There was a bit of intrigue recently over who would get the key Independence Party line in Brooklyn’s new “Super Jewish” Senate district. And in the end, neither Democratic ex-Councilman Simcha Felder nor Republican State Sen. David Storobin will run on Row E in November.
Felder, a deputy in the New York City comptroller’s office, was initially offered the line, according to Michael Zumbluskus, a member of the Independence Party’s executive committee who handles many of its downstate operations.
But after discussing the situation with Independence Party vice-chairman Tom Connolly, Felder eventually passed on taking the ballot line because of the party’s connections with controversial psychotherapist Lenora Fulani.
“You still have the Fulani people around even though we’re trying to do our best to get rid of them,” Zumbluskus said.
The state Independence Party – led by Connolly and chairman Frank MacKay – have been trying for years to get rid of the New York City faction led by Fulani. And despite the fact that MacKay’s faction was making the endorsement decision in the Senate race — not Fulani’s — Felder decided to turn down the line because a small portion of the party had the taint of past anti-Semitic statements. In 1989, according to the New York Times, Fulani wrote that Jews “had to sell their souls to acquire Israel” and had to “function as mass murderers of people of color’ to stay there.”
Obviously, such associations if played the right way could prove unhelpful in the new, heavily Jewish district.
Reached by phone and asked about the Independence line and how Fulani factored in, Felder said simply that, “The only thing I would say is that I did not seek the Independence line.”
Still, the mere fact that the Independence Party decided to leave its ballot line blank could be construed as a victory for Felder, since Storobin did seek the party’s backing.
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