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Jewish activists target Zeldin
Rep. Lee Zeldin is increasingly being attacked for his political views through the lens of his Judaism.
Monday, various liberal groups from the broad-based Make the Road New York to the far more focused Let’s Go Visit Lee Zeldin participated in a rally outside his congressional office in Patchogue. They demanded that Zeldin, “Choose a side: with or against white supremacy.” They asserted that Zeldin’s willingness to align with President Donald Trump’s agenda is a tacit acceptance of white supremacy.
Many of the activists also have been spreading an editorial from the Forward, a Jewish publication and website, that accosts Zeldin, one of two Jewish GOP House members, for taking campaign money from the National Rifle Association.
The activists demand that Zeldin vote to censure Trump for his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and that Trump fire White House adviser Stephen Miller. They also want Zeldin to vote to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
Then, on a far different topic, the rally’s organizing group, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, demanded that Zeldin support and help pass a “clean Dream Act, with no attached funding for a senseless border wall or out-of-control immigration enforcement, to protect DACA beneficiaries immediately.”
Jews aren’t as united in their political views as these demands seem to imply. According to exit polling from the Pew Research Center, Trump got 24 percent of the Jewish vote nationally. It’s also worth noting that, according to data from the Jewish Federations of North America, the population of Zeldin’s district is only 4.6 percent Jewish.
Pass the popcorn
The circus will be in town for at least one night in this year’s seemingly foregone conclusion of an NYC mayoral race. On Tuesday night, front-runner Mayor Bill de Blasio faces off against Republican challenger Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis and former NYPD detective and budding movie star Bo Dietl in the contest’s first general election debate.
Malliotakis, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, will likely continue her standard Republican lines of attacks about quality of life and try to distinguish herself to voters.
More difficult to predict will be what exactly Dietl will do. No stranger to outrageous statements, Dietl has said during this campaign that he would like to “punch” de Blasio. He protested city summons reform at a news conference with a bull’s-eye poster saying, “Pee here.” He showed up to a primary debate with a character playing Big Bird, whom he likened to the mayor.
His campaign spokesman, Bruce Lynn, says there will be no Big Bird Tuesday night. “None of the chicanery you’ve seen in the past,” he says. Dietl “wants to be perceived as mayoral.”
There may be benefits in that even if Dietl never gets near City Hall. This past weekend, the sometime-film actor shot scenes for a movie with Ice-T and Vincent Pastore of “The Sopranos.” His character? A cop who becomes mayor.