Early Thursday morning, embattled mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, met with representatives of the orthodox Jewish media in the home of Gedaliah Weinberger.
Although Mr. Weinberger was careful to point out that the meeting was not an endorsement, he did go on in detail about a number of times when Mr. Weiner went to bat for the Jewish community. Reading from an amicus brief prepared by the Becket Fund, Mr. Weinberger demonstrated that there are numerous areas where religious Jews are experiencing discrimination – even in New York City.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, sitting in the audience, pointed out that of all the representatives and senators in government, it was Anthony Weiner who was first to go to bat for Jonathan Pollard.
Mr. Weiner then spoke and raised a number of new ideas that he has to improve the lot of New Yorkers. He then opened up the floor to questions from the orthodox Jewish media.
The first questions posed by the media had to do with Mr. Weiner’s sense of judgement. While expressing appreciation for what Mr. Weiner had done both for Israel as well as addressing the needs of the Jewish community, how could the Jewish community be assured that the distorted judgement employed by Mr. Weiner in the past two years, and even on Wednesday when at an AARP sponsored event he referred to his opponent pejoratively as “Grandpa?”
Mr. Weiner went on a defense showing on the fingers of his hand that he showed good judgement on Israel, on Pollard, on Rubashkin, and on the hosts of issues brought up. Candidate Weiner said, “Now do you want a candidate that has demonstrably shown good judgement in all of these areas but not in some aspects of his personal life? Or do you want a candidate that did not have the strength and resilience to come out on the right side of things in all these other issues? It is your choice.”
Larry Gordon, publisher of the Five Towns Jewish Times, asked Mr. Weiner, “What would you do when you are mayor and your New York City school chancellor is caught doing the same things that you had done?”
Mr. Weiner answered that he would investigate whether it would in any way effect the chilcren or how he performed at his job and decide based solely on that criterion.
In the entire meeting, Mr. Weiner was well-prepared on the issues, was poised and answered questions directed at him with finesse and assurance.
He further described the bombarbment he has endured since his candidacy began as somewhat akin to basic training where instead of rubber bullets and a safe training ground, it was as if, largely on account of his own doing, he was dropped in the middle of a war zone in Afghanistan. He also pointed out that this is absolutely the best training ground to see how one would perform under pressure as the mayor of New York City.