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De Blasio is hawkish on Iran, and his bundler funds Israeli army

on 29 Comments

One of the mantras of those who seek fairness in the Israel/Palestine conflict is “progressive except Palestine,” or PEP. It describes public figures who score well on any list of progressive issues, then go right on Palestine. Bill de Blasio is PEP.

The other day we noted that the NY Democratic mayoral hopeful with the huge lead in the polls had praised the late racist Israeli rabbi Ovadia Yosef, which put him to the right of Republican candidate Joe Lhota.

Well, today Brigid Bergin of WNYC did an excellent report on de Blasio’s hawkish stance on Iran. The piece specifically contrasts de Blasio’s rightwing position re Iran– the only foreign policy issue he stuck his neck out on as NY’s public advocate– with his leftwing work as a young man in Nicaragua.

The piece says that de Blasio’s positioning helped him with bundlers and voters.

Note de Blasio’s close connections with Matthew Hiltzik, the wired-inside-the-Jewish-community p.r. guy who has worked for Hillary Clinton and Harvey Weinstein and promotes Israel when he gets a chance. And with Dov Hikind, the Brooklyn city councilman who is a rightwing supporter of Israel.

From Bergin’s report:

In March 2012, de Blasio also made an unusual foray into foreign policy when he launched an online campaign targeting car companies that did business with Iran.

It was called the Iran Watchlist and it was the only foreign policy platform de Blasio took on as public advocate. It was also politically advantageous. The move bolstered de Blasio’s support in a politically-active Jewish community…

The campaign was a joint effort between the public advocate’s office and Iran 180, a coalition organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC), and United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI), a nonprofit advocacy group aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. ..

“This was.. part of an ongoing dialogue about some of the goals, some of his goals as public advocate and some of the things he wanted to achieve,” said Matthew Hiltzik, the founder of the strategic communications and consulting firm Hiltzik Strategies.

De Blasio and Hiltzik became friends 13 years ago while working together on Hillary Clinton’s first Senate campaign. Hiltzik oversaw outreach to Jewish voters while de Blasio was the campaign manager…

Ahmadinejad at wheel of Nissan taxi

Ahmadinejad at wheel of Nissan taxi

Bergin reports that de Blasio tweeted the above image of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the wheel of a Nissan cab that Mayor Mike Bloomberg had declared the taxi of tomorrow. But Nissan sells cars in Iran, which made it a target for de Blasio boycott call:

More on de Blasio, Hikind and the Nissan:

He and Assemblyman Dov Hikind stood outside the New York City Autoshow to protest the city’s selection of the Nissan NV-200 for the Taxi of Tomorrow, a 10-year contract worth an estimated $1 billion. Nissan is one of the car makers on the Iran Watchlist….

Two major players from the taxi industry who also opposed the [Nissan] plan were among the biggest bundlers in de Blasio’s mayoral campaign. Jean Barrett, executive director of the Metro Taxi Board of Trade, raised $49,000 from 41 donors. Evgeny Freidman, president of the Taxi Club, raised $49,450 from 11 donors.

Bergin should have noted that Freidman is a big supporter of the Israel Defense Forces, and of trips to Israel for Russian American youth. Still, this is a fine report. All I’ve ever asked for from the mainstream media is smart reporting on the politics and generosity of the Israel lobby. Bergin’s skeptical-but-straight report is a great sign.

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29 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    October 11, 2013, 11:52 am

    It’s frankly an embarassment that an American city is so top to bottom in the bag for the worst of the worst in the Apartheid state. Shameful, really.

    • Krauss
      October 11, 2013, 1:09 pm

      Power politics.
      de Blasio does not need the Haredi vote, although better a little than nothing I suppose.
      It’s more the power of the purse. It was the same dynamic in Chicago; a group of overwhelmingly Jewish donors which Obama referred to as ‘his braintrust’.
      New York City is the epicenter of Jewish life, it’s here and in the surrounding areas that the Jewish elite mostly lives.

      And Israel is the center for a lot of these donors. de Blasio may be more progressive than most other candidates but let us not get ahead of overselves over his idealism. He worked as Hillary’s right-hand man, after all, during her 2000 campaign. Clinton’s Third Way politics is not exactly a progressive’s dream and this is something de Blasio embraced not-too-long-ago.

      I think he learned some lessons from it and probably moved a bit to the left but I wouldn’t conclude that his election heralds ‘the new new left’ as Beinart put it in a recent article:

      • Krauss
        October 11, 2013, 1:12 pm

        (Incidentially, the Democrats will dominate the political landscape in the next 20 years due to sheer demographics, but this does not mean by default that we will see more liberalism. Our concept of liberalism has been pushed so far to the right that it’s mostly a correction to the insanity seen in the last 30 years. Just undoing the damage will take generations.)

      • Citizen
        October 12, 2013, 6:46 am

        @ Krauss
        Obama has made the Democratic Party safer for America’s 1%, usurping the classical GOP mission and/or partnering with it; here’s a good article on what Obama has wrought:

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 11, 2013, 2:07 pm

        Krauss, I think your statements are correct. One shouldn’t look to any politician for idealism. I’m lamenting that fact, that’s all.

  2. pabelmont
    October 11, 2013, 12:35 pm

    “But Nissan sells cars in Iran, which made it a target for de Blasio boycott call:”

    Good! Our Bill supports Boycotts, probably Sanctions as well (all against Iran, to be sure, but a principle is a principle). So let’s advertise Our Bill’s principled support for the “BS” (ummm, sorry about that!) in “BDS”.

    Back to reality. This story shows how sick American politics is when LOCAL POLS must garner support by making statements about policies far beyond what the elective office they seek could be concerned with. I suppose the BUNDLERs don’t want to support him today if he could later embarrass them when he reaches for higher office.

    • Walid
      October 11, 2013, 3:44 pm

      In April 2012, United Against Nuclear Iran joined de Blasio’s campaign by sending a blackmailing threatening letter to Renault to stop dealings with Iran. Both de Blasio’s and UANI letters were sent to Carlos Ghosn, Chairman of both Nissan and of Renault. If all their efforts fail, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Blasio and the gang attacking Ghosn’s roots for being behind the dealing with Iran.

  3. hophmi
    October 11, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Phil, I don’t think reports like these are anything new. It’s not a secret that the JCRC doesn’t like Iran and it’s not a secret that Jewish groups have political power in NYC. You had similar reporting fifteen years ago when Rudy Giuliani tried to bar Arafat from the city, and after 9/11, when he refused to accept the donation of a Saudi sheikh.

    • Krauss
      October 11, 2013, 1:05 pm

      Your logic gets dumber by the day. So because this kind of corruption has a long history we should gloss over it and/or forget about it; brilliant thinking hophmi.

      We all know you defend it for all the same reasons: this corruption helps Israel.

      And at any rate, Phil’s point is that the reporting on the corruption is relatively new, but this went over your head(surprise surprise).

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      October 11, 2013, 1:29 pm

      Giuliani didn’t paint himself as a progressive. You expect there to be a stench of fascism around him.

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 2:53 pm

        “Your logic gets dumber by the day. So because this kind of corruption has a long history we should gloss over it and/or forget about it; brilliant thinking hophmi.”

        “Phil’s point is that the reporting on the corruption is relatively new, but this went over your head(surprise surprise).”

        Umm, no. All I said was that reporting like this was not new. Ie, it’s not a story that has been suppressed in recent memory.

        Try reading what I actually write before you respond.

        It’s also not really corruption. De Blasio’s in the middle of a campaign. He’s not governing, and he’s not making substantial choices based on the campaign donations of those who favor a hard line on Iran.

        The issue isn’t going to figure a whole lot in the running of NY City.

