It’s on! Michael Bloomberg, New York’s Mayor, is going to Ireland. He will fly into West International Airport on August 22 in a private plane. About 200 people plus TV crews are coming with him.
An 8:00 a.m. breakfast at Sligo Town Hall opens his public day. Then he will give an 11:00 a.m. speech at the dedication ceremony for an “Ireland National Monument to the Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment, New York National Guard,” in Ballymote Town Park, Sligo. There will be a reception after the monument unveiling.
That “legendary Irish Brigade,” was founded in 1851 by immigrants. “Our city takes enormous pride in the Fighting 69th, and there is no more fitting tribute to those who have marched under its green flag than a monument on Irish soil.” Except that today’s 69th, part of the occupying army in Iraq, is no more Irish than any other US regiment.
What else will he discuss? In his 1997 memoir he mused that he’d make a great “mayor, governor or president.” Recently New York newspapers have carried stories about him running for President in 2008. To say the least, most journalists were surprised. None had ever considered him as qualified for the post.
But NY’s weekly Irish Voice reports that “The trip to Ireland, to remote Co. Sligo, no less, is an interesting step by the mayor who, it is hinted, might want to spend up to $500 million of his fortune on a presidential run as a third party candidate.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs recently spent $37,000 lobbying US politicians on behalf of the McCain-Kennedy immigration law reform bill, benefiting an estimated 60,000 Irish illegals. Bloomberg just testified in favor of reform.
He will be happy if the press asks about it. In any case be certain that he will let Irish-American voters know about his passion for rights for illegal Irish immigrants. Yes, the minute he saw recent massive New York illegal immigrant rights demos, he woke from the dead and leaped onto the popular bandwagon.
Will he also announce an investment in Ireland? Or hail it as a great place for others to invest? Or encourage Irish capital to invest in his city, home of so many Irish? No one should be “shocked, shocked” if any of these happened.
With $5.1 billion, he is the 40th richest American. Bloomberg LP data terminals are world wide and the 7/18 New York Times reported that “20% of American foreign investment is now committed to Ireland.”
What won’t he discuss? The words “legalize marijuana,’ widely used in New York and Ireland, will not exactly leap from his mouth. But that’s not to say that he doesn’t have an opinion. According to the 4/16/01 issue of New York magazine, “Ask him if he ever smoked a joint in the past, and he replies, ‘You bet I did, and I enjoyed it.’”
That helped him win that year’s mayoral election. In modern America, if a politician says he never smoked pot, media folks, who all did or do puff away, hold him in contempt. Admitting to having smoked it establishes your credentials as ‘a regular guy,’ who of course gave it up and is now serious. Sure enough, when he took office he announced that “We should enforce the laws as they are, and the Police Department will do so vigorously.”
Hypocrisy? Certainly. But that’s a synonym for US politics, now his game. In 2001 the magazine also asked how much he was going to spend on getting elected. He refused “to say how much he’ll spend, but the numbers that have been floating around go as high as $30 million. That’s TOO high, he says, ‘At some point, you start to look obscene.’” Then he spent $74 million that year and $84 million in 2005.
Obscenities come forth nonstop from him. In 1995, before he thought of running for public office, he was interviewed by Jerusalem Report, an Israeli magazine. It informed its readers that he had “no particular desire to visit Israel.” He “had a bar mitzvah in a Conservative synagogue; is currently a member of one temple in Westchester and one in Manhattan.” But, he proudly announced, “’I’m not terribly religious …. I don’t spend time davening [praying – LB]. If I don’t call God, he won’t call me.’ But he does have firm views on Israel, and on Jewish philanthropy: ‘I won’t give too much money to the U[nited] J[ewish] A[ppeal],’ he says, ‘because of the hold the religious have on Israel. I have one wish: Shoot all the clerics.’”
At 13, religious Jewish boys celebrate their bar mitzvah. They become adult members of synagogues. The Conservative Judaic sect upholds most doctrines of Orthodoxy, Israel’s state religion, except where they conflict with modern life. Conservatives go along with biblical bans on pork, shrimp, lobster. But Orthodoxy says no riding on the Sabbath day of rest, while Conservative suburbanites drive cars to their synagogues, often many miles from their homes.
Bloomberg moved on from his family’s Conservativism. “Temple” is what the Reform sect, America’s largest Judaic group, calls a synagogue. They are a zillion miles from Orthodoxy. They and the Conservatives have women rabbis. But they pride themselves on their gay rabbis, while Conservatives fight over ordaining them. However, beyond temple membership, there isn’t evidence that he believes in any theology.
He is the ultimate joiner. The Jewish mayor proudly says that, as a teenager, he was “an Eagle Scout, and sold more Christmas wreaths than anyone.” When he grew up and became rich he joined endless charities, a few Jewish, most secular, because that’s what rich Americans are supposed to do. His political ambitions started when he’d call on other rich for donations. Give to his charity and he’d give to your favorite politician’s campaign. He was then a Democrat yet he’d fund Republican snakes, Democratic rats, whoever you wanted. He has no serious principles in religion or politics.
Whatever his theology or lack thereof, he knew that Conservatives and Reform are not recognized by Israel. They are allowed synagogues there, but the state doesn’t recognize marriages or divorces solemnized by their rabbis. So 1995 Bloomberg, nonpolitical businessman, denounced Israel for denying equality before the law to his sect.
