By Haleigh Whisted
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
Cynthia Nixon, previously one of the “Sex and the City” star actresses, is running for New York state governor this year. If she wins, Nixon will create huge controversy due to her family’s connection to Judaism and stance on the Israel/Palestine debate, especially in the religious community.
Nixon has close connections to Judaism and has been involved with multiple Jewish organizations and events. While she does not practice Judaism, she is raising her two oldest children as Jews and she has a family history with the religion. She and her children visit the Congregation Beit Simchat Torah every week, where the children attend Hebrew school. She has been an active participant at this synagogue, including delivering sermons and speeches.
Another way that Nixon stays connected to the religion is by advocating for human rights through Jewish organizations. She has participated in the American Jewish World Service campaign for its women’s rights campaign and has hosted a gala for T’ruah, a rabbinic organization that supports human rights.
Nixon will not only represent the Jews if elected in office, but also will represent women and the gay community. If Nixon takes office, she will be the first openly gay New York governor. A win for her would mean a great deal to the oppressed communities in New York.
While the actress has so many deep ties to Judaism, her anti-Israel stance will cause a lot of tension in New York, especially within the Jewish communities. In 2010, Nixon signed a petition in support of Israeli actors who decided not to perform at a cultural center in the city of Ariel, due to the settlements in that area being against international law. Most Jews support the Israeli side in the conflict, but there are some who support the Palestinians as well.
New York has such a large Jewish population that a Nixon victory in November may cause anger amongst New Yorkers. While she obviously respects the religion and has close family that practices it, her opposing Israel looks bad for the Jewish state. Many Jewish voters may vote for current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo due to his traditional method to gain votes from the Jewish community. Cuomo has been pro-Israel for years, including marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade in 2014, and meeting with multiple rabbis during his campaigning.
While this pro-Israel method was once more effective in collecting voters for the win, the state is gradually becoming more left-wing, which may cause a less detrimental effect on Nixon’s votes, even with her stance on Israel.
If the governor position is filled by Nixon, a lot of great change is bound to happen in New York. The actress advocates for same-sex marriage, a woman’s right to her own body, and better education.
A win for Nixon will not only create a stir of emotions and debate, but also be a positive victory for Jews, women and the LGBTQ communities in a social sense.
Haleigh is a sophomore journalism and art major. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.