Wild, wonderful New York - By Eric S. Margolis

New York - This city’s splendid Fifth Avenue and parts of the adjacent Central Park were thronged last weekend by masses of pro-Israel demonstrators demanding even more US support of Israel’s laying to waste of Gaza.

New York is the world’s leading Jewish City, exceeding even Israel’s Tel Aviv. More important, this city’s billionaires, many of them Jewish, are Israel’s most ardent and influential supporters. Their donations reach almost all politicians, high officials and, just revealed, important black and Hispanic members of Congress.

Those American students protesting Israel’s decades of repression of Palestinians now risk having their post-university careers ruined or seriously damaged by pro-Israel pressure groups. Never before have we seen such a dramatic and intimidating display of pro-Israel power. That, of course, was the point of last weekend’s huge demonstrations in New York and across the country.

The doddering President Joe Biden was certainly impressed. He has been kow-towing to Israel’s ruling right wing as pro-Israel supporters pour millions into his campaign coffers. But Donald Trump also has his billionaire Israel supporters, notably the Adelson family with its casino billions which has allowed him to dominate the Republican Party.

As my sainted father used to say, Congress is “nothing but a bunch of used car salesmen from Biloxi”.  I used this quote years ago in a column and got a stern letter of rebuke from the mayor of Biloxi calling me a snotty New Yorker. I guess he was right. We New Yorkers are snobs and almost a separate nationality in America, with closer links to Europe or Latin America than the US Midwest.

Thanks to the electrifying music of southern bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Alman Brothers, I have realized that our much-neglected south is really the beating heart of the United States. Southern boys are the truest Americans. I learned this is the US Army.

But New York City is in deeper trouble than many realize. The Covid epidemic inflicted huge damage on America’s leading city. I was horrified - horrified to learn that all three of the city’s bialy-producing bakeries have closed. Bialys are as much a part of New York City as its tasty egg cream sodas and its police force which seems to outnumber Canada’s total armed forces.

At the heart of this city’s problems is the real estate crisis. Large numbers of office buildings now lie vacant as workers operate from home. All the ancillary businesses - like retail stores, restaurants, mom and pop retailers - are closing because of the decline in real estate. The city’s finances, as always, are a mess, and ever-rising taxes are killing the city’s once vibrant economy. New York is no longer the Eldorado for immigrants (my parents included) that it once was. The Bronx’s Tremont Avenue was called “the Jewish Champs Elysée”.

A lot of prominent New Yorkers are moving to lower tax Florida, once considered the dark side of the moon by snobby New Yorkers. A good third of today’s Floridians are emigre New Yorkers. Republican control of Florida state government has assured that taxes stay low. Democratic-run states must spend vast sums on welfare payments and other social benefits to large numbers of black and Hispanic voters, which means high taxes and rising crime.

New York City is headed that way. I breakfast at my beloved Viand Coffee Shop on E 61st street listening to a cacophony of Greek, Dominican Republic, Honduran and even some occasional English. That’s the ultra-expensive East Side where prices go up weekly.  In Queens and Brooklyn one finds the finest ethic restaurants and all the Haitians, Albanians, Iraqis, Bolivians and Russians you could ever want to meet.

New York was the Promised Land for generation of Jews from East Europe. Now, it appears Gaza may be the next one with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner’s, plans to convert it into another Fort Lauderdale. Provided the New York City developers can find a way to get rid of all those pesky Arabs,

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2024