News

Bloomberg went to Israel once in his first 60 years. And then he ran for office….

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Here’s an excellent report in the WSJ by Michael Howard Saul on Mike Bloomberg’s Jewish identity that makes it clear that he is an integrationist Jew, like myself. Jewishness is important to him but he let much of it "dribble away" when he came to the big city, as Kafka said of his father’s religiosity, Note that Bloomberg has a non-Jewish girlfriend and did not bat mitzvah his daughters. In the full article, you see more-strongly-identified Jews raising an eyebrow about Bloomberg.

In the NYT’s reporting on the mosque, it was suggested that Bloomberg was motivated by observing anti-Semitism in his youth. This time we see the plain truth– he has said that he "never" experienced anti-Semitism–and the parable is that his father gave money to the NAACP out of concern for discrimination.

"If you want to be free, you’ve got to let the other person be free," Mr. Bloomberg said in the February interview. "That’s what my religion’s taught me, and I think God will judge you on what you do and how you help others, as opposed to how you worship and what the customs and ceremonies that your particular religion has."

So he sounds a universalist theme, which we all know points in one direction: freedom for Palestinians. Maybe Mike Bloomberg is the missing link. If anyone can talk about the Israel lobby, maybe it is Bloomberg, who has so distinguished himself as a leader in recent weeks.

Of course there is one problem. Bloomberg went to Israel once in his first 60 years. And then? He ran for office, became mayor. And since then, as people have spoken of him as a presidential candidate, he has gone many times. The Israel lobby, before your eyes. Saul in the Journal:

New York City’s last Jewish mayor, Ed Koch, was "much more vocal about his Judaism" than Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Sheinkopf and others said. But Mr. Bloomberg is "certainly supportive of the state of Israel, without a question, and that’s a mark of Jewish interest and Jewish involvement," Mr. Sheinkopf said.

The mayor had a bar mitzvah, a Jewish rite of passage, but neither of his two daughters had bat mitzvahs. The mayor’s ex-wife, Susan Bloomberg, whose mother was Jewish, "kind of raised us to be Church of England," though the family celebrated the major Jewish holidays, the mayor’s youngest daughter, Georgina, said in a 2009 biography of Mr. Bloomberg. The mayor’s longtime companion, Diana Taylor, is not Jewish.

Prior to running for mayor, Mr. Bloomberg visited Israel once as a private citizen. But since he won his first election, he has traveled on his private plane to the Jewish state many times to denounce terrorism. He’s also bankrolled a wing at Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Medical Center in honor of his mother, and he funded the renovation of Jerusalem’s main ambulance center in honor of his father.On a trip to Israel in 2003, the mayor delivered a stirring speech to a crowd of hundreds on a street where a suicide bus bomber killed 21 people weeks earlier.

8 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments