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Ackerman puts weight behind Weprin in race for House seat

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) wants state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) to join him in Congress.

Ackerman endorsed Weprin, who is running to replace disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, in part because of Weprin’s credentials on Israel.

Ackerman is the ranking member of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia and Weprin is an Orthodox Jew.

“I have known David Weprin for a very long time and I can say as one of Israel’s strongest champions in Congress, that David Weprin in Congress will be good for both the United States and the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Ackerman said in a statement. “David will be a terrific representative for New York, and a proud and aggressive backer of the special ties between the United States and the state of Israel. I am proud to endorse him.”

Ackerman also took a swipe at Weprin’s Republican opponent, retired Rockaway businessman Bob Turner, suggesting Turner should not run a campaign tying Weprin to President Barack Obama.

“Anyone who wants to take issues with the president’s policies — as I have certainly done whenever I’ve felt it necessary — should make the case without unfairly trying to implicate David,” the congressman said. “His strong, lifelong record of support for Israel and the Jewish community is without blemish and he deserved to be recognized for it. At minimum, David should be judged based on his own record and his own views — not those of any other elected official.”

Ackerman also warned Turner not to make Israel an issue in the campaign, arguing that both Democrats and Republicans support the Jewish state.

“I would urge extreme caution to anyone proposing to make Israel into a partisan truncheon in our domestic politics,” Ackerman said. “Bipartisan support for Israel in the United States is a vital national security interest of the Jewish state, and something Israel’s most senior and responsible officials have reiterated continuously for decades. Jeopardizing that support by thrusting Israel into our contentious politics is deeply irresponsible and does Israel a considerable disservice.

“Both Democrats and Republicans are rightfully proud of their strong support for our special relationship with Israel, and David Weprin, when he comes to Congress, will be yet another powerful advocate for those unbreakable and special bonds,” Ackerman said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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