional Endorsements In New York
More details on these additional primary election endorsements – as well as other endorsements – will follow next week:
Adam Schleifer (Dem.) in the 17th Congressional District, Rockland County and parts of Westchester County.
Jonathan Herzog (Dem.) in the 10th Congressional District, parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Roxanne J. Persaud (Dem.) in the 19th Senatorial District, parts of Brooklyn.
Nicole Malliotakis (Rep.) in the 11th Congressional District, Staten Island and parts of Southern Brooklyn
Michele Caruso-Cabera (Dem.) in the 14th Congressional District, parts of Queens, Bronx and Westchester County.
David Weprin (Dem.) in the 24th Assembly District, parts of Queens.