NYC Mayor Ed Koch dies on Daniel Pearl's yahrzeit- revives concern about democracy's needed vigilance against Islamism

NYC Mayor Ed Koch (Photo: NY Daily News)
ED KOCH, the voluble three-term mayor who helped bring New York back from the brink of fiscal ruin in the 1970s and came to embody the city with his wry, outspoken style, has died at the age of 88 of heart failure in NYC.

As mayor from 1978 to 1989, the forceful, quick-witted Koch, with his trademark phrase "How'm I Doin?," was a natural showman and tireless promoter of both himself and the city.

New York writer Pete Hamill said in a 2005 discussion of Koch's legacy, "Here was a mayor who was a combination of a Lindy's waiter, a Coney Island barker, a Catskill comedian, an irritated school principal and an eccentric uncle.  He talked tough and the reason was, he was tough."  

In The Algemeiner, Dovid Efune says: 
Mayor Ed Koch (Courtesy: Vanity Fair)
It was only three weeks ago when he (Mayor Koch) told me in an interview that he felt President Obama had betrayed Israel with his nomination of Chuck Hagel. “Frankly, I thought that there would come a time when he would renege on what he conveyed on his support of Israel,” Koch said, adding, “it comes a little earlier than I thought it would.”

We published Koch’s articles nearly every week, and it was clear to me, just by the sheer volume of those which focused on Israel, that the Jewish State, and his Jewishness for that matter, were topics that were very close to his heart.

“Why would you expect Israel to cooperate in its intended lynching?” he asked recently in a passionate letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron. He viciously defended Israel’s right to self defense and called out those who displayed hypocrisy in their dealings with Israel on a regular basis.

“I’m of the belief that the leaders of the Jewish community have to do more to make Jews aware, young Jews aware, of the importance of Israel,” he told me in another interview late last year.

It is therefore noteworthy and fitting to point out that besides the ‘Hear o Israel’ prayer, the only other quote that Koch has engraved on his tombstone is the final statement of Daniel Pearl, the Jewish journalist who was kidnapped and beheaded while in Pakistan investigating Al Qaeda back in 2002.

“My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish,” reads the defiant etching, attributed to “(Daniel Pearl 2002, just before he was beheaded by a Muslim terrorist.)”
Koch explained that “the sense of justice that Judaism teaches” was the reason he elected to have the words “He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith,” etched on the gravestone he prepared for himself. ...
How befitting that the day of his passing, Feb 1st 2013 comes 11 years to the day after the brutal murder of Daniel Pearl, that icon of Jewish pride. They will forever share a yahrzeit, and in many ways a legacy." 
That Mayor Koch died on Daniel Pearl's yahrzeit draws deserved attention to Pearl's legacy- and the Islamic supremacism which so threatens the West and Judaism. 

Photo courtesy Hiram 7
The late Christopher Hitchens was honored to present the 2010 Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at UCLA.  He consoled Daniel's surviving parents Judea and Ruth Pearl from the last scene of Shakespeare's Macbeth, "Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt.  He only lived until he was a man that which no sooner had his prowess confirmed.  In the unshrinking station where he stood.  But, like a man, he died.  Your cause of grief must not be measured by his worth, for then it hath no end."  

Mr. Hitchens then warned about anti-Semitism- particularly within Islam- as the precursor warning of fascism and tyranny. 
"Because anti-Semitism is the godfather of racism and the gateway to tyranny, fascism and war, it is to be regarded not as the enemy of the Jewish people alone, but as the common enemy of humanity and of civilization- and has to fought against very tenaciously for that reason, most especially in its current, most virulent form of Islamic Jihad.

Daniel Pearl's revolting murderer was educated at the London School of Economics. Our Christmas bomber over Detroit was from a neighboring London college - the chair of the Islamic Students' Society. Many pogroms against Jewish people have been reported from all over Europe, today as I'm talking. And we can only expect this to get worse. And we must make sure that our own defenses are not neglected.

Our task is to call this filthy thing, this plague, this pest, by its right name. To make unceasing resistance to it. Knowing all the time that it's probably ultimately ineradicable, and bearing in mind that its hatred towards us is a compliment, and resolving, some of the time (at any rate) to do a bit more to deserve it!"

Mayor Koch's public service  is remembered in this WABC TV News obituary:

In an interview conducted in 2007, Former Mayor Edward I. Koch reflected on his life and political career, and talked of how he would like to be remembered.

Asked by reporter Tim Weiner: "How do you want to be remembered?" Mayor Koch replied, "I want to be remembered as being a proud Jew who loved the people of the City of New York. And did his best to make their lives better."  

A documentary about his life opened just prior to his demise.  Glenn Whipp writes in the L.A. Times:

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died the same day a new documentary about his life and legacy opened in New York.

"Koch," which will open in Southern California theaters beginning March 1, offers evidence that the combative mayor had mellowed little in his later years. Filmmaker Neil Barsky conducted extensive interviews with Koch in his Manhattan apartment in 2010 and early 2011, where the former mayor, who ruled New York from 1978 to 1989, spoke of his controversial time in office, offering no restrictions on subject matter or time.
Here is the trailer:

The N.Y. Times reviews "Koch"

Asked by reporter Tim Weiner: "How do you want to be remembered?" Mayor Koch replied, "I want to be remembered as being a proud Jew who loved the people of the City of New York.  And did his best to make their lives better."

1 comment:

  1. "the denial in my family would end with me...."
    ~ Hitchens

    Excellent post.

    G-D bless the names of Mayor Koch and Christopher Hitchens, both ....

    G-D bless Daniel Pearl

    G-d help us all.