Republican challenger Jay Townsend ripped into New York Senator George Schumer on Israel in a televised debate and criticized the incumbent for holding press conferences “on such inane issues as airline baggage fees, the increase of salt in cheeseburgers, sunscreen and Facebook but, he won't utter a word of protest regarding the president's treatment of Israel.”
During the head-to-head matchup, Townsend repeatedly ripped into the Democratic incumbent who is running for his third term in the Senate, saying Schumer's record has been a disaster for New York.
Israel was not a major topic in the debate, but the two candidates sharply differed on the controversial mosque to be built near Ground Zero. Sen. Schumer said he is “not opposed” to the mosque, while Townsend stated, “I believe it is offensive and insensitive to the relatives of the victims.”
Townsend previously has taken a solid pro-Israel stand, while Sen. Schumer, was put on the spot earlier this year by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who pressured him into criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama for publicly scolding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for Israel’s approval of new homes for Jews in united Jerusalem.
In an interview with Israel National News earlier this year, Townsend said, “Settlements are not an obstacle to peace." He charged Sen. Schumer with being silent “on the pressure Israel is facing from this administration and his silence on the Iranian nuclear threat have been deafening. I don't believe that the creation of a Palestinian state will bring peace to this war torn region, and I vehemently oppose the creation of a state that would represent an existential threat to Israel's security.”
The recent televised debate focused on hot domestic issues, including the stimulus bill, financial regulation of Wall Street and the healthcare reform bill.
"The stimulus bill was a lie, and a fraud and a farce upon the American people,” Townsend charged. "Senator Schumer, you sound like the sixth grader who keeps telling his teacher that his dog ate his homework.”
He also accused Sen. Schumer of working in tandem with the Obama administration and selling out New York for the "Obama-Pelosi-Schumer agenda.” He said that Schumer was "so blinded by dreams of becoming Senate leader" that he voted for an early version of the healthcare bill that shortchanged New York state by $1 billion so he could “curry favor" with fellow Democrats "who will then vote for him to become majority leader."
Townsend kept hammering away at the "Obamacare" healthcare reform bill that he said would "bankrupt the country."
Sen. Schumer responded that he had successfully removed the billion-dollar hit from the bill and replaced it with language that should save New York an additional $2 billion. He also maintained, as he does whenever asked about the possibility of becoming the most powerful person in the Senate, that he expects the current Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (D) to win re-election “and I’m working hard for him.”
The senator highlighted his work aiding small businesses and protecting middle class consumers. In defense of the president, Sen. Schumer said, "The president stepped up to the plate, urged by the way not just by Democratic economists, but by Republican economists, even though he knew that it might be unpopular and stepped up. We have a stimulus bill that prevented us from going into the Great Depression."
Both candidates called for immigration reform, but Townsend said he does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants.
INN recently met with Jay Townsend who said of his support of Israel, "I look forward to working with those in New York State who also defend Israel's right to exist and who realize that the security of the United States is dependent on Israel's security. As an United States senator representing the great people of the state of New York, I consider this to be an issue of paramount importance and if I'm elected, I will make it a top priority while in the Senate."
According to the latest Marist poll, Schumer leads Townsend by 28 percentage points among likely voters. The Townsend campaign has called on the entire electorate of New York State to come out to the polls on November 2nd to make their voices heard.