Councilman David G. Greenfield and Deputy Comptroller Simcha Felder are demanding an apology from Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his insulting reference to Orthodox Jews during a recent interview withAtlantic Magazine. Bloomberg, during a discussion about his declining approval ratings, noted that he recently moved to regulate the practice of bris milah despite strong opposition from the city’s Orthodox Jewish community. Bloomberg used this example as proof that he supposedly does not care about his approval ratings. In the article in the November issue of Atlantic Magazine, Bloomberg said, “Who wants to have 10,000 guys in black hats outside your office screaming?” In light of this outrageous comment, Greenfield and Felder are requesting an apology on behalf of New York City’s Orthodox Jewish community.
“The Mayor’s comments were hurtful to the city’s half-million Jewish New Yorkers and should be offensive to all of the city’s 8.5 million people. For the mayor to identify an entire religious group by the clothes they proudly wear is the basest of insults. It is even more offensive coming from a secular Jewish mayor. I don’t judge the Mayor or his religious practice; surely he has no right to judge me or other members of the Orthodox Jewish community,” exclaimed Greenfield.
“First the Mayor moves to restrict our right to freely practice our religion. Then he uses offensive and derisive language aimed towards our community. I am asking Mayor Bloomberg to apologize for these insensitive words, which simply do not have any place in our society, especially from our political leaders. I am also requesting that he end his attack on metzitzah b’peh and on religious freedom,” said Felder, who is Deputy Comptroller of Budget and Accounting and a candidate for State Senate in the 17th Senate District.
“One has to now wonder if the Mayor’s sudden opposition to metzizah b’peh was done simply for the sake of political expediency so he could claim to be standing up to a minority religious community. It’s ironic that the Mayor appears to have respect for every other religion except his own,” Greenfield concluded.
Brooklyn State Senator David Storobin also issued a statement on the matter, saying, “The people of my district and the entire Jewish community are deeply offended and appalled by the comment Mayor Bloomberg made the other day to ‘The Atlantic’. . . .The Mayor’s utter ignorance doesn’t stop by raising taxes and hurting small businesses in our community, but now by insulting and demeaning an entire community for standing up for their rights of religious freedom. This is the same ‘Black Hat’ Jewish community that supported Mike Bloomberg for three terms.”