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What the Squad could learn from NYC Mayor Eric Adams as he visits Israel

Mayor Eric Adams speaks with the press on the visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Police Headquarters in New York, July 20, 2023. (Photo: Lev Radin/Sipa USA)

New York Mayor Eric Adams is scheduled to arrive in Israel this Monday, courtesy of a trip being sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Full Disclaimer: I am not a fan of the mayor nor do I feel he is adequately equipped to take on all the challenges of the extremely profound problems of his city.

Having said that, though, I give him a lot of credit for making the controversial trip to the Jewish homeland.  While it shouldn’t be labeled as controversial, we know that, for radicalized Democrats, that is the best word to describe the fallout which will, undoubtedly, accompany the decision to visit what the progressives believe to be a forbidden venue for those among their ranks. After all, it is the more radical members of the party who have defined Israel as a racist and oppressive country.

It was, therefore, very predictable that a “progressive group has condemned the trip. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice tweeted Thursday afternoon: ‘We can think of only two reasons @NYCMayor might find it appropriate to visit Israel right now: either he is unaware the current government represents the most extremist and racist coalition in the nation’s history…or he finds it acceptable to signal for support for such leadership.’”

But, from all accounts, the purpose of Mayor Adams’ maiden trip is not to spend time with Israeli government coalition members but rather to gather more information on how to best fight anti-Semitism in his own city, as well as learn more about Israel’s technological advances. At the moment, it is not yet certain if he will meet with the prime minister.

It was just recently, when Adams welcomed Israeli President Isaac Herzog during his visit to New York as a “steadfast friend to the city,” that the mayor said, “I want to be clear that New York City and Israel share an unbreakable bond.”

In fact, not only has Adams called the borough of Brooklyn 'America’s Tel Aviv' but he has actually made the statement that he would like to retire in Israel one day. This is obviously a great departure from the very bitter sentiments expressed by his own party’s squad members as it relates to our country. It was only a month ago that Rep. Pramila Jayapal, one of those members, “accused Israel of being a racist state.”

Yet, Jayapal is not alone in her unjustified opinions. She is joined by eight others, from her party, including representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Summer Lee, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Andre Carson and Delia Ramirez, all of whom recently voted against a pro-Israel resolution. Using the “apartheid” libel, Tlaib contended that she was unwilling to support the legislation because of the way she felt it “normalized the violence of apartheid.”

But does anyone have any illusions that any of these squad members have real factual information about Israel, given the fact they have not visited nor been exposed to anything less than highly biased and prejudicial propaganda? Propaganda that eminates from those whose pro-Palestinian positions color their objectivity in a way that prevents them from ever arriving at an honest appraisal of Israel and her policies?

Sadly, most of us are aware that there is a thriving industry of Jewish hatred, which is neither based on hard evidence nor reasonable logic. It is something that has been handed down generationally for millennia and continues to survive and flourish.

This is why I applaud Mayor Adams for what is definitely a show of bravery as he goes against the flow of many, within his party, who probably don’t necessarily share the radical viewpoints of the squad but who, nonetheless, would not like to incur their wrath by making the trek here as he is doing.

Apparently, Mayor Adams sees something worthwhile and redeemable about the Jewish people and their homeland, as he enthusiastically stated to Mishpacha Magazine, “I love the people of Israel, the food, the culture, the dance and everything about Israel.”

But in order to even get to a place of admiration for a people and a country, one has to be open and objectively willing to listen, inquire and learn – three things that squad members are not interested in doing, because, who knows, their uneducated claims might be proven wrong, and then what?  

It is said that “Adams courted New York City’s Orthodox community more than perhaps any of the other candidates for mayor.” In fact, he apparently spent time familiarizing himself with the history of the Jewish people, which is evident by the statement he made when running for his position back in 2021. It was then that he said, “As Jewish Americans, you should always be concerned, coming from probably one of the most horrific experiences known to man.”

Statements, such as that, testify to having a proper context of the great suffering which the Jewish people have endured over centuries. It is an acknowledgment that they are a vulnerable group, no less than all the others who accuse Israel of being an oppressor.  

We wish Mayor Eric Adams a pleasant stay in the holy land as he takes the opportunity to familiarize himself with the country, the people and the policies which have successfully enabled us to ensure our survival in a way that is morally and ethically supported. It is our hope that he takes those strategies back to the city which is home to the largest diaspora Jewish population and employs them to save lives there.

Lastly, as he uses this time to further bond with the country where he, one day, hopes to retire, may he share his personal experience, knowledge and conviction with those members of his party who continue to spread dangerous and unfounded lies about Israel which constitute libel and defamation of the people who also have an equal right to emerge from bondage to freedom. Returning to our homeland, which was bequeathed to us by our God, does not make us oppressors any more than the existence of the Jewish people makes others victims!

A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.

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