Outrageous: NY Democrats Convene Press Conference to Bash Zephyr Teachout on Israel


In a hastily-convened press conference which “had the trappings of a campaign event” for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a host of Democratic officials ripped into Cuomo’s primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, for her views on Israel.
Councilman Mark Weprin, who is on the City Council’s Jewish caucus, called Teachout’s views “outrageous” and “offensive,” while Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Orthodox Jew, called her views, and those of running mate Tim Wu, to be wholly “unacceptable,” adding,

“Their failure to stand strong with Israel speaks volumes about their true feelings when it comes to protecting and defending the Jewish state … We as New Yorkers cannot accept this. We as New Yorkers have a strong and profound connection to Israel.”

Given the bombastic response, one might suspect that Teachout said something considered controversial on the American political stage, such as acknowledging Palestinians’ equal right to self-determination and defense.
So, what did Teachout actually say which caused Cuomo’s political allies, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, to convene a staged press conference and yell into a microphone? This is what she said at a Tuesday appearance, per The New York Observer:

“New York has a very special relationship with Israel,” Ms. Teachout said. “Israel was born here, at the United Nations.”
Ms. Teachout said she would safeguard that bond if she triumphed over Gov. Andrew Cuomo in next week’s Democratic primary.
“We have an ongoing especially strong social and economic relationship with Israel that it would be my job as governor to maintain,” said Ms. Teachout.
The long-shot contender added, however, that she did not view setting policy in the Middle East as the job of the governor, and promised to support the policies of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry if victorious.
“I’m not running for president. I’m not going to second guess the president and the secretary of state,” Ms. Teachout said.

These remarks by Teachout were made significant by the fact that she has been reticent to comment on Middle Eastern politics during the past month, particularly during Israel’s Gaza operation. Meaning: these are the words which elicited today’s attack from leading New York Democrats. Words which essentially echoed predictable pro-Israel tropes while expressing support for the policies of a Democratic White House.
This is outrageous.
What’s even more outrageous is that Silver used the above words to elicit anti-Semitic fears in Jewish voters. His wondering about Teachout’s “true feelings” was a not-so-veiled attempt to cast her as a potential enemy of the Jewish people, as one who just might want Israel to be destroyed. See, Silver turns Teachout’s reticence to speak about foreign policy in a gubernatorial election into a “failure to stand strong with Israel [which] speaks volumes about her true feelings when it comes to protecting and defending the Jewish state.”
This is the type of nonsense which has become all too common in both the American Jewish community and within the American political establishment. Anyone who is not sufficiently ‘pro-Israel’ — as established by AIPAC — is cast as a potential enemy at best, and as anti-Semitic at worst. It’s something I’ve experienced just within the past week, when progressive State Senator Daylin Leach slandered me as pro-Hamas for critiquing his seemingly binary Israel views.
As an American Jew, I am tired of institutional leaders and politicians either implicitly or explicitly invoking anti-Semitism in fear-mongering campaigns. It’s not just shameful, it actually further endangers all Jews. For a real and dangerous hatred gets diluted every time a leader wonders about another’s “true feelings” when they’ve made those feelings clear.
As a progressive, I am tired of institutional leaders and politicians invoking Israel to falsely smear good people and candidates.
Like Zephyr Teachout.


What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, published recently by Oneworld Publications.
Follow him on Twitter @David_EHG.

3 thoughts on “Outrageous: NY Democrats Convene Press Conference to Bash Zephyr Teachout on Israel

  1. Actually it is incorrect to state that Israel “was born at the UN”, as I have pointed out in one of my most recent articles in the Argentum Post.
    When the UN deliberated about what to do in 1947 at a time in which was still in its embryonic stage with only 42 member states, one UN subcommittee supported the carving out of Palestinian land for the nationalization project of the Judaic religion, while the other UN subcommittee strenuously opposed such an illegal violation of the Palestinian’s rights.
    The UN’s Security Council never voted on this “birth” and the U.S. at that time strongly opposed it.
    As Dean Acheson said “Creating Israel on land inhabited by Palestinians would imperil not only American but all Western interests in the Near East”.
    What really is outrageous is how our educational system and our media has woefully failed to inform us on the seminal elements which have lead to the catastrophe of the way Israel came into being at the expense of the Palestinian civil and legal rights.
    There is a plethora of documented history on the genesis of this horrific miscarriage of justice.
    Incidentally, the writer of this comment is the direct son of survivors of the Holocaust and signed the New York Times statement (published on August 23, 2014) along with 400 others denouncing the Israel massacres in Gaza and its 66 history of crimes against the humanity of Palestinians and its violations of international law by its occupations and its blockade of Gaza.
    So, it is the remarks critical of Ms. Teachout which either as a result of appalling ignorance, or downright malice, by those making them, that are out of order, disgusting and inoperable.

    • Jews have had a presence in what was Palestine for 2000 years.There is no getting around it. Dismissing Israel’s right ti exist is….

  2. Como’s running scared, for the past 6 days I’ve received glossy over sized campaign flyers. Yesterday alone I received 3 automated robo calls 2 from the Mayor one from congressman Nadler urging a vote for him…
    Last week I was called (by a human) lauding Como’s progressive positions. At the end I was asked if they could depend on my vote. My answer ended the conversation. Como’s campaign must be getting shook up with the voters reaction to our Republican Governor’s polls otherwise why the “blitz”?
    A win is hard to expect as the progressive candidates are hardly known and voter apathy to primaries. But can you here the people Como? Your dad’s rep only goes so far…

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