Mike Bloomberg: Anti-Semitism Is A Problem On The Right And The Left. Here’s How I’d Combat It From Day One.

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FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to supporters at a campaign office, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Scarborough, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has sent five questions about anti-Semitism and Jewish issues to all of the registered presidential candidates from both parties. You can read Vice President Joe Biden’s responses here and Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s responses here.

1. Anti-Semitic hate crimes are currently on the rise across the United States. In 2018, there were two deadly shootings at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, violent attacks now regularly plague the Jews of New York City, and Jews continue to be the target of most religion-based hate crimes across the country. In a few sentences, describe your plan to address the rise in U.S. anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitic violence is on the rise. We’ve seen it in the New York area – including the recent horrific attacks in Jersey City – and across the country. As a Jew, as an American and as a human being, I am deeply disturbed every time I hear about these hate crimes.

There is no single answer. And no single person is entirely to blame.

Anti-Semitism is hardly the exclusive domain of one political party.

It can be found on both the right and the left.

But there is one fact that we cannot ignore: Presidential leadership matters.

When the president calls his supporters “real Americans” — an echo of the language that nativists, anti-Semites and the KKK used for many decades — he undermines our fundamental national values.

When he is silent — and even supportive, through his words and tweets — as racist groups spread hate, he puts the public safety of our communities at risk.

When he promotes conspiracy theories that are built on lies and prejudice, we must remember: Anti-Semitism is the original conspiracy theory.

A world in which a president traffics in conspiracy theories is a world in which Jews are not safe.

The best way to combat the rise in anti-Semitism we’ve seen under President Trump is with a president who brings people together instead of tearing them apart. That’s exactly what I will do. I will speak out against anti-Semitism on the right and on the left. I will speak out against it whether it shows up on the floor of Congress — or on campus quads.

But I won’t stop there. I’ll speak out against hatred of all kinds.

That’s something I learned from my parents. My father never made more than $6,000, but I remember him writing out a check to the NAACP for $25 or $50, which was a lot of money for us. When I asked him why, he said: Discrimination against anyone threatens all of us.

I have always carried that lesson with me. And, as president, I will do everything in my power to put an end to all forms of discrimination.

I will label hate crimes as “domestic terrorism” — and charge perpetrators accordingly.

I will launch a national, coordinated effort, led by the FBI director and Department of Justice, to crack down on violent extremists.

I will expand the Department of Education’s Stop Bullying Campaign, so we can put an end to harassment in schools — including on college campuses.

And I will never stand by idly in the face of hatred — against anyone.

2. A number of Democratic lawmakers have recently critiqued Israel in ways that some have characterized as anti-Semitic. What is the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism to you?

Israel is the closest and most reliable U.S. ally in the Middle East. And I believe guaranteeing the survival of a democratic, Jewish state in the Holy Land is a solemn obligation of the United States, as it has been for more than half a century. That doesn’t mean an Israeli government is above criticism. And I am quick to tell them when I believe they’ve done something wrong.

That said, there’s a difference between objecting to specific policies of Israel’s government and attempting to delegitimize Israel altogether — as some on the left have done. When I have differences with Israeli policies, I will work directly with the Israeli government to address my concerns. I will do so in a manner that befits the close relationship between our countries.

Let me be clear: I strongly oppose the BDS movement. And I vehemently disagree with everyone who fails to see why the Jewish people deserve a permanent Jewish state.

Too many people seem to have forgotten the long and painful history of Jews being persecuted around the globe. And too many have overlooked the continued hatred Jews face today.

As president, I will always call out anti-Semitism, no matter which side of the aisle it’s coming from.

Since the very beginning, America’s support for Israel has been strong and broadly bipartisan.

But in the past few years, we have begun to see troubling cracks in that bipartisanship.

And yet: Instead of repairing the cracks, the President has pulled them apart — by trying to use Israel as a wedge issue for his own electoral purposes.

That is a disgrace.

We must never let Israel be a football that American politicians kick around in an effort to score points.

The relationship between our two countries has been so strong because it transcends partisan politics here and in Israel. And it is built on our shared values: freedom and democracy, law and justice, integrity and compassion.

Those are just hollow words to our president. But to me, they are everything.

3. Countless politicians have tried to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and yet a two-state outcome now seems more dream than possibility. What are your concrete plans to address the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians?

Our best hope for enduring peace is an agreement that has as its foundation two states — one Jewish and one Palestinian. That, I believe, is the best way for Israel to remain a prosperous, secure and stable Jewish democracy; and for Palestinians to be provided with the justice, democracy and opportunity they deserve. And it is good that President Trump’s plan affirms that.

But any viable plan requires buy-in from both sides, and over the past three years, the president has done nothing but hurt the U.S.’s position as an effective broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As this process unfolds, it is critical that neither party take unilateral steps that could trigger instability and violence.

