I fail to understand the brouhaha over the candidacy of Mr. Jeff Gottlieb in the Sixth Congressional District, with the claim it is a ploy to deprive candidate Rory Lancman of the “Jewish vote” (“Angry reaction to Gottlieb candidacy,” April 12).
The criteria for one seeking public office is intelligence, honesty and a commitment to seek and support legislation that serves the needs and the interests of all the people and not just the few with political and financial connections. Excluded are a person’s religion and candidates who wear their religion on their sleeves, pander to a specific religious group and violate the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state by seeking legislation that infuses their religious beliefs.
A claim that Jews will only vote for a Jewish candidate is demeaning and an insult to the many Jews who support a candidate based upon his or her merits and not religious persuasion. In his quest for elective office, I wish Mr. Lancman luck but suggest he focus on important issues he will face and not on a dubious and irrelevant question of religion.
As to Mr. Gottlieb, it should be noted in passing, he has spent decades toiling for the Queens Democratic Party without ever being nominated for elective office by the party bosses. The Queens Democratic Party leadership, far from being anywhere within the realm of a democracy — and I say this as a lifelong registered Democrat — is known, together with boss politics in the other boroughs, as the nepotism capital. In heavily entrenched one-party districts, primaries are expensive and rare and the boss’ selection gets the nod. The nod is often the wife or the son of an official retiring or seeking other office. Mr. Gottlieb was never genealogically qualified as a member of the nepotism club.
If he wishes to seek office, as does Mr. Lancman, they should be judged on their merits, not their religion.