What are your plans for Thursday, June 3, between 8:30 and 10:00 p.m.? If you care about support for Israel and the future of our community, you need to log on to the Queens Jewish Link, Queens Jewish Community Council, Bukharian Jewish Link: “Forum for City Council Candidates in the 29th Council District” at www.qjcc.org/forum.

Why is this so critical?

A local Congresswoman called Israel an “apartheid state,” and proposed canceling a $735-million arms sale to Israel. A young man with roots in this community was brutally beaten by an anti-Semitic mob. Thousands attended a pro-Palestinian rally in Western Queens. We in Queens are on the frontlines.

The progressive anti-Israel left is fielding candidates throughout the city. They are backed by pro-Palestinian organizations with names like The Jewish Vote and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. If they are successful, they will cite that as proof that they represent the Jewish community.

The primaries next month will be the most important in decades. The Primary is not a referendum on which political party we prefer. We will have the opportunity to make a statement on that in November. The primary will determine whether those who are most hostile to our interests are elected. Everything that is most dear to us, support for Israel, safety from anti-Semitic hate crimes, the right to provide our children with an education in accordance with our beliefs, will –
and the survival of our community institutions will be at stake. Everyone who is eligible must vote in the Democratic Primary. You can check your registration status online at vote.nyc/page/am-i-registered or by phone at 1-866-868-3692.

Under the new Ranked Choice voting system, we can rank up to five candidates for each office. This means that we can rank our top choice #1 and rank other candidates with whom we may not always agree but who are far superior to their opponents, from #2-#5. This gives us the opportunity to effectively cast five votes against our most dangerous opponents. To use the Ranked Choice voting system effectively, we need to educate ourselves about all the candidates.

One of the key races will be in the 29th Council District, covering Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, and Richmond Hill. The anti-Israel progressive left has targeted this district. On Thursday June 3, from 8:30 to 10:00 p.m., the Queens Jewish Link, the Queens Jewish Community Council, and the Bukharian Jewish Link will co-sponsor a forum for candidates in this race. All the candidates were invited to participate. Eight of them, David Aronov, Avi Cyperstein, Sheryl Fetik, Eliseo Labayen, Lynn Schulman, Douglas Shapiro, Edwin Wong, and Donghui Zang will be joining us. One candidate, Aleda Gagarin, who is endorsed by the pro-Palestinian Jewish Vote, has not responded to the invitation. The forum will be an opportunity for us to hear where the candidates who are interested in competing for our votes stand on the issues that are most important to us and to make an informed decision about which five to rank when we vote. You can submit your questions for the candidates to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To participate, go to qjcc.org/forum.

The vital interests of our community will be at stake up and down the ballot in the June Primary. In every race, from Mayor to Comptroller to Borough President to City Council, there are candidates who are supportive of our community and those who are hostile. No one should be sitting on the sidelines when the future of our community is at stake. A victory for the anti-Israel progressive left in the city with the largest Jewish population would be a devastating blow. We can prevent that from happening. We can show who really speaks for the Jewish community. The only way we can do it is by voting and taking full advantage of the Ranked Choice voting system for each office in the Democratic Primary.


If you are not yet registered to vote, you have until this Friday, May 28, to register and enroll to vote in the Democratic Primary. You can register online at www.voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/motorvoter. You can register to vote by mail by downloading the application at vote.nyc/page/register-vote.

For those eligible to vote in the Primary, you can vote early in person between June 13 and June 20, or on Primary Day June 22 at your usual polling place between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. To find your early voting location and hours or your poll site on Primary Day, go to www.findmypollsite.vote.nyc.

To vote by absentee ballot, go to vote.nyc/page/absentee-voting-0.

Manny Behar is the former Executive Director of the Queens Jewish Community Council and was a senior aide to several public officials. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..