The Palestinian people need leaders who prioritize basic services, human rights and economic opportunity; and they need to put an end to all incitement and terrorism — particularly the indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel emanating from Gaza. And Israeli leadership must avoid preemptive actions until they reach a peace agreement with the Palestinian people.

In the meantime, I support continued international assistance to help the Palestinian Authority improve technology, infrastructure, education and entrepreneurship for law-abiding citizens.

Our nation’s commitment to Israel’s security, prosperity and democracy is based on shared values, not just common interests. And as president, I will ensure that commitment remains unshakable.

4. Is there any part of American Jewish culture, or a Jewish figure from history, that has been particularly meaningful to you in your life?

Do my parents qualify as Jewish figures from history? My mother kept a kosher house, but my parents taught me that Judaism is about much more than our rituals. It’s about our values.

Emma Lazarus holds a special place in the hearts of all New Yorkers. And since I grew up in Boston, Red Auerbach was an icon, too. Red is famous for what he did to build one of the great basketball dynasties ever in the Celtics. He was Jewish in a largely Catholic city, but it didn’t matter — most people don’t think of him as a Jewish leader. He was just a leader. And he was the first NBA coach in history to put in an all-black starting five. Because he realized, before we are anything else, we are all humans and all equal. As one of the only Jewish kids in an elementary school just outside Boston at that time, his success showed anything was possible, and his commitment to equality was something my parents shared.

I didn’t feel like I experienced any prejudice as a kid. But I didn’t find out until I was an adult that there was a covenant on houses in our neighborhood when we moved there from Brookline, so my parents’ Irish lawyer had to buy our house and then immediately sell it to my parents. They shielded us from that — and they taught us that every single person — Jewish and Muslim, white and black, gay and straight — is a human being made in God’s image. And we must never “stand idly by,” to quote Leviticus, while our brothers and sisters suffer. That means confronting bigotry in all of its forms, no matter who it comes from.

5. Have you participated in a Passover seder or other Jewish holiday ritual? If so, what were the circumstances, and what was the experience like for you?

When I was a kid, my mother prepared seders every year but my grandfather ran it — entirely in the original Hebrew and Aramaic. He didn’t say a word of English from the start to the finish. For most of my adult life, I’ve gone to my sister’s house for seder, and I think because of our experience as kids, she works especially hard to make it open and accessible and understandable to everyone.

I’m also, of course, familiar with all of the other Jewish holiday rituals — from fasting on Yom Kippur to eating apples with honey on Rosh Hashanah.

Needless to say, I’m a bigger fan of the latter.

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33 COMMENTS

  1. “My mother kept a kosher house, but my parents taught me that Judaism is about much more than our rituals. It’s about our values.”
    Values? What values? Spitting on the Torah R”L?!
    Aha. Just another cardiac Jew. Yawn.
    (Cardiac Jew=a Jew at heart)

  2. Mike, how should we address anti balck hatter sentiment? You were caught on tape disparaging us. How should we address issues where you are not respectful of our religious beliefs?

    • Fake news.
      All his accusers are lying. They just want to become famous.
      These things happened so long ago.
      Whatever you say does not matter.
      He has a few flaws. Get over it.
      He has a heart of gold and his ideas are in the right place.
      We don’t listen to you anymore. We know you are against him. That is why we love him. He fights back.
      Whatever he said is just locker room talk.
      How dare you question a patriot like Mike? You traitor.
      He is more successful than any of you , including Trump, will ever be. Proof that he deserves to be president.

      These are a partial list of the excuses that have been emblazoned in gold by Trump cultists and they will be used against them until Trump is out of office.They are the ones who decided that they can use any flimsy , stupid excuse.

      Mike is a proud jew and has donated Millions to many worthy causes. He hasn’t stolen a dime from his charity. He did great things for the city of NY. He has actual experience in running an administration.
      He has a yiddishe mama . So sweet and adorable.

      • Here are 2 more unbelievable excuses that I left out. There are more that I will remind everyone of.
        He will change when he gets into office.
        He has learned his lesson.

        • We don’t want people who will change and learn their lesson. We wnat people like Trump who will behave like they behave now. We don’t trust anyone will change. That’s why i don’t wnat Blommy. I want honest people whom you knwo where they stand. You know exactly where Trump stands on any issue. He won’t change and start loving mexicans or rasie taxes on hard working upper middle class and wealthy folks. Neither will he sell out Israel. We don;t wnat chnager.

      • Bottom line what I care about is does he like frum torah jews? We know what he said only a few years ago and I have no reason to see why he changed his mind. Now do you think he’d let Rubashkin out of prison?

        Truth is I don’t care what he said about blacks. I care what he said about black hatters and don’t believe he changed his mind. Furthermore, he is running on the slogan that he is one higher moral ground. trump doesn’t claim to be on that high moral ground.