      • hophmi
        October 11, 2013, 2:54 pm

        “Giuliani didn’t paint himself as a progressive. You expect there to be a stench of fascism around him.”

        What does Iran have to do with progressivism? Is it a progressive position to advocate allowing Iran to gain nuclear weapons?

      • Keith
        October 11, 2013, 7:06 pm

        HOPHMI- “What does Iran have to do with progressivism? Is it a progressive position to advocate allowing Iran to gain nuclear weapons?”

        A progressive would oppose US intervention in the affairs of Iran and stress diplomacy over sanctions and threats of war. A progressive would most certainly not be fooled by the imperial pretext of concern over nuclear weapons, the US having done more than any other nation to advance the development and deployment of nuclear weapons. A progressive would support a nuclear free Middle East which Iran supports and US/Israel oppose. A progressive wouldn’t be a mindless supporter of Israel and Zionism, such as you. Below is a two paragraph quote from Noam Chomsky concerning the relevant facts of the issue which US/Israeli propaganda distort.

        “So for example in 2010 there was a very positive advance that could have mitigated whatever the threat is supposed to be. Turkey and Brazil reached a deal with Iran in which Iran would ship out its low-enriched uranium in exchange for storage in Turkey, and in return the west would provide isotopes for Iran’s medical reactors. As soon as that was announced Brazil and Turkey were bitterly condemned by Washington and by the media, which more or less reflexively follow what Washington says. The Brazilian government was pretty upset by this, so much so that the Brazilian Foreign Minister released a letter from President Obama to the president of Brazil in which Obama had proposed this assuming that Iran would turn it down. When Iran accepted, of course he had to denounce it and Obama went right to the Security Council to try to get harsher sanctions.

        There’s a more recent one that is even more interesting. Last December there was supposed to be an international conference in Finland to carry forward longstanding efforts to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons, all weapons of mass destruction in fact, in the Middle East. This is under the auspices of the proliferation treaty, basically the UN. Well it was to be in December, it didn’t happen. The first thing that happened is that Israel announced they wouldn’t participate. Then everyone who was interested was waiting to see if Iran would participate. Iran said they would participate with no conditions. Immediately Obama called off the conference….” (Noam Chomsky)

      • Frankie P
        Frankie P
        October 11, 2013, 7:08 pm

        Yes, hophmi, we all realize that driving automobiles is like a gateway drug. Today, you’re driving cars, tomorrow you are gaining nuclear weapons.


      • Citizen
        October 12, 2013, 6:50 am

        @ hophmi
        It’s a progressive position to advocate Israel join the NPT, which Iran has already joined.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        October 12, 2013, 11:19 am

        “What does Iran have to do with progressivism?”

        Because reactionaries and right wingers in the US and israel have tried their damnedest to start a war against the Iranian people, to further israel’s interests and based on their psychotic and paranoid bigotry and fantasies about Iran. Netanyahoo must have a time machine, because he’s been warning that Iran is 6 months away from a nuclear weapon for years.

        “Is it a progressive position to advocate allowing Iran to gain nuclear weapons?”


      • James Canning
        James Canning
        October 14, 2013, 2:09 pm

        @Citizen – – Progressive, and conservative, to call for Israel to sign NPT get rid of its nukes. (But obviously not neocon, to make that call)

  4. James Canning
    James Canning
    October 11, 2013, 1:56 pm

    Bill de Blasio clearly sees that being a stooge of the Israel lobby is the way forward in the politics of NYC.

  5. Sycamores
    October 11, 2013, 3:08 pm

    de Blasio boycott call on Nissan, i wonder does he know that Nissan has created more than 14,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States.

