Mayor Bloomberg Not Committing to President Obama

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at LaGuardia Community College (Photo by Maurice Pinzon)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at LaGuardia Community College (Photo by Maurice Pinzon)

By Maurice Pinzon
Earlier this month, in his speech at the State Department, President Barack Obama articulated his analysis of the new reality in the Middle East for Israelis and Palestinians in their unending national confrontation.

President Obama said: “The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people — not just one or two leaders — must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.”

President Obama then added, “The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.”

“As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself – by itself – against any threat,” President Obama added.

In New York, former Mayor Edward I. Koch does not buy it and he has accused President Obama of pivoting U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East in favor of Arab nations over Israel. Mr. Koch said, according to a video report posted online, that President Obama “thinks it’s more important that America have the support of the Arab nations as opposed to the support of what we heretofore have said was our ally in the Mideast – the only democratic state there.”

Mr. Koch said he would vote for any viable Republican candidate who opposed President Obama in his re-election bid because of the President’s position on Israel.

At a May 25 press conference after a graduation ceremony at LaGuardia Community College, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg concurrently did not endorse President Obama’s re-election bid. In answering a question as to whether President Obama’s position on Israel was a litmus test for him, as it appears to be for Mr. Koch, Mayor Bloomberg did not defend President Obama. Instead he gave a long pause.

Mayor Bloomberg said, “It’s a long time from now until any election. I certainly look at everything that everybody does. Nobody should make a mistake about it. America’s support for Israel is something that I think is in the interest of all Americans, not just Jewish Americans, but all Americans. And it’s a very important issue for me.”

In a detailed defense of Israel, where he said Israel is the “only real democracy” and “only real friend” of the U.S., Mayor Bloomberg did not mention Palestinians, Arabs or make reference to the new Middle East reality President Obama outlined.

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