Letter: Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Spirit Is Alive In Great Neck

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I have been a close friend of Steve Markowitz for almost 40 years. I have worked closely with him on Temple Israel governance, many community-wide activities and until my appointment as a NIFA director, supporting Democratic Party candidates. Steve is one of the individuals whose contribution to civic life makes Great Neck the outstanding community we all love. I am proud to say Steve Markowitz is my good friend.

It is with a broken heart that I have concluded that the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is alive and well in Great Neck. The personal attacks that have been thrown at Steve are completely untrue, uncalled for, vile and disgusting. The fact that they are completely baseless and are supposedly based upon second- and third-hand conversations can only lead to the conclusion that there is another agenda at work here.

To call Steve anti-Semitic or anti-Persian is so outrageous I hesitate to respond. Steve served as president of Temple Israel and, then, years later was asked to serve again when our temple found itself in a leadership vacuum. Temple Israel is one of the leading Conservative temples in the world with a membership that is more than one third Persian. To think we would tolerate an anti-Semitic or anti-Persian as president is slanderous plain and simple. Similarly, to say he is anti-Orthodox ignores the work he has done fostering intra-Jewish relations.

The other charges are as ridiculous as well. To question his leadership of the Holocaust center by people who have never been active at the center speaks for itself. Obviously, his peers feel differently having reelected him to his chairmanship numerous times. If people feel they would like to see improvements in the operations, they should first try becoming involved.

I worked on many political campaigns with Steve and never saw him employ anything like the “political tricks” utilized in the last Village of Great Neck election. I do know that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

I sincerely hope that this obviously political campaign of personal attacks and harassment is not a harbinger of things to come. It will take a lot of hard work to erase the memory of this disgusting episode.

—Howard S. Weitzman
Former Mayor Great Neck Estates
Former Nassau County Comptroller

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