  6. Walid
    October 11, 2013, 3:28 pm

    de Blasio’s blackmailing stunt and call to boycott Nissan appears to have failed for the time being although the legal fight is not over. From NYT Sept.15th:

    “… Beginning Oct. 28, virtually every new non-hybrid taxi is required to be a Nissan NV200, the Taxi of Tomorrow chosen by New York City as part of a competition in 2011. The cabs are expected to be phased in over three to five years, until nearly all of the city’s roughly 13,000 yellow cabs are the same. ”

    And yesterday from Bloomberg:

    “… Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Hagler ruled Oct. 8 that the city exceeded its authority in requiring that cab operators have no choice except to buy a remodeled taxi version of Nissan’s NV200 van. Unless the Bloomberg administration can win an appeal before Dec. 31, when the mayor leaves office, the effort to standardize a fleet of 15,237 cabs with the Nissan-built vans will die. The cars are due to hit the streets Oct. 28. ”

  7. DICKERSON3870
    October 11, 2013, 4:46 pm

    RE: “Note de Blasio’s close connections with . . . Dov Hikind, the Brooklyn city councilman who is a rightwing supporter of Israel.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “New McCarthyism: Brooklyn College fires teacher who dared to speak out for Palestinian self-determination”, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 1/31/11

    [EXCERPT] Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a political science doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center, has been fired from his position as an
    adjunct professor at Brooklyn College one week before his course on Middle East politics was slated to begin.
    The case was taken up by the Brooklyn College administration after a student enrolled in his course raised concerns that Mr. Petersen-Overton’s alleged pro-Palestinian bias would prevent him from conducting a balanced seminar. The student expressed these concerns with the political science department but agreed not to pursue further action until after the course actually began. However, this student contacted state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who then characterized Mr. Petersen-Overton as “pro-suicide bomber” in a letter to the college President.
    In a response sent to Hamodia newspaper on Wednesday, Mr. Petersen-Overton expressed concerns “that a state official would denounce my work so strongly without, apparently, having offered it more than a cursory reading. [Hikind’s] press release … is slander pure and simple.” Mr. Petersen-Overton emphasized that his work has little to do with suicide bombers and that Mr. Hikind deliberately twisted his conclusions to make it appear otherwise.
    The allegations against Mr. Petersen-Overton center on time he spent in the Gaza Strip working for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and on an unpublished scholarly paper [“Inventing the Martyr”] that analyzes the symbolic place of martyrdom in Palestinian nationalism. Petersen-Overton’s detractors also took issue with the fact that, according to his personal website, he still maintains “close contact” with the Palestinian activist community. . .

    SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870
      October 11, 2013, 4:49 pm

      P.S. FROM Anonymous @ Mondoweiss on May 11, 2011:

      [EXCERPTS] . . . In 1994, Brooklyn assemblyman Dov Hikind picked George Pataki for governor and Carl McCall for comptroller. That was huge politically. And so the buzz around Hikind mushroomed. 1994 also brought an end to Democratic control of Congress.
      By the spring of ’95, Hikind was throwing a fundraiser on the Inteprid, and word got out that Newt Gingrich would be making a special appearance. But in the end he didn’t. And the reason was Jerusalem and Hikind’s settler ties. Hikind’s wife, Shani Hikind, was an executive with the Jerusalem Reclamation Project.
      The JRP was involved in the Good Friday takeover of St. John’s Hospice back in 90 in Jerusalem (covered by Jeffrey Goldberg here ).
      At the time, that was even too much for Christian Zionists. Mindful of the fact that he was was holding a constitutional office in the line of succession, Newt never appeared at the Hikind bash. . .

      SOURCE –

    • hophmi
      October 11, 2013, 4:54 pm

      Welcome to another in our series, “Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows.”

      • Citizen
        October 12, 2013, 6:52 am

        @ hophmi
        Yes. Read The Transfer Agreement, original edition.