        Re his richs. Who cares? Hvaong money is not about ho much you have in the bank. Its about access to lots of $$$$. Trump has all what he needs to.

        I told you already a million times a Yiddisha mama with apkisrusha anti torah ideals are worse than a german mother. So cut the narishkiten and stupdity.

        Now yid and yingele since he hate liars can you please stick to one screen name like mature adults.

  3. I can’t believe a thing that Bloomberg says, especially in dealing with anti-semitism. He mocked the frum Jews as “Black Hatters”. He refused to become involved, when the NYPD in Boro Park roughed up 75 year old Mr. Schick, who owned Schick’s bakery, over a traffic dispute. Schick was violently thrown into a paddy wagon, after being handcuffed, and one cop was overheard saying “that is the way that we treat ni—-s”. Inspector Esposito yelled “Get these f—-n Jews out of here”. When young Chassidics saw how Schick was being treated, they reacted. Instead of Bloomberg getting off his short a–, and come to Boro Park, and try to defuse the tension, he had his Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly (also a phony), send in the TPF, as well as bullvont goons from other precincts. What did the “finest” do? They pushed, and shoved, roughed up, frum men and women, and in one case tore the beard out of a frum Jew. The latter individual was just walking in the street, minding his own business when the NYPD targeted him. Every Jewish politician in NYC condemned the cops for their heavy handed tactics. The cops would not have dared to have acted so violently, in Bedford Stuyvesant or in Bay Ridge. However, Mike was silent. Hence, his slogan that “Mike gets the job done” is a bunch of garbage. Three years later, he had the gall to go to Boro Park, in 2009, when he was running for a third term. To this day, I can’t understand why he was warmly received by the community leaders. He is a phony with a capital “P”.

  4. he is our only hope against that putz trump
    Israel will survive with or without trump the putz.
    who would be best for Israel? the other democratic candidates have already disparaged Israel. mike is the man to vote for.
    trump is toooooo dangerous to consider, no matter how well he treats now, the emphasis is on ‘now’

    • History has proven that even when times are bad Trump sticks to frum torah jews.

      He has always supported Jared even when he messed up like with Flynn against Banon’s wishes. He has always supported Israel etc..

      Trump’s own resume proves you wrong. There is nothing to worry about with your “now” nonsesne. Its pure paranioa. Klal yisroel needs to vote for the poretz who is best for us. That’s the #1 goal.

      Your paranioa is tooooooooooo dangerous.

    • He’s appealing to the vast leftist Jews who hate Trump and who are in truth insecure Jews. Never mind that – just promise you’ll let me guzzle my Coke in 64oz. cups and increase water volume in the toilet tank so I could flush like the old days- like a human being. Not everybody’s bathroom is gilded and state- – of – the – art, Mike.

    • Aha. So you have no problem with people calling Trump and his supporters Nazis, or the next Hitler, or a dictator, or wishing him dead, etc. (To say nothing of attacking his supporters with vans and bike locks.) But let someone criticize things that Bloomberg has said and done, even without calling him and his supporters names, and that “makes you want to vomit.” Pathetic. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

      • AH: your comment is a peculiar one. The subject matter is about Bloomberg and his critics. The comment you are responding to expressed revulsion at how Trump supporters are “pummeling” Bloomberg. You never addressed the actual comment, instead you went off on rambling march to the land of assumptions. Now it’s entirely possible, and even likely, that the individual making the comment is also repulsed by the methods and tactics anti-Trump individuals employ, so I have to wonder what made you call him “pathetic” and what makes you think he can’t take the heat.

        You see, following accepted rules of debate would call for you to actually first address the charge, and either agree with him or disagree with reasonable assertions. Of course you can follow up, without assuming, and ask if he’s ok with how the anti-Trump camp criticizes Trump and even use violence in some instances. Obviously, if he’s ok with it without being able to reasonably differentiate between the two we then know he’s a hypocrite. But not until then, because we simply don’t know his views.

    • Keep talking. President Trump will win re-election with even greater numbers than Ronald Reagan did in 1984. The Republicans will take back the House and increase their lead in the Senate. Your democrat party is so discombobulated with their jealousy and hatred of President Trump that they have no logical strategy to realistically defeat him. Just saying, “Trump is a racist criminal” is not going to sway a single voter. You guys have to stop acting like little babies in 3rd grade and give over to the millions of Americans a clear positive message.

  5. Bloomberg is not only a bigot against blacks but hates Orthodox Jews. His infamous statement to the media was that he is not afraid of ten thousand black hats protesting against him. Well now we blackhatters will show you how you will lose New York,New Jersey and Florida as we Orthodox Jews vote for Bernie Sanders in the democRATic primary. This will make Trump win by a landslide in the general election. With Sanders as the head of the democRATs we will succeed in destroying the Democratic Party as it turns communist.

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