Bill de Blasio won today praise by Brooklyn council-member David Greenfield for his generous statement on the event of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s petirah, not backing down despite of the condemnation by the secular media.
“That was very respectful of Bill de Blasio and very appreciative,” Mr. Greenfield said during his weekly Thursday night radio show on AM620. “The media slammed Bill d Blasio for supporting a racist rabbi. Can you imagine the Chutzpah?”
Mr. Greenfield further praised Mr. de Blasio for standing up for the Jewish community, stressing that Rabbi Yosef was in fact an advocate for the most unprivileged and discriminated people – The Sephardic community in Israel.
“Shame on the media and good for Bill de Blasio,” he said.
But Mr. Greenfield took a step further in lashing out at Mr. de Blasio’s opponent, the Republican candidate for Mayor, Joe Lhota, over his so-called ‘measured’ comments about Rabbi Yosef, when asked to comment by a reporter on the trail, suggesting he was criticizing the Rabbi’s deeds.
“He said, ‘I mourn his death, but I also know he made some statements that at time were unfortunate. What?! Who the heck are you — Who the heck are you, Joe Lhota to opine about one of the greatest Gedolim (sages) of our time? Completely outrageous” Mr. Greenfield yelled in dismay. “So why is he doing this? Because he wants to pander to the secular media,” he exclaimed.
“Joe Lhota, I’m very disappointed in you this week,” Mr. Greenfield continued as addressing the candidate in person. “And Bill de Blasio, I’m very proud of you for standing up for Talmidei Chachamim.”
To be fair, Joe Lhota’s statement did not include any disrespect for Rabbi Yosef, or contain any disdain of the community mourning the great loss. “I mourn his death,” Mr. Lhota said at an event in Chinatown. “But I also know he’s made statements that, at the time, were unfortunate. He was the chief rabbi of Israel and we all mourn his death.”
Listen to the audio here:
Moments later, Michael Fragin, who serves as a consultant and Jewish adviser to Joe Lhota, called in to the show to question Mr. Greenfield’s contempt of Mr. Lhota.
Mr. Lhota was responding to a question asked by a reporter about the criticism of Mr. de Blasio’s comment, Fragin explained. “He gave a straight answer with regard to that. But that doesn’t distract at all that he felt anguished that many people in New York were in mourning,” he said.
“Joe is a longtime friend of the Jewish community and the Orthodox community. The difference is, that Joe is out there speaking to reporters every day but is opponent is not. It’s much easier to tweet than engage,” he added.
Nonetheless, Mr. Fragin questioned the outrage over the comments. “Why it is an issue in the New York City’s mayoral race, I don’t know,” he asked. “However, If you feel that there’s an offensive made, it was the comments made by Gawker and the NY Post, and Joe shares my view on this,” he asserted.
“There’s no question that Joe has the utmost respect to the community’s leaders,” he concluded.
(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)