New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s claim of a mandate to double down on his progressive agenda by virtue of his reelection last Tuesday is nothing short of delusional.
To be sure, the mayor received a drop more than 66 percent of the votes cast – but only about 24 percent of eligible voters cast ballots. That translates into his having received the endorsement of a mere 16 percent of eligible voters. He received fewer votes than he received in his first campaign for mayor, in 2013. This hardly bespeaks a rousing cheer from a grateful citizenry.
Having said that, he was elected fair and square and is entitled to pursue the policies of his choosing.
But we do have a problem with his patent efforts to lead the leftist Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party, which has begun to espouse a robust anti-Zionism. This is especially urgent given the recent reports of a rise in anti-Semitic crime. According to FBI statistics, in 2016 more than half the 1,273 incidents involving religion were directed against Jews.
And opponents of Zionism can stop trying to convince the rest of us that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are totally unrelated. That notion has been persuasively debunked in several studies.
While Mayor de Blasio has dutifully backed the “progressive” agenda, we have yet to hear him decry the left’s growing anti-Zionism. He has yet to forcefully condemn the leftist campus attacks on advocates of Zionism and the open anti-Semitism that often accompanies such attacks.
While we would hardly label the mayor as being an anti-Semite or an anti-Zionist, he did strongly support Congressman Keith Ellison for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee despite the latter’s connection to the notorious Louis Farrakhan, his opposition to U.S. funding for Iron Dome, his support of the BDS movement, and his backing of the Obama administration’s efforts to force Israel to unilaterally ease the Gaza blockade.
What greatly concerns us is that Mr. de Blasio plainly sees the progressive movement as his ticket to national prominence. Thus, he has become a vocal member of the left’s anti-Trump “Resistance,” to the point of following the president to Germany to publicly condemn him at a leftist rally. And his campaign platform reflected the range of domestic leftist issues.
Rather than use his public position to address the worst of the left’s tendencies when it come to Jews on campus, Jews under siege, and the problems of the Jewish state, he is seeking to uncritically lead that movement, warts and all.
And this from the political leader of a city with the greatest concentration of Jews outside Israel and a place where his predecessors ordinarily saw their high office as a bully pulpit to defend the interests of Jewish New Yorkers.