New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg crowed quite contentedly in an interview with The Atlantic about pushing back against those who opposed his measure to regulate metzitzah b’peh.
“I think it’s fair to say that nobody else would take that on. I mean, come on! Forget about the fact that—”They do what!?”—Who wants to have 10,000 guys in black hats outside your office screaming?” the Mayor was quoted as saying.
Now elected and city officials are strongly denouncing the Mayor’s remarks and demanding an apology.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind says his community deserves more than to be on the receiving end of “demeaning and derogatory” rhetoric. “When Mayor Bloomberg decided to run for a third term, he came to our community seeking favor with the Haredi community. He asked Orthodox, Torah-observant Jews to support his candidacy,” noted Hikind. “But we weren’t Black Hats when he needed us.”
New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield, also of Brooklyn, said the Mayor’s “hurtful” comments are offensive to not only the City’s “half-million Jewish New Yorkers,” but should also be upsetting to all of the City’s 8.5 million residents.
“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. It’s ironic that the Mayor appears to have respect for every other religion except his own,” Greenfield remarked.
Deputy Comptroller of Budget and Accounting Simcha Felder, a candidate in the State Senate race for the newly-created 17th Senate District, echoed Greenfield’s sentiments.
“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,” Felder said.