Assemblywoman Grace Meng, the Democratic nominee for New York’s 6th Congressional District in northeastern Queens, has officially nabbed one of the most sought-after endorsements in the outer boroughs: former Mayor Ed Koch. Mr. Koch famously backed GOP Rep. Bob Turner in his special election victory last year, and after redistricting, about half of Mr. Turner’s district is in the territory Ms. Meng is now campaigning in.
True to form, Mr. Koch’s endorsement is being treated as a validator on the topic of Israel.
“Grace Meng is unequivocally the strongest candidate to maintain strong U.S. relations with the State of Israel,” Mr. Koch said in a statement released this afternoon. “Grace has demonstrated a deep understanding of the nature of Israel’s struggle in its corner of the world and why it’s so important for Israeli and American interests and global security that the United States stands in support of her.”
The announcement comes as Israel increasingly becomes a focal point between Ms. Meng and her Republican opponent, Councilman Dan Halloran. At the end of last week, the two campaigns exchanged multiple shots over the issue, with Mr. Halloran accusing her of empty platitudes and Ms. Meng pointing to Mr. Halloran’s support for Ron Paul’s presidential bid in turn.
Indeed, Mr. Koch piled onto this argument in this afternoon’s statement, adding, “The facts don’t lie. Dan Halloran was Ron Paul’s most ardent supporter in all of New York City – a dangerous and alarming choice by an individual seeking a seat in Congress. The Councilman simply cannot have it both ways. Mr. Halloran’s support for Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy is a clear indicator that he does not prioritize the sacred bond between the United States and Israel.”
Mr. Halloran has steadily maintained that he disagrees with Mr. Paul on Israel. The GOP Councilman is actually in Israel today meeting with government officials and other leaders in what is likely an attempt to burnish his own credentials on the issue.