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Barron loses in Brooklyn congressional primary

NEW YORK (JTA) — New York City Councilman Charles Barron, a fierce critic of Israeli policy who was opposed by Jewish lawmakers and top party officials, lost in his bid to secure the Democratic nomination in a Brooklyn congressional race.

Barron lost to state Assemblyman Hakeen Jeffries Tuesday in the fight to succeed 24-year incumbent Rep. Edolphus Towns, also a Democrat, who is retiring at the end of this year. Jeffries attracted support from pro-Israel activists throughout the city and the country.

With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Jeffries easily defeated Barron with nearly 72 percent of the vote to 28 percent for Barron. 

"The political pundits said that this was going to be a close race, but that was before the people had spoken," Jeffries said in his victory speech.

Several current and former New York Jewish elected officials had denounced Barron’s candidacy to represent New York’s 8th Congressional District, citing what they called his anti-Israel views. Ex-Mayor Ed Koch, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), City Councilman David Greenfield and state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, among others, gathered earlier this month in front of the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in downtown Battery Park to call Barron an "enemy of the State of Israel" and the New York Jewish community.

Following Jeffries’ victory, National Jewish Democratic Council President and CEO David Harris congratulated Jeffries on his win.

"Jeffries is an extremely well-qualified public servant who has a proven record of partnering with a broad range of constituencies, including the American Jewish community," Harris said in a statement. 

Barron’s candidacy drew widespread opposition, including from the liberal group MoveOn and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is running as a Republican for Congress in New Jersey.

The politicians at Battery Park expressed support for Jeffries and called Barron an "anti-Semite," "hateful" and a "bigot."

Barron has compared the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews during World War II. He also has publicly praised foreign dictators such as the late Muammar Gadhafi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

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