10:44 am Jun. 21, 2012
Senator Chuck Schumer has recorded a robocall vouching for Nydia Velazquez's support for Israel.
Earlier this month, Schumer endorsed Velazquez alongside two other strongly pro-Israel Jewish Democrats, Representative Jerry Nadler and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, at a press conference that coincided with the annual breakfast of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. But that event didn't actually involve much talk of Israel.
Schumer addresses the issue explicitly in the robocall, which was transcribed for Capital by a constituent (with a Jewish surname) who received it last night.
"I'm Senator Chuck Schumer and I urge you to vote for Nydia Velazquez," the senator says. "She's a great representative and a true friend of Israel. She has stood by me as I defended Israel and she has condemned Hamas and Hezbollah and [inaudible] Israel's right to defend itself against attacks. I'm Senator Chuck Schumer and on June 26, vote for my partner in Washington, Nydia Velazquez."
The district contains a sizable Jewish population, including a large population of Orthodox voters in Williamsburg.
But the politics are somewhat complicated. The largest bloc of Williamsburg's Hasidic voters is closely aligned with Brooklyn's county chairman, Vito Lopez, who is backing Dilan, and the Satmar sect is anti-Zionist. (Velazquez recently lost a battle with Lopez over control of four Hasidic summer camps upstate.)
The Jewish voters that are scattered across other areas of the district, like Brooklyn Heights and the Lower East Side, are more likely to be pro-Israel, but they aren't generally regarded as single-issue voters.
The constituent who got the call from Schumer also received one from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Velazquez's behalf, citing her work on "women's Issues" and her service as chair of the House Small Business Committee.
Gillibrand endorsed Velazquez last month.