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Thompson’s Jewish Backers Not Rushing To Rally Behind Bill de Blasio


The long and often circus-like Democratic primary for mayor ended Monday with Bill Thompson throwing his support behind the winner in Tuesday’s primary – Bill de Blasio.

But it’s unclear if prominent Mr. Thompson’s Jewish backers would switch with him or support the Republican nominee Joseph Lhota.

“It’s wonderful that the Democrats are united,” Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations in Williamsburg and a leader in the Zali faction of Satmar, told The Jewish Week shortly after the announcement. “But the leadership will have to sit down and discuss what is best.”

Rabbi Niederman said he and others were seeking meetings with both de Blasio and Lhota. “We want to make sure that the elderly, children and poor receive services, businesses in the city can flourish and that services will be delivered in a way that that conforms to each community’s religious and cultural norms.”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, another Thompson backer, said he was leaning toward backing de Blasio but acknowledged he may be a tough sell among conservative voters like those in Borough Park and Flatbush who oppose increasing taxes on wealthy families or limiting stop-and-frisk. “We will have to have some very serious conversations,” Hikind said.

Regardless of his decision, Mr. Hikind already announced he’ll not back Joe Lhota for mayor “and not because he is a Republican.”

Another Williamsburg community leader, however, rushed on Saturday night to declare his support of Mr. de Blasio based on his year-long support for the Jewish community in Brooklyn.

“Bill de Blasio was always ready to do, whatever he could, to help the community,” Rabbi Abe Friedman told Zev Brenner on his Saturday night radio program. “He was a strong advocate on Jewish-related issues. He has a great team in general, always willing to learn and always ready to fight for us when he thinks it’s right. He’s a proven advocate and fighter for Jewish issues.”

Leon Goldenberg, a well known community leader who backed de Blasio ever since, told the Jewish Week he believed the Democratic nominee will do well with Orthodox communities, who tend to vote and contribute as a bloc.
“We are not one large community, we are made up of many different communities with different needs, but yeshivas are what bind us all together,” he said. “[Bill de Blasio] understands the needs of the yeshivas.”

He also noted that Mr. de Blasio represented a Brooklyn district with a large Orthodox population on the outskirts of Borough Park in the Council from 2001-2009. “When [the former councilman] Steve DiBrienza was term limited out, there were eight people running for the office and [de Blasio] was the only one who reached out to the Orthodox community,” Goldenberg said. “He spent time with us, understanding us.”

Based on his overall support in the primary, pundits have echoed the same sentiment in portraying Mr. de Blasio as head of a winning coalition. “De Blasio is an Italian-American man with Jewish political values whose family incorporates racial and sexual minorities. He is a multicultural coalition all by himself,” Bill Schneider wrote in the Huffington Post.

(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)

3 Responses

  1. Hikind admits that lhota’s viewpoints are more in line with those of his constituents and deblasio is a “tough sell” to residents of BP. Yet he unequivocally says he won’t support lhota “and not because he’s a republican.” Really dov? This has nothing to do with politics? Cuz it sure reeks of political hackery at its worst to me.

  2. Knowing the violence we had during the Dinkens administration and the realtive calm since then how can any Jewish leader even consider Di Blasio? He will undermine the police, is against Stop and Frisk and all his tenedencies and stated policies are uberliberal. If he taxes the rich the way he clainms he will where will our mosdos get their charitable contributions from? He will encourage the type of class warfare from which the Jewish community never benefits. Our elected representatives even if they are democrats represent us not party and they should be reminded of that by their constituents.

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