Give City Councilman Dan Halloran credit. When he stakes out a position, he doesn't go halfway. Well, halfway around the world, maybe.
The Republican congressional candidate from Bayside breathed a little fire on Thursday, slamming President Barack Obama specifically and Democrats in general for a weak defense of Israel. It was all just his way of saying he'll be visiting the Holy Land this weekend.
“Israel is our country’s most important ally, and the front line of defense for us in the war against terrorism,” Halloran said in a statement. “I’m visiting Israel to show that there are American leaders that care deeply about the country and Judaism."
Halloran said he would be leaving New York City Saturday, arriving in Jerusalem on Sunday and visiting with Jewish leaders including the former Deputy Chief of the Mossad and members of the Knesset, before returning Aug. 15.
Taking a firm stance in favor of Israeli West Bank settlements, Halloran lambasted the president and the Democratic Party.
“The Jewish people have a right to build and live wherever they want. Our president is not a real ally of Israel’s. Our president’s party, the Democratic Party, is not a real ally of Israel's," Halloran said. "They think Israel needs to apologize for defending herself. They think that we should apologize for standing with Israel. Our relationship with Israel has deteriorated under the Obama Administration.”
Halloran certainly has a vested interest in standing with Israel. Much of New York's where he is vying against Assemblywoman Grace Meng, is Jewish.
Many of those voters, including members of the Bukharian community in Forest Hills and the Orthodox community in Kew Gardens, have a reputation for voting almost exclusively on Jewish issues.
In the most recent Congressional race run in the area, U.S. Rep. Bob Turner, R-Forest Hills, Turner won despite running against David Weprin, himself
Turner even picked up the endorsement of Democratic former Mayor Ed Koch, who said he was backing the Republican to
In an op-ed Thursday in The Jewish Week, Meng said she would devote herself to helping Israel in Washington and admitted that she thought the president could do a better job.
"If elected to Congress, I will be a passionate friend of Israel, and will push the President to be a greater friend to Israel than he currently is," Meng wrote for the paper.
Meng's spokesman Austin Finan levied some harsh criticism against Halloran.
"Dan Halloran’s critique of President Obama’s Israel policy is curious considering his outspoken support for Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy," Finan said. "If Dan Halloran had his way, Ron Paul would be Commander-in-Chief — slashing aid to Israel, vetoing sanctions against Iran, endangering the Israeli people and jeopardizing the future of their homeland. Those who actually value a strong U.S.–Israeli relationship are not fooled by Mr. Halloran’s empty words and feigned support for the State of Israel."
Halloran has maintained in the past that while he endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, he disagrees with the Congressman's stance on Israel.