In 2001, he openly said he became a Republican only because it was easier that year to win that party’s nomination. He then did what every major New York capitalist political player does. The city is 8 per cent Jewish, so during his campaign he went, for the 1st time, to the Israel he despised.
After his election, he went back again with Rudy Giuliani, to show that his 1st visit wasn’t just about votes. The confidence game turned into one of the low points of his life.
The ultimate electronic capitalist got sucked into a classic Israeli photo-op. On 12/9/01 he had to follow Orthodox custom. He put a paper prayer to God into a crack in the Wailing Wall. Its what remains of Herod’s Temple of Jerusalem. ‘I feel your pain’ is today’s America’s most hackneyed cliche. But even his enemies will cry over his anguish, unspoken but all over his gloomy face.
That was then. Capitalist politicians learn to do what capitalist politicians must do. Soon he was off to Albania to visit Mother Teresa’s birthplace. That excited Albanian Catholics, major players in NY real estate. There are 150 nationalities in NY. US capitalist politics as she is played has degenerated into an endless shuffle from nationality parades to religious shrines and back.
Marching in St. Patrick’s Day parades is a must. Five percent of the city is Irish. But there are two rival parades. The Catholic church controls the 5th Avenue event. Gay group banners are banned. They march elsewhere. Bloomberg eventually had to come out for gay marriage as gays are now a major element in the town. So he marches in the Irish gay parade and also hikes up the avenue with the ever dwindling followers of the hierarchy.
Keep at it, you get good at anything. He showed up again in Jerusalem, 8/31/03, wearing a red, white and blue skullcap, and kissed the Wailing Wall. No one is obliged to kiss it. Average American Reform visitors certainly don’t. And I’ve never seen a Jew in America wearing a red, white and blue skullcap. After all, who wants to be mistaken for a shameless politician hustling votes?
He traveled to Israel yet again in 2005. But the 3/17/05 New York Times reported that the Mayor “acknowledged feeling uncomfortable wearing his religion on his sleeve. In fact, he said, while he is proud of his heritage … he simply is not that religious. He said he rarely went to temple except on major holidays …. ‘I’ve always believed that God will, No. 1, look at you based on what you did, not whether you follow a set of ceremonies laid down by somebody else …. Religion, I’m not comfortable in talking about …. It may be good politics, but it’s not me.’”
Still, “Bloomberg’s aides seemed buoyant about his visit here. It gave him … a chance to show reform Jews like himself as well as the city’s Orthodox Jews his emphatic support for Israel. He made many statements that will certainly please that constituency.”
Bloomberg differs from most American politicians, Democrat or Republican, in only one aspect. These creatures would swim across vast oceans of snot, stark naked, to get campaign contributions from rich pro-Zionist Jews. He doesn’t have to. But Orthodox Zionists are an increasingly important part of the New York Republican Party’s vote. If he doesn’t give them what they want, they will take their votes and money to the Democrats, who would support Israel even if it murdered their moms. So now he proclaims that
“I have always believed that the fate of Israel and the future of New York a re deeply connected …. A strong Israel means a strong America and a strong New York …. I have said time and again that you cannot negotiate when there is a gun to your head.”
Soldiers die for their country. Politicians lie for it. Certainly the guy who wished that he could “shoot all the clerics,” AKA Israel’s rabbis, didn’t “always” believe that “the fate of Israel and the future of New York are deeply connected.”
His support for Israel’s drive into Lebanon caused Sligo County Council member Declan Bree to propose canceling his visit.
Security will be super tight for the faker’s visit. The US is providing special vehicles which will be escorted by the Gardai, the police. Roads will be closed off and there will be random searches. But antiwar activists should go to his events. Peacefully confront him with his own words. Challenge Irish politicians who meet him to comment on them. Send them to every radio and TV commentator, to every newspaper in Ireland. If the Irish government said that Israel’s military onslaught was “harsh and disproportionate,” we can be sure that many media folks are even more outraged at Zionism’s latest crime.
Politically literate Irish know British politicians ‘play the orange card,’ demagogically pandering to Ulster Protestant fanatics. They won’t have the slightest difficulty in seeing Bloomberg as likewise playing the Zionist card to hustle the most fanatic of his country’s Jews.
In 1787, America’s founding constitutional convention debated giving the vote to the poor. James Madison, the historians’ “father of the constitution,” gave the decisive argument in favor. Poor whites had the vote in some states.
They would have been outraged if it was denied to them in federal elections. But Madison realized that giving it to them had enormous potentials: “In future times a great majority of the people will not only be without landed, but any other sort of property. These will either combine under the influence of their common situation; in which case, the right of property and the public liberty will not be secure in their hands; or which is more probable, they will become the tools of opulence and ambition, in which case there will be equal danger on another side.”
Bloomberg made his fortune. But no matter how great your wealth, you only know what you know. When the billionaire self-funder entered onto the political stage he didn’t have enough historical knowledge to understand that he automatically cast himself as the villain in a play scripted by none less than Madison. His ignorance re American history also produced a total lack of principle re the relationship of religion and politics. This led him to demagogically jump onto Zionism’s bandwagon, even as it marches into ever increasing isolation, among Jews and gentiles alike. But now the Irish antiwar movement can teach him a lesson, the 1st of many that he, America and Ireland will never forget.
LENNI BRENNER co-founded the National Association for Irish Justice, the American affiliate of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. He is the editor of 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, and Jefferson & Madison On Separation of Church and State: Writings on Religion and Secularism. He can be reached at BrennerL21@aol.com.