Times Square, New York City
Times Square, New York CityGili Yaari/Flash 90

New York City Rep. Jerry Nadler (D), who is the last Jewish member of the House of Representatives from New York City, made the case that his re-election is essential to representing Jewish concerns in Congress, and to combat antisemitism and BDS.

Speaking at the NY-12 Candidate Forum, Nadler replied to a question about why he was making a “big deal” about the fact that he was the last Jewish House member from New York City, as well as the dean of the Jewish caucus and its most senior member.

Nadler, who has represented New York in Congress since 1992 and is currently in a tough Democratic primary fight for his party’s nomination, argued that it it essential that the most Jewish city in the world outside of Israel have a Jewish representative in Congress.

“It matters precisely because of some of the things we've been talking about today... the rising antisemitism in the country and we have to have more and more attention and frankly political power to fight this antisemitism, and to understand how to fight it and to have the people in Congress in particular who can talk to the left, which is the progressives and keep them pro-Israel,” Nadler said.

“We know that a lot of antisemitism comes from the right and we need education because I don't think they're going to listen to anybody in Congress.”

He described himself as “a Jewish member of Congress who has the three positions that I have and has the ability to work with the progressives, has the ability and has shown the ability and the resource and the willingness to use the resources to prevent BDS from getting a foothold on the left.”

During the debate, Nadler noted: “When I was elected to Congress in 1992, there were eight Jewish members from New York. There is now only one.”

“If I’m not re-elected the Jewish community will be the largest – the only large community – without representation.”

The 75-year old Nadler said that he’s been a Zionist since he was 8-years old.

“My history as a committed Jew and Zionist goes way back. When I was in college I formed a ZOA chapter. I have committed to Jewish values and Israel ever since,” Nadler said.