Watch CBS News

Jewish Voters Could Very Well Decide House Battle Between Barron, Jeffries

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There will be a showdown Tuesday in Brooklyn and Queens. Jewish voters could end up deciding a hotly contested race for Congress.

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries wants to help close the deficit by taxing the rich. He wants immigration reform and affordable health care. Councilman Charles Barron says ditto to that.

But in their heated contest to replace retiring Congressman Ed Towns it is their positions on Israel and the Middle East that may decide the election, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported Monday.

"I look forward to pushing the administration to continue to be the strongest possible friend to Israel," Jeffries said.

"It's not just Israel, it's the Palestinian people, too, so when I say it can't just be about Israel, what about establishing a Palestinian state?" Barron said.

Although the district includes heavy minority communities like Bedford Stuyvesant and Fort Greene, nearly 75 percent of the district is black and Hispanic. It also includes heavily Jewish areas like Coney Island and Brighton Beach.

The fact that Barron has made some controversial statements about Israel over the years -- he once said the government of Israel is "the biggest terrorist in the world" -- has caused the Jeffries campaign to make mobilizing Jews one of their priorities

In dealing with Iran's nuclear threat, Barron said the U.S. can't threaten to attack.

"I don't think attacking people, threatening people ... you want Iran to not have a nuclear weapon then tell America and Israel and all of these other countries that have nuclear weapons to disarm," Barron said.

"Any decision of war and peace is one that must be solemnly weighed, but I do believe that the president, in partnership with our allies in Israel and in Europe, have to be prepared to strike militarily if necessary," Jeffries said.

The two also differ on whether they'll abide by the congressional dress code of a tie and jacket. Jeffries said he will. Barron, who favors a high-collared jacket and no tie, said he intends to dress in a dignified way, but he won't commit to wearing a tie.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below ...

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.