NEW YORK – Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City, broke ranks with the Democratic party and urged voters to punish the White House for its policy toward Israel by voting for the GOP candidate in a local congressional election.

Koch threw his support behind Republican Bob Turner on Monday in the race for the House seat vacated by disgraced politician Anthony Weiner, saying it would signal US President Barack Obama to reevaluate his relationship with Jerusalem.

“The election of Bob Turner in a normally safe Democratic district running against President Obama’s position on Israel...would send a message to his own party leadership as well as to President Obama,” Koch was quoted as saying on Monday.

The 86-year-old politician is angry with Obama after the latter called for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, with land swaps.

Weiner stepped down as representative for New York’s heavily Democratic and Jewish ninth congressional district, covering parts of Queens and Brooklyn, after it was revealed he sent lewd photos of himself to women over the Internet.

Turner is running against David I. Weprin, a Democratic politician and a practicing Orthodox Jew.

“Many in politics think my endorsement of Bob Turner is a quixotic effort – tilting at windmills,” said Koch, who was the mayor of New York between 1978 and 1989 and is known for his staunch support of Israel. “I do not.”

“David Weprin could not be an effective messenger,” Koch said. “His election would be viewed by President Obama as simply that of another Democrat elected to office in what is one of the largest Jewish constituencies.”

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