Israel Remains Central Issue in Local Congressional Race

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In the wake of last week's New York Times article on the [NY-06 race evolving into "Israelapalooza,"]( Assemblyman Rory Lancman's supporters are attempting to raise money off Councilwoman Liz Crowley's comment in the article that all the emphasis on Israel is a "distraction." The below fundraising pitch was sent out Friday afternoon by former New York City Councilman Steve Orlow, a former "member at large" who now practices law in Flushing, and Eli Hertz, a pro-Israel author. In the pitch, the Lancman supporters profess that they were "shocked" at Crowley's statement, and that the "flippant attitude towards Israel's safety and security shows that certain candidates in Queens are simply not fit for the responsibilities of national office." Oh, and that people upset about Crowley's comment should give money to Lancman. In the Times article, Crowley says she would rather focus on issues like health care and care for the elderly. And in an email to City & State over the weekend, one of Crowley's top campaign advisers wrote in defending the candidate's comment: Elizabeth Crowley believes that Israel is America's most important ally in the Middle East - our strategic partner against global terrorism - and values that relationship and honors New York's special bond with the people of Israel," the Crowley adviser wrote. However, there is distance between the candidates (Rory and Grace, on one hand, and Elizabeth on the other) in terms of *emphasis*. * Israel is not the most important issue we face, * it's not the most important issue for most voters in this election, and * Elizabeth's campaign does not intend to be governed by what some people might view as the David Weprin/Bob Turner playbook. When Elizabeth calls this is a distraction, that's what she meant: candidates focusing on Israel to the detriment of other issues is a distracting for the electorate and, frankly, if folks are thinking of this race as "Israelapalooza," as one person said in the Times, that's a bit demeaning to the process and to voters. If Rory's campaign or Grace's campaign want to be recognized as "the Israel candidates" or "the Israel candidates," - for fundraising purposes or otherwise - we're not going to fight them for the privilege of running a single-issue campaign. Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Republican Councilman Dan Halloran are also running, and like Lancman, both are paying their fair share of respect to Israel issues. To read the article at City & State and see Lancman's initial fundraising pitch, [click here.](

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