AUGUST 1, 2005
(Part One on ADL director Abe Foxman and the Bloomberg-Independence Party alliance)
Hollander dealt with the incident in his "Sedra of the Week" column in The Jewish Press (July 8). He wrote that he had been "reluctant to ask for the floor, hoping that one of the regulars would say something." But when it became clear that no one else was going to raise the Fulani issue, "I thought of our sages' teaching, that where there are no men, you should strive to be a man." (Not surprisingly, Hollander entitled his column "Of Mice and Men.")
Hollander later told me that he was not exactly thrilled when, after the meeting, some rabbis had expressed support for his position "privately yes, but publicly no."
"We are giving encouragement to anti-Semitism," he said. "Decent goyim who are against anti-Semitism can't understand this."
But there's another twist to the story. Rabbi Herbert W. Bomzer, president of the rabbinical board, told me that the reason he and other leaders didn't make an issue of the mayor's alliance with Fulani was that mayoral aides had produced a letter from Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, hailing the mayor's "principled position" on Fulani's anti-Semitism (this apparently was a reference to an April 15 statement in which the mayor said he found Fulani's remarks on NY1 to be "phenomenally offensive"). Bomzer said the board had been "satisfied" by the ADL director's letter and had decided that the mayor's Fulani connection didn't "pose a problem."
It would appear, however, that the mayor's campaign staff snookered the rabbis. For the Foxman letter (which you can read at http://www.lyndonlarouchewatch.org/pdf/foxman.pdf) is dated April 20--over a month before the mayor accepted the endorsement of the Fulani-led Independence Party and almost two months before the city's Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) declared the All Stars Project, a youth charity run by Fulani and her Marxist guru Fred Newman, eligible for a $216,000 grant to run an after-school program for children and teens. (Rabbi Bomzer told me he had been unaware of either of these developments, the latter of which was announced by the DYCD only one week before the mayor appeared at the Vaad Harabbanim meeting.)
In addition, Foxman's claim that the mayor had taken a "principled position" on Fulani's anti-Semitism was a misstatement of the facts even on April 20. The mayor had been giving money and patronage to Fulani and Newman for over four years in exchange for their political support. Far from being unaware of Fulani's bigotry, he had rebuked her in 2001 after she issued an open letter blaming the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S. government's "aggression and arrogance" (as well as on its support for Israel). But the mayor did not break with Fulani's party even though she defiantly continued to display her letter on the website of the party's think tank. Indeed the mayor went on to approve an $8.7 million municipal bond for All Stars in 2002 and to give the Independence Party $250,000 from his own pocket in 2004. (For more on the mayor's lavishing of money and political support on the IP and All Stars, see part two of this series.)
As to the mayor's April 15 statement criticizing Fulani's NY1 News remarks, the degree of courage and principle involved was minuscule at best. The mayor at first waffled on the issue and only criticized Fulani when his failure to do so appeared to be triggering a media firestorm. This motivation was clearly understood by the daily newspapers, and a New York Post editorial on April 16 pilloried the mayor:
First, he said he didn't "know what she is referring to." Then he tried to suggest Fulani doesn't represent the Independence Party--which is utter nonsense.
Yesterday, having had 24 hours to think about it, the mayor decided Fulani's remarks were "phenomenally offensive."
But offensive enough for Bloomberg to repudiate her support--as he'd threatened after 9/11 (but never followed through on)?
In light of events since April, one would think Abe Foxman would have withdrawn his unctuous praise of the mayor's "principled position." Yet the ADL remained silent when the mayor accepted the endorsement of Fulani's party on May 28. And the ADL likewise ignored the city's announcement of All Stars' eligibility for an after-school grant, even though the Jewish watchdog group had reported in years past on how the Newman-Fulani cult was spreading anti-Semitism through its youth work and through a theater program that has since merged with All Stars (go to http://www.adl.org/special_reports/nap.asp).
Rabbi Bomzer told me that although he was planning to print Foxman's letter in the Vaad Harabbanim newsletter, he would reconsider his organization's stance of non-criticism regarding the Mayor's alliance with Fulani if presented with appropriate documentation. That documentation was promptly sent. And that same week, The Jewish Press published a blistering attack by Councilman Lew Fidler on the Bloomberg-Fulani alliance, calling the mayor's financial support for Fulani and the Independence Party "repulsive" (http://www.thejewishpress.com/news_article.asp?article=5191).
Will the Flatbush Vaad Harabbanim now do the right thing and publicly demand that the mayor break with the Independence Party and the All Stars Project once and for all?