A one-time supporter of Bob Turner who claims to have helped him get the Republican nomination now fears he may squander his shot at upsetting the once heavily-favored Democratic candidate in the Ninth Congressional District, because, in part, Turner lives in a “segregated” community and hasn’t fully engaged the Orthodox Jewish community.
Asher Taub, a lawyer and Orthodox Jew who once considered running for the seat, wrote a letter spelling out what he says Turner needs to do in order to defeat Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin. (According to today’s Siena poll, Weprin leads by only 6 points.)
Turner has to “go to Israel now;” “include Orthodox Jews in the top echelon of his campaign;” and “start personally campaigning in Orthodox areas in a serious fashion.”
Taub, who confirmed he wrote the letter — which was sent to me by another reader — refers to the neighborhood that Turner lives in as a “segregated community.”
“No African-Americans, Hispanics, foreigners and only a token Jew are allowed to live there,” Taub wrote. “Religious Jews would not be tolerated in Breezy Point. Breezy Point is a cooperative and the Board controls who is allowed to move in. Living in Breezy and his lack of having Orthodox Jews as neighbors has hampered his campaign and his understanding of the Orthodox Jewish community.”
A spokesman for Turner’s campaign strongly denied the criticism of Breezy Point, and speculated it was part of their opponent’s attack. The Turner spokesman, Bill O’Reilly said, “Breezy Point is a predominately Irish community. It has been for 100 years. That doesn’t make it segregated. Would one call Little Italy or Chinatown or Greenpoint segregated? It’s nonsense…”
O’Reilly went on to blame Weprin for Taub’s remarks. Taub denied any connection with the Weprin campaign.
O’Reilly also said Turner has previously visited Israel.
Update: O’Reilly emailed to add one more thing. “Taub has zero affiliation with Bob’s campaign.”
Update: Turner’s campaign passed along a statement from the former Breezy Point Chairman, Steven Greenberg, who said the criticism of the community there is “outrageous” and blamed it on Weprin’s campaign. (Taub denies any connection with Weprin.)
Greenberg said, “Breezy Point began as a summer bungalow community of Irish Immigrants. The population has remained predominantly Irish because its the best place on earth to live and people just do not move away. I am among dozens of other Jewish residents in this small community.”
Update: In a telephone interview, Greenberg said, “There has never been an accusation of discrimination” and that nobody is prevented from moving into the area. Prospective residents need three letters of recommendation from “shareholders,” he said, not unlike applicants at a co-op.
When asked if he’s seen any sign that Turner’s opponent is behind the criticism of Breezy Point — as Turner’s campaign spokesman suggested – Greenberg said, “I personally have not seen anything to that effect.”
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