    • DICKERSON3870
      October 11, 2013, 4:54 pm

      P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Perry embraces violent Jewish extremists, Politico’s Ben Smith calls him ‘moderate’”, by Max Blumenthal , Mondoweiss, 1/21/11

      [EXCERPT] Yesterday, I attended Rick Perry’s press conference at the W Hotel in New York City, where the Texas Governor and Republican presidential frontrunner denounced President Barack Obama for supposedly “appeasing” America’s enemies in the Middle East and failing to sufficiently support Israel. The Perry appearance was timed to pre-empt Obama’s speech at the UN in which the President would reject Palestinian demands for statehood.
      The most remarkable aspect of Perry’s press conference was the cast of characters that assembled behind the Governor while he spoke. To Perry’s immediate right was Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the former leader of the Jewish Defense League, a terrorist group responsible for bombing attacks on numerous Arab-American targets and a conspiracy to murder Republican Rep. Darrell Issa. While Hikind’s collaborator Victor Vancier spent ten years in jail for firebomb attacks, Hikind was suspected by the FBI of numerous terror attacks of his own. After issuing numerous stentorian condemnations of terror, Perry handed the mic over to Hikind, who exclaimed, “I heard the Governor’s speeches and I said to myself, ‘He sounds like me!'” The two engaged in a sustained hug before a giant media gaggle.
      To Perry’s left was Dr. Solomon “Joe” Frager, who was listed on official Perry press material as the organizer of the press conference. Frager is the Chairman of the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, a front group for the Ateret Cohanim organization that steals Palestinian property in East Jerusalem and hands it over to fanatically religious Jewish families. They are the spearhead of Israel’s slow motion ethnic cleansing of Silwan and the Old City. For a glimpse at the zealotry, racism and sheer sleaziness behind Ateret Cohanim’s operation, watch Louis Theroux’s excellent BBC documentary, “The Ultra-Zionists,” which follows Ateret Cohanim’s man-on-the-ground Daniel Luria as he personally orchestrates the theft of Palestinian homes. . .

      SOURCE –

  8. DICKERSON3870
    October 11, 2013, 7:33 pm

    RE: “In March 2012, de Blasio also made an unusual foray into foreign policy when he launched an online campaign targeting car companies that did business with Iran. It was called the Iran Watchlist . . . The campaign was a joint effort between the public advocate’s office and Iran 180 . . .” ~ from Bergin’s report

    “Pro-Israel Lobby Uses Sexual Humiliation, Gay Pornography in Anti-Iran Propaganda War”, by Richard Silverstein, TikunOlam, 6/11/12

    [EXCERPT] Ben Doherty published an illuminating report at Electronic Intifada about a new initiative by the American Jewish pro-Israel lobby to smear Iran. There are so many that it wouldn’t be newsworthy but for the fact that this new group, Iran180, created under the auspices of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council, is using sexual humiliation and abuse as a political tool smearing Iran’s president.
    At San Francisco’s 2011 Gay Pride parade, Iran180 hosted a float which featured a huge papier-mache Ahmadinejad figure with his pants down being sodomized by a presumably Israeli nuclear missile. The original caption accompanying this image was: “Ahmadinejad Getting Fu**ed in the Ass with a Nuclear Weapon.” Another image featured here shows the Iranian president fellating the same missile. All these are more are linked from the Iran180 site to its Flickr gallery. Another image features Bashar Assad and Ahmadinejad celebrating their gay marriage under a chupah, a Jewish wedding canopy. As shocking as this is (and it is), sleuthing the origins of this group and exposing why it’s presenting such shameful imagery as a form of political discourse in the U.S. is even more instructive. It shows the vast pro-Israel/anti-Iran conspiracy at work in this country seeking any possible opening or advantage in the run-up to Israeli war against Iran. . .


    P.S. ALSO SEE: “Coalition partners don’t associate with astroturfing ‘Iran 180′”, by Allison Deger, Mondoweiss, 6/29/12
    LINK –

  9. charlesfrith
    October 11, 2013, 9:02 pm

    De Blasio is a Zionist warmonger. Randy Credico has a great proposal for a 1% Wall St sales tax.

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