The race for the Democratic nomination to be NY’s mayor is heating up, and Israel is a big part of the discussion. This makes sense because there are so many Jewish Democratic voters in New York; and support for Israel is still a reliable Jewish issue, especially among the orthodox.
And so we see the candidates shamelessly pandering on Israel, denouncing the BDS campaign, for boycotts, divestments and sanctions targeting Israel. Sitting Mayor Bill de Blasio also weighed in, saying that “it’s incumbent on all Democrats, and particularly progressive Democrats, to denounce BDS” because “Israel is a fundamentally progressive concept” And saying “vast majority of Democrats” are against BDS. So, now you know where Dems are!
The Forward reported a survey that most of the leading Democratic candidates for mayor are opposed to BDS, “an issue that is of great importance to the Jewish and pro-Israel communities.” That includes frontrunner/entrepreneur Andrew Yang, business exec Ray McGuire, city comptroller Scott Stringer, former Obama cabinet official Shaun Donovan, and Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams. Yet Stringer and Maya Wiley, a former de Blasio aide/civil rights advocate, told the Forward that even though they don’t support BDS, the “right to boycott is essential to American democracy.”
All these candidates would call themselves progressive, to be sure! And seven of the eight surveyed told the Forward they would consider visiting Israel if elected, with Shaun Donovan going furthest and saying he wanted to learn how Israel has done so well in its vaccination program and adding:
“I have not visited Israel but I have visited both Dachau and Auschwitz.”
McGuire, who has raised a reported $5 million-plus since announcing his candidacy, went furthest in the Forward survey on BDS. “I absolutely condemn BDS and any other movement that seeks to exclude, delegitimize or isolate Israel.”
And in December, McGuire got the recommendation of a real estate exec/radio show host from the Brooklyn orthodox community. “He’s very strong on Israel and he seems to understand our issues also,” Leon Goldenberg told Jewish Insider.
Andrew Yang is fighting hard to get the Israel lane all to himself. Last month he said that BDS is rooted in Nazi thinking; and his political operative Chris Coffey says Israel is a big part of the campaign.
@AndrewYang plans to fight hard for Jewish vote. Proud of his support of Israel, his commitment to go there first as Mayor, and his opposition to BDS. We can bring tech talent from Israel to NYC and vice versa.
Yang has reportedly hired David Schwartz, a protege of far-rightwing City Council person Dov Hikind, as his Jewish outreach aide. In 2016, Hikind accused Bernie Sanders of a “blood libel” against the Jewish people, for daring to criticize Israel’s Gaza slaughter of 2014. But to be clear, Dov Hikind is setting the bar in NY politics, not Bernie Sanders…
Schwartz is a Hasidic man who in 2016 at 22 became Democratic district leader in Brooklyn with Hikind’s backing.
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