Koch endorses Lancman against Meng and Crowley, on Israel-politics grounds

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Bob Turner and Ed Koch. (Dan Rosenblum)
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Former Mayor Ed Koch said he's backing Democrat Rory Lancman for a congressional seat in Queens based on his knowledge of Israeli politics.

Last year, Koch helped propel Republican Bob Turner into office in order to "send a message" to the White House about its attitude toward Israel.

This year, Koch said he interviewed the other two Democratic candidates vying fill the vacancy opening up with the retirement of Gary Ackerman—Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Councilwoman Liz Crowley—and was satisfied they were sufficiently hawkish on Israel.

But Koch and Lancman have been in sync on Middle East politics for some time.

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The pair wrote a 2007 op-ed in the Daily News defending then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's move to support a a resolution calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.  

A year earlier, Koch also made an appearance outside Queens Borough Hall, where he endorsed Lancman, then a candidate for the Assembly. Today's endorsement was announced via email and Lancaman's campaign said they'll have a public event to roll it out shortly.

Koch's endorsement is unlikely to be as important to Lancman as it was to Turner, who was an unknown Republican who needed to appeal to Democratic-registered Jews. Lancman is already counting on Jewish voters as part of his coalition in the newly configured NY-06, where about 40 percent of the registered voters will be Asian-American.

Meng would be the first Asian-American member of Congress from New York.

But in Democratic primaries Jewish voters have turned out in high numbers and Orthodox Jews in particular have swayed recent elections in the ninth congressional district last year and in a special State Senate election in Brooklyn last month.