New York City Councilman Robert Cornegy, Jr. in 2019. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
Robert Cornegy, Jr.

“I was [in Israel], and I understand protecting your homeland from people who really have to do that on a consistent basis,” said Robert Cornegy Jr.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

You can’t miss him walking down the street with his giant 6-foot-10 height and waist-length dreadlocks.

New York City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. isn’t missing a beat, canvassing the Jewish communities in Brooklyn where he is campaigning to become borough president, Jewish Insider(JI) reported Tuesday.

Cornegy also spent significant time in Israel in the 1990s, where he played professional basketball for Maccabi Petach Tikvah and then lived on a kibbutz to “immerse” himself in Israeli culture.

“I played on teams where they were professional athletes and still served in the military,” he recalled in a JI interview. “When I would ask why, there was a level of patriotism that existed that I didn’t even think existed in the United States.”

“I’m a patriot,” Cornegy said. “I love the United States of America. But I hadn’t seen that before.”

He said the recent military confrontation with Hamas terrorists was “incredibly disturbing.”

“I was there, and I understand protecting your homeland from people who really have to do that on a consistent basis,” he said.

Once the holder of the Guinness Record as the world’s tallest politician, Cornegy, 55, is seeking the support of Brooklyn’s Jewish community ahead of primaries on June 22, followed by the general election on November 2.

Cornegy has established himself as one of the leading contenders and has gained endorsements from several prominent Jewish leaders as well as influential celebrities, including Tracy Morgan, JI noted.

Cornegy says his most passionate issue is public safety, and while he wants increased policy accountability, he doesn’t like the progressive demand to defund or abolish the police.

“I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive to demand reform and accountability in the criminal justice system — I’m a Black man in America — while still supporting a platform for solid public safety,” said Cornegy. “I don’t think you have to abandon one for the other.”

With the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in New York, Cornegy said he will push for a task force to deal with hate crime attacks within Brooklyn and encourage the DA to act more forcefully on such designations.

“This kind of hatred, unchecked, only escalates,” said Cornegy, who has close and longstanding ties with Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

Cornegy is the son of a pastor and grew up in a religious household. He has six children and relates to the large families in the Orthodox community.

Last month, while campaigning in Boro Park, he said the lessons from life on kibbutz could be applied in Brooklyn.

“At the New York City Council, we have a push toward worker cooperatives, which I first experienced in Israel … I loved the cooperative spirit because as an athlete, working in sync is very much how we win,” he told Boro Park 24 News.

According to BP24, Cornegy is the only candidate who supports Israel and voted for the 2016 City Council resolution that condemned the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) movement.

“I have been a loud, vocal ally of the Jewish community and I will continue to do that,” Cornegy said.

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