Forward Thinking

Why Jews Should Support Closing NYC Schools on Muslim Holidays

By Sigal Samuel

A Muslim girl blows bubbles at an Eid celebration / Getty Images

All across New York City, Muslims are cheering Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to close public schools on the two holiest days of their religious calendar. And Jews should be cheering right along with them.

Why should we be happy to see the city observe Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, days that commemorate the end of Ramadan and the biblical Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, respectively? No, it’s not because that means we Jews will also get a hall pass. It’s because we fought and won this battle long ago — and our win should be used to help, not harm, others in a similar situation.

New York City public schools decided to observe two of our holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, way back in 1960. That means that we’ve been enjoying the benefits of this recognition for a full 55 years.

If you’re wondering why recognition for Muslims has lagged so far behind, your first thought might be: Islamophobia. And you’d be right. Discrimination against Muslims is a powerful force in post-9/11 America — especially now that terrorism wrought by Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Europe dominates the headlines. That discrimination has a powerful impact on our policies, and it’s been fueling the protests against de Blasio’s plan to recognize Muslim holidays for months.

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Bill De Blasio Takes Well-Worn Pro-Israel Path

By Daniel Treiman

Bill De Blasio and his family celebrate inauguration as New York mayor. Like predecessors at Gracie Mansion, liberal and conservative alike, Hizzoner is hewing a pro-Israel line.

(JTA) — New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, drew some attention last week with his remarks at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee event. “Part of my job description is to be a defender of Israel,” de Blasio said.

De Blasio isn’t the first New York City mayor to see the job this way.

New York City mayors have been outspoken defenders of Israel since its establishment — and of the Zionist cause even before that.

They have visited Israel, called for American aid, opposed arms sales to Israel’s enemies, snubbed visiting foreign leaders who were hostile to Israel, and criticized U.S. presidents on Israel-related issues.

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Michael Bloomberg, Leave Dante de Blasio Alone

By Dave Goldiner

Dante de Blasio

After 12 years and three terms as mayor, Michael Bloomberg somehow still can’t figure out how the average New Yorker thinks.

The out-of-touch billionaire who bought a trifecta free pass to Gracie Mansion is leaving office this year. But he couldn’t resist the urge to make an idiot of himself on the way out the door.

Bloomberg blasted Bill de Blasio, the Democratic frontrunner to succeed him, for seeking to “divide” the city. That’s because de Blasio has ridden to the top of the polls with a message that government must do more for middle- and working-class New Yorkers.

It was bad enough that Bloomberg obviously has no idea how the majority of New Yorkers feel about rising rents and failing schools in the gilded city that he has molded in his patrician image.

Like Anthony Weiner in an internet chat room, Bloomberg had to go even further.

Speaking in a swan-song interview with New York magazine, Bloomberg made the outrageous and offensive claim that de Blasio was running a “racist” campaign. Mayor Mike blames de Blasio for making political ads featuring his African-American wife (who was once a lesbian) and their teenage son, Dante, whose eloquence and trademark Afro has made him the defining symbol of the campaign.

“He’s making an appeal using his family to gain support,” Bloomberg said. “I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone watching what he’s been doing.”

Bloomberg went on to prevaricate that he doesn’t think de Blasio himself is “racist.”

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