|Ed Koch (Public Domain, 1988)|
Tabletmag.com explains that Koch's prewritten tombstone epitaph includes these words from journalist Daniel Pearl (spoken shortly before Pearl's execution by terrorists in Pakistan): My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish. Koch and Pearl ironically both died on February 1st – Pearl in 2002 and Koch in 2013.
Wikipedia reports that Koch was the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland. He was an avid film patron who had once quipped that religion wasn't the opiate of the masses, but movies were. Another of his famous quotes is this: If you agree with me on nine out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.
No stranger to controversy, Koch went with his gut rather than with what was perceived as politically correct. He alienated a lot of Democrats by ardently backing George W. Bush because of Bush's support of Israel. He shocked a lot of Jews by declaring the following in 2012: The best ally we can have is the Catholic Church. Oh, you can go back in history when they were not great allies. But they proved to be. It started with Pope John XXIII and Pope [John] Paul II. We have to reach out to them.
JTA described Koch as a "passionate Jew till his dying day" and describes an incident that occurred during a tour of Jerusalem. A Palestinian activist threw a rock that struck Koch in the head. Although the injury was not a severe one, some bleeding ensued. Koch "mopped up the wound with his handkerchief" and afterwards would say: I shed a little blood for the people of Israel.
Copyright February 5, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved