Independent and soon-to-retire Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut offered some strong pro-Israel street cred to Queens Democrat David Weprin yesterday with his endorsement. The 2000 Dem vice presidential nominee and 2004 presidential contender is, of course, considered a major Israel defender in the Senate.
This is more than just a typical partisan endorsement since Lieberman, with a bone to pick against his former party for turning their back on him in his 2006 re-election bid, backed Republican John McCain for president in 2008, even speaking at the GOP’s convention.
My guess is that the endorsement was brokered by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is very close with both the Weprin family and Lieberman. All three men are rare Sabbath observant politicians.
If the election, as some say, is all about Israel for the tens of thousands of Jews who will vote in the Sept. 13 special contest to replace Tweeted-out Anthony Weiner, Lieberman’s backing may counter the nod Ed Koch gave to Republican Bob Turner Monday.
"While David Weprin can be counted on to fight for the safety and security of the State of Israel, we can also rely on him to protect the seniors and working families of Brooklyn and Queens," Lieberman said, according to JTA. Weprin is a state assemblyman and former city councilman.
Koch, you recall, believes that widening the Republican lead in the House — especially with a switch in a heavily Jewish district that has been tilting to the right — will send a message to President Obama that he’s losing the Jewish vote with his call for pre-1967 borders in Israel. Both Koch, a Democrat who backed GeorgeW. Bush in 2004 and Lieberman seem to believe Republicans are better for Israel.
Yet, somehow, they’ve come to different conclusions about this race.