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October 19, 2018 4:36 pm

New York GOP Candidate Chele Farley Ahead of Debate With Incumbent Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: ‘She Turned Her Back on Israel’

avatar by Ben Cohen

Chele Farley, New York’s Republican candidate for the US Senate. Photo:

On Sunday night, Chele Farley will take the stage for a televised debate with her opponent, the incumbent New York Democratic Party Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, in what will be the best opportunity she has to persuade New York voters to do what they haven’t done in a generation: elect a Republican candidate to the US Senate.

When Farley spoke with The Algemeiner on Friday morning, as she prepared for her showdown with Gillibrand, she was unfazed by suggestions that Capitol Hill veteran Gillibrand — who won a statewide record 72 percent of the vote in 2012, and who has served as the junior senator from New York since 2009 — was too formidable an opponent.

“During her 12 years in DC (Gillbrand was first elected to the US Congress in 2006), she’s forgotten about the people of New York,” Farley charged. “She’s gotten one bill passed in that entire time. The people of New York needs someone who will fight for them, and that’s what I will do when I go to Washington.”

Farley’s optimism is partly based on her projections of a lower voter turnout compared to 2012 — when New Yorkers voted in record numbers to elect President Barack Obama to a second term. “This election will be a far more level playing field between the Democrats and the other parties,” she predicted.

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On the “dollars and cents” concerns that weigh on the minds of midterms voters, Farley highlighted the $60 billion that New York sends annually to the federal government — Exhibit “A” in her case for putting, in a nod to President Donald Trump’s 2016 election slogan, “New York First.”

“We send so much more than we get back, and we need to send less,” Farley — who spent 28 years on Wall Street after graduating from Stanford University with a degree in engineering — said emphatically. One of her proposals is to extend the tax breaks enjoyed by homeowners to the 4 million New Yorkers who rent their homes — an annual tax saving of $36,000 each. She also wants to reduce property taxes, which she argued disproportionately hit New York. “Nine out of 10 counties with the highest property taxes are all in New York State,” she pointed out.

Farley also stressed the substantive differences on foreign policy between her platform and Gillibrand’s, no more so than on the matter of Israel.

“She has turned her back on Israel to appeal to the liberal activist coalitions,” Farley said of her opponent. “She voted for the Iran nuclear deal, she voted against approving [David] Friedman as ambassador to Israel, and she voted against the Taylor Force Act.” Passed in March 2018, and named for the former US army officer murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv two years earlier, the Taylor Force Act withholds aid to the Palestinian Authority until it ends its policy of paying salaries and other benefits to imprisoned or dead terrorists and their families.

Farley also attacked Gillibrand over her ongoing association with Linda Sarsour, the Muslim-American activist whose profile looms large in New York’s progressive circles. Gillibrand, she said, “has been a very vocal supporter” of Sarsour, who is in turn known for her uncompromising support of the boycott campaign against Israel, as well as her insistence that “Zionists” are unwelcome in the feminist and broader progressive movement.

“Last week, Sarsour said that Senator Gillibrand was one of their ‘people on the inside’ in DC,” Farley stated. Gillibrand had also “quietly taken her name off” anti-BDS legislation before the Senate — “legislation I absolutely support, would vote for, and would get passed,” Farley added.

Farley credited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for opposing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which the Trump administration withdrew from in May. “Netanyahu showed that Iran wasn’t honoring the deal,” Farley said. “I supported the president getting out of the Iran deal, which effectively allowed Iran to develop nuclear weapons in the relatively near future.” Those weapons, she said, “would be pointed at Israel, they’d be pointed at the United States, they’d be pointed at New York. That’s why getting out of the deal was a good idea and why the sanctions on Iran are a good idea.”

Finally, what did Farley make of outgoing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s remark during a speech on Thursday night, that growing up as an Indian American in rural South Carolina had prepared her for the lonely experience of being a Republican in New York?

“I actually feel that there are Republicans out there, they are just quiet about it,” Farley said. Even so, she volunteered that her husband, Richard, came from a prominent family of New York Democrats. “His great-uncle was Jim Farley, FDR’s campaign manager in 1932 and 1936,” she said. “My husband is the one who encouraged me to run, because he wants more bipartisanship.”

In the final analysis, “I don’t feel like I am running as the Republican candidate against the Democratic candidate,” Farley reflected. “I am running as someone who can get things done, versus someone who in 12 years has managed to get only one bill passed, to rename a post office in New York.”

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