A candidate for the City Council seat currently held by congressional candidate Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) slammed the councilman last week for scheduling a fundraiser for a major Jewish holiday.
Halloran, who is running for the 6tth Congressional District against Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) has a fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Safari Beach Club on Bell Boulevard in Bayside from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which starts at sunset that night.
In a lengthy statement, Democrat Matthew Silverstein, who is Jewish, said the timing of the event was disrespectful to Jewish residents in Halloran's district.
“As a Jewish constituent of the councilman’s I am outraged by his lack of sensitivity for our holiday and traditions,” Silverstein said. “Councilman Halloran claims to be a strong supporter of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It’s hypocritical when a candidate for public office claims to be a supporter of the State of Israel and then schedules a political fundraiser on the holiest day of our faith. Holding an event of this type on Yom Kippur is disrespectful, and insulting to Jewish voters.”
Silverstein, who lives in Bay Terrace, is a candidate for Halloran’s Council seat in a special election should Halloran vacate it if elected to Congress, or against him as an incumbent next year.
On Twitter Friday afternoon, Halloran responded by criticizing his opponent Meng, who held a fundraiser with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Sept. 11. He also released a statement late Friday calling on Meng to release her personal finance filing as required under House Ethics rules.
Jewish voters make up a large portion of the 6th Congressional District, and though many of them are Democrats, some, especially in Kew Gardens Hills and Forest Hills, have voted Republican in recent years, specifically for Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village). Turner received the support of former Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, who has been criticial of the Obama administration’s policies on Israel.
Koch, however, has endorsed Meng for the seat and criticized Halloran on his support for Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), an opponent of U.S. support for Israel.