Turner, Lancman Turn Attention To Orthodox Stronghold

Rory Lancman, on the left

The Daily News reported this morning something that we speculated earlier in the week–that Caroline McCarthy and Gary Ackerman’s congressional seats may be merged.

According to sources in Albany, this has led to an effort by Bob Turner to grab the Five Towns area, an enclave of Orthodox Jews currently represented by Ms. McCarthy.

Mr. Turner, you will recall, won election to the Brooklyn Queens Congressional seat held by Anthony Weiner by making an explicit play for the votes of religious Jews in a race that turned on President Barack Obama’s perceived weakness on Middle Eastern policy. Mr. Turner has in the months since winning election traveled to Israel and further courted the Jewish vote. 

If the district does move however, Mr. Lancman, who is Jewish, doesn’t appear willing to give up on the Five Towns area, with the local newspaper, The Five Towns Jewish Press running an interview of Mr. Lancman today.

In the story, Mr. Lancman notes that, like Mr. Weprin, he voted in favor of same-sex marriage but that:

He thought the comments about the gay-rights legislation by Weprin were couched in terms of his perspective as an Orthodox Jew. While Weprin tried to backtrack on those comments once it looked like he was losing his lead to Turner, it turned out it was too little too late.

The fact is that Weprin never thought that what he was saying at the time would hurt him in such an extreme fashion. At the time that he said what he did, he was not suggesting that he was issuing any kind of religious ruling but was rather speaking from his perspective as a strong advocate for civil rights over many years.

In the story, Mr. Lancman also notes that he belongs to an Orthodox shul in Hillcrest and his children attend the Solomon Schechter Day School in Queens, his support of the legislation was not presented in term of his religious beliefs. And he doesn’t away from Barack Obama, as Mr. Weprin tried to do.

Asked whether he intends to support Barack Obama in the coming November election, Lancman responded, “I’m voting for the guy that made certain to kill Osama bin Laden.”

Mr. Lancman opines on other issues relevant to the area’s Jewish population, including that

  • “The U.S. needs to do whatever possible to see to it that Iran does not build a nuclear weapon that can threaten her neighbors—particularly Israel.”
  • “On the issue of the settlement communities in Judea and Samaria, Lancman says he does not agree that there has to be a settlement freeze or any kind of curtailment in construction in those areas in order for negotiations to take place between Israelis and Palestinians. He foresees several alternatives to solve the issue that the Palestinian side has made into a sticking point and obstacle to their agreeing to even sit and talk with Israel. He says he does not see why Jews could not remain in their homes in areas that someday may come under the jurisdiction of a possible new sovereign Palestine.

The rest of the piece can be viewed here.

  Turner, Lancman Turn Attention To Orthodox Stronghold