The campaign for mayor of New York City is getting to its final stages. So far, issues like Stop-and-Frisk and education have taken the spotlight in the Democratic primary, which explains the insurgence of Bill de Blasio’s candidacy as the progressive choice over Bill Thompson, who’s has the base of support that would count him in the runoff under any circumstance. Yet, there’s one component missing in the campaign for mayor that had been part of the conversation in the presidential elections and previous citywide elections, and the man missing to voice that is former mayor Ed Koch.
Were Koch still alive, he would’ve played a major role at mobilizing whole communities to support the candidate of his choice. “I can’t think of a candidate who’s a favorite among the universal group of Jews,” George Arzt recently told Tablet Magazine. “I don’t think there’s anyone who can coalesce such a coalition around him.” And it’s not just about personality—it’s about taking real stances on issues that matter to voters. “You don’t hear anybody in the mayoral race with a foreign policy,” Arzt went on. “Ed Koch always had a foreign policy, Israel being his key priority. But it used to be Ireland, Italy, and Israel.” Now, he said, “no one really speaks of a foreign policy except to address immigration as a broad issue.”
While the candidates running for mayor have each expressed, on the trail, pro-Israel statements to hawkish stances on Israel, it was never an issue of debate between the candidates.
Following the announcement of George Soros backing Bill de Blasio for mayor, the issue of Israel has been brought back in the picture by a key surrogate for the campaign of Bill Thompson. Jewish voters who support the State of Israel should be troubled by that endorsement and reconsider their support of Bill de blasio as their choice for mayor, former Senator Al D’Amato told YWN.
“New York city has an unbreakable bond with the State of Israel and its people. That means whoever is going to be elected as our next mayor, will have a major platform and a major microphone, second only to the President and the secretary of state, to state of behalf of the things that are important to the people and the state of Israel,” Mr. D’Amato, who spoke by phone with YWN on Sunday evening, said. “And that’s why Bill de Blasio’s decision to accept the support from a known anti-Israel as George Soros is so deeply troubling and disturbing.”
“It’s troubling to me as a New Yorker and it should be troubling to every other New Yorker, especially the Jewish voters, who want to maintain our City’s strong relationship with the State of Israel. No American should be silent as it relates to this guy – Soros,” he said.
Mr. D’Amato pointed out to the Washington Post Op-Ed by George Soros in which he claims that the main stumbling block to Democracy in the Middle East is Israel.
“It is so disquieting to see a major political force, a major candidate like Bill de Blasio accept his endorsement. That is unacceptable,” Mr. D’Amato said. “I would hope that Bill de Blasio would renounce those statements and renounce the support that George Soros is giving him. This is not a political game. This is about the future of the people in Israel and we cannot sit idly by and just say nothing.”
“I hope that the Jewish community, when they find out this Soros situation, how anti-Israel he is, that it will make the difference,” he added.
YWN: Does this disqualify Bill de Blasio from serving as an advocate for Israel as he has been so for so many years?
Mr. D’Amato also told YWN that he’s planning to join Bill Thompson on the campaign trail at various events in the Jewish community.
Reached for a comment, a spokesman for Bill de Blasio reiterated a statement previously given to YWN:
(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)