Rep. Velazquez Welcomes J Street to Brooklyn
NEW YORK – A Brooklyn House Representative pledged allegiance to J Street as she addressed residents at a discussion over the two-state solution Sunday.
Speaking at an event at the Park Slope Jewish Center in Brooklyn, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) told the crowd and the several J Street representatives in the audience that she’s really grateful for the work the liberal pro-peace group has done in “helping us in Congress get educated on an important issue such as what is the best way to secure a lasting peace in the Middle East.”
The event, sponsored by J Street, featured a conversation on the peace process with Israeli Brigadier General (Res.) Udi Dekel, a leading expert on Israeli military strategy and diplomacy, moderated by the Forward’s JJ Goldberg.
“It is a very complicated and emotional issue,” said Rep. Velazquez, “and one that requires the ability to listen to every side. And we have to ask the question whether or not the politics of this engagement brings us to any place.”
“I just want to offer my office. Please come to me, request a meeting; I’m willing to listen to everyone. Help me and help members of Congress to do the right thing,” she pleaded.
Also addressing the crowd was Councilman Brad Lander, who thanked the Congresswoman for voting for the Iran nuclear deal despite strong opposition from her Brooklyn and Manhattan constituents. “She took a very difficult and courageous vote this year, and she heard a lot from her Jewish constituents who were not happy and supportive of her vote in favor of the Iran deal,” said Lander. “But many of us asked her to take that vote, coming from a place where we care about the security and safety of Israel.”
Velazquez is facing a Democratic primary challenge from an Asian-American candidates who could appeal to the growing base of Asian-American voters in Chinatown and Sunset Park. Yungman Lee, a Community Bank CEO, Bank Regulator and former first deputy banking superintendent in Mario Cuomo’s administration, announced last Wednesday that he will be challenging the 12-term incumbent in next year’s primary.
The Brooklyn Congresswoman’s support for the Iran deal and her apparent support of J Street may not play well with Jewish voters in Lower East Side and Brooklyn Heights. Although, she also represents a large Satmar constituency, who do not support the existence of a Jewish State in the land of Israel.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also participated and addressed the crowd, speaking about his experience in protecting lives and human dignity.