I ran for mayor of our fine village this June. It was a brief five-week campaign that we ran on the issues I thought were important to our community. But, instead, the brevity of the campaign made the community’s lack of familiarity with me the issue. I lost the election and now advocate for peace and harmony.
Now, in the election aftermath, individuals attack my campaign and its supporters for losing in a most unsportsmanlike, foul manner with a message of hate projecting their own intolerance for others. In the utmost height of intolerance, individuals attacked Steve Markowitz, the chair of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center, for supporting non-Jewish candidates, a Chinese-American veteran for mayor and a black woman for trustee. Steve Markowitz is a man who has worked tirelessly to fight intolerance across Long Island and New York, from helping kids in our schools stand up to bullies and intolerance, to fighting intolerance in our backyard. And, for this effort, he is now being attacked. These attacks and threats against Steve Markowitz are unjustified, reprehensible, divisive and damaging to the future of our community.
My campaign was focused on the issues and calls for a debate were unheeded. We never, at any time, issued any messages of hate of any kind, including anything anti-Orthodox or anti-Persian. Nor did we anonymously call rabbis with messages of racism and lies, leave hate literature at synagogues, nor write fraudulent racist letters to the press to rile up the opposition. Not a single message of hate was directed at the opposition. The only messages of hate were to rile up the opposition against my campaign, while I stayed on the issues and tried to have a debate.
Also, individuals in our community have fabricated a partisan fight from this nonpartisan election. Personally, I am a political moderate and have been a registered Republican and Democrat. I have also worked for both Democrats and Republicans. I care about issues, not parties. Of my trustees, one is a Republican/Independent, the other a Democrat. However, at no time was there ever any partisan involvement in my campaign.
I worked with Steve Markowitz and hold him in the highest regard. I worked with Ben Meed at the American Gathering for Jewish Holocaust Survivors to build its online presence. I gained an understanding of the horror of the Holocaust, and I had made an effort to impart this on my children before I ever thought of moving to Great Neck. I’ve talked with them about the horrors of the Holocaust, that there are even people who would pretend such horrors never happened, that this is something humanity must never forget and that we must fight at every turn. I’ve taken my children to a Holocaust survivor book reading and to a Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center benefit. My youngest child found this event so moving that she initiated a Facebook fundraiser, collecting $95 for the center.
Also, the Great Neck Chinese community has an excellent relationship with the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center, which Steve Markowitz has been instrumental in building. He is a man who has long worked effectively to build peace and harmony in our community beyond politics, for the greater good, for all of us.
Steve Makowitz is an individual who I respect and admire.
Steve Markowitz is an honest, selfless leader. I believe in him.
The election is over.
The rancor is done.
We must move forward and strive to work together for the greater good of our community.