Lichen Frittata

Shilling in Sderot

Posted in Uncategorized by lichenfrittata on January 9, 2009
(photo courtesy of the AP)

(photo courtesy of the AP)

There are some instances when getting shot at makes it a good day. Such was the moment when Michael Bloomberg narrowly missed being pulverized by a rocket during a visit to Sderot, Israel, during a visit to express support for the nation in its campaign against Hamas in Gaza. “Bloomberg Takes Cover from Rocket in Israel Solidarity Visit” proclaimed the headline from hizzoner’s eponymous news outlet. Bravely putting his body at risk, just like the masses of helpless settlers! it may as well have added.

Of course, Bloomberg is just checking off one of his duties as mayor of New York City; practically every chief executive since Israel was created has either been there or voiced strong support (Ed Koch has been particularly vocal). And for Bloomberg, the display is not purely political: in 2003, he dedicated a women’s center in Jerusalem to his mother, who had a “profound” attachment to Israel.

But though shilling for Israel is a time-honored New York pol’s tradition as well as a personal conviction, that doesn’t make it an appropriate use of the public’s dime. Bloomberg represents an estimated 600,000 Muslim people, who can’t feel all that reassured by a mayor who loudly declares his support for the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians—an issue utterly irrelevant to his duties. Donating to anti-smoking campaigns and medical research is all very well and good, but this kind of private speech that alienates his own constituents on dubious moral grounds stretches the bully pulpit a little too far.

To those who take issue with his unabashed support for the continuing Israeli offensive, Bloomberg only lectured on the city’s “special relationship” with Israel. “If terrorists win there, the terrorists will be on our doorstep next,” he reasoned. “We are all engaged collectively in trying to stop terrorism.”

That’s Bush talk, Mike. It went out of style a while ago.

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