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The fifty-first state

By Michael J. Smith on Saturday March 11, 2006 12:58 PM

... and the most important. -- Okay, okay. That's an exaggeration. California is the most important. But Israel is a close second.

From Ha'Aretz:

Under fire for his membership in a professional organization highly critical of Israel, Lord Richard Rogers, the British architect supervising the redesign of [New York City's] Jacob Javits Center, has cut ties to the group in an effort to salvage his role in the $1.7 billion project.

But that hasn't satisfied several elected officials, including New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Rep. Anthony Weiner, who have each demanded Rogers be dropped from the project. And Friday, the chairman of the state commission overseeing the Javits Center redevelopment summoned Rogers to New York to discuss the controversy....

Weiner, a Brooklyn Democrat, released a letter Friday to the Empire State Development Corp. calling for Rogers' contract to be rescinded. The ESDC is overseeing the Javits project and has based its planning on Rogers' design, which would almost double the size of the center.

Weiner.... said Rogers' stewardship of the Javits project would dishonor the memory of Javits himself.

"This is not just any project. This is a building that's named after one of the foremost fighters for the state of Israel," Weiner said in an interview.

Wiener used to be a halfway OK city councilman -- he did me a favor once, so I feel I have to say that -- but since his ascent to the House of Representatives, he's become a very standard-issue Israel Democrat (and therefore, of course, a War Democrat). Last fall he distinguished himself by calling for the firing of Columbia Univeristy Professor Joseph Massad, the target of a "political inquisition" for his pro-Palestinian views.

Democratic New York state assembly speaker Sheldon Silver is less well known, except among masochists who study the entrails of our Ruritanian state legislature, but along with the Governor and the Republican president pro tem of the state Senate, Joe Bruno, he is one of the triumvirate who essentially run the state. He represents a district in lower Manhattan and can be counted on to sell out the city every chance he gets; a few years back he was instrumental in doing away with NYC's commuter tax. (I remember this occasion well because it gave me one of the few openings I've had on the New York Times Op-Ed page.)

Silver, too, is of course a sedulous water-boy for Israel. One of his pet causes is the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard; another is Hillary Clinton.

Amusingly, Republican Bruno, Silver's opposite number in the state legislature, recently called for withdrawal from Iraq, infuriating the White House and apparently prompting an angry phone call from Karl Rove to Republican Governor Pataki. The unfortunate shut-ins who monitor New York state politics agree that Bruno has never done anything out of conviction in his life; he is concerned for his Republican majority and perhaps even for his own seat.

Silver, a stalwart and not insignificant leader of the party Kosniks refer to as "us," has so far failed to follow Bruno's lead.

It's also quite funny, for those of us with long memories, to see two Democrats kowtowing to the memory of Jacob Javits. Javits was a "liberal" Republican who enabled the election of the aromatic Alfonse D'Amato to the US Senate. D'Amato beat Javits in the Republican primary, and then Javits ran a spoiler campaign on the Liberal Party line (if memory serves), pulling away enough loyalist-liberal votes from the Democratic nominee, Elizabth Holtzman, to allow D'Amato to squeak in.

But Javits was indeed, as Wiener with uncharacteristic accuracy says, "one of the foremost fighters for the state of Israel," and hey, that's all that counts, I guess.

Comments (1)


forget mini me amerka over there in the levant

the empire state itself has apretty fair
dirty dem history

no more checkered a tapestry exists

and this
putting aside
my beloved
city machines

a study in contrasts eh???

aaron burr and
franklin roosevelt
full stop
then of course
there's cleveland
perhaps the icon
of a wall street dem

my point the dirty right hand of the empire states donkery
pre dates by a century and a half .....its
present israel besotted splendors

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