Later this month (June 26, to be precise), New York’s 8th Congressional District, which includes the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Marine Park, and Coney Island neighborhoods, will be holding a Democratic primary to pick a replacement for retiring congressman Ed Towns. Since the Democratic candidate is all but guaranteed to inherit Towns’ seat, the upcoming primary represents a point of no return, as it were. And the Jewish Voice would like to let our readers in the 8th District know that there are many reasons to vote for NY State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, almost as many as there are to vote against his opponent, Councilman Charles Barron… which we suppose are also reasons to vote for Jeffries. With that in mind, we offer you a few points of comparison, both superficial and deep, between the two candidates.
Barron: While it’s certainly not a crime to have an unconventional fashion sense, we couldn’t write our analysis without at least once mentioning Councilman Barron’s penchant for Nehru suits. Yes, you’re free to express yourself by dressing like you’re still in the 1970’s, just as we’re free to not take you seriously as a statesman because of it. To his credit, however, if Barron insists on being a walking, talking anachronism, at least he has the decency to dress the part. Truth in advertising!
Jeffries: Knows how to rock a suit and tie. He may not win any points for originality on this one, but at least he’s dressed for the right century. A political leader needs to know how to present himself, and that includes his attire.
Winner: Assemblyman Jeffries
Like fashion, this in itself oughtn’t to be a deciding factor. But we are talking about a congressional seat, which means representing a part of New York on the national stage. So the extent of one’s experience, and one’s “rank,” are relevant.
Barron: Member, New York City Council. Barron has been politically active for longer than Jeffries, but that makes it all the more remarkable that his aspirations never took him beyond the City Council up to this point. His 2010 gubernatorial campaign was what we would term and – we’re being generous here – a spectacular failure.
Jeffries: Member, New York State Assembly. The State Assembly, incidentally, is a microcosm for Congress at the state level.
Winner: Assemblyman Jeffries
It’s no secret that we Jews value education. But any sane voter wants our legislators to be intelligent and well-rounded (ideally with a solid understanding of our nation’s laws, since, you know, they’ll be making them). Personally, we at the Jewish Voice would prefer our elected representatives to be at least as smart as we are.
Barron: B.A. in Sociology from Hunter College (Minor: Elementary Education). Not bad.
Jeffries: B.A. in Political Science (with honors) from Binghamton University, Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown, and a JD from NYU Law School.
Winner: Assemblyman Jeffries, Esquire
Since the winner of this election will be serving at the national level, their stances on foreign policy issues suddenly take on new significance.
Barron: Known for his anti-Israel activism. Famously compared the situation in Gaza to Nazi concentration camps. (Yeah, because, like the Palestinian “refugees” since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jewish population of Europe grew exponentially during the Holocaust.)
Jeffries: Some excerpts from a recent interview…
“Israel has been subjected to unfair attacks in the UN and I strongly support efforts by the United States to continue to come to Israel’s defense within that body.”
“Any dismantling of what in many cases have essentially become small cities [that is, major West Bank settlements] is neither practical nor desirable.”
“I believe that American policy should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
Winner: Do we even need to say it? Even if he’s just pandering to Brooklyn’s Jewish population, Jeffries wins by default for not being a total racist.
When one looks at the issues, no matter how trivial, or how serious, we’ve found that Councilman Barron simply can’t compare to Assemblyman Jeffries as a congressional candidate. We didn’t even get to address Barron’s open disdain for capitalism (AKA that thing that makes America awesome), his principled stance against the pledge of allegiance and refusal to salute our nation’s flag, his history as a black supremacist and support for bloodthirsty dictators like Muammar Gaddafi… Want to know more? This week’s cover story is a great place to start.
For all these reasons and more, Assemblyman Jeffries is our man. He looks the part, he acts the part, he walks the walk and talks the talk, he’s educated, and (now this one is very important): he doesn’t hate Jews.
So we strongly encourage our readers in the 8th District to get out there and vote, this June 26. And we urge you, vote for the statesman, not the bigot.