RIP Ed Koch—”Passionate Jew,” Confused American

The death of Ed Koch, mayor of New York City 1978-1989, has been greeted with ululations by the New York-oriented Main Stream Media. But, typically, no-one except View From The Right`s Lawrence Auster seems to have noted the paradox of Koch`s contradictory views on multiculturalism and immigration.

Auster writes:

In the early ’90s, I was the guest of a guest at an elegant private dinner at Koch’s apartment on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Koch said he didn’t like multiculturalism, and I argued—without success—that if we wanted to stop multiculturalism, we needed to restrict Third-World immigration.

I had a similar experience. Koch`s hostility to multiculturalism and associated race-based mau-mauing was so well-known that he was widely identified as the Mayor in Tom Wolfe`s 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. So I was surprised that his New York Post review of my 1995 book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration Disaster (free pdf) was one of the more stupid and hysterical (which is saying a lot) and that he appeared in the opposition in the subsequent Firing Line debate.

It rapidly materialized that Koch was motivated by classic unthinking Ellis Island emotionalism and that he had no idea, for example, that his much-vaunted parents from Poland could not, in fact, have immigrated under current law anyway. (Which meant, of course, that he had not actually read Alien Nation–but what reviewer does?)

I almost never try to convert debate opponents. But Koch`s floundering irritated me so much that I wrote him a letter pointing out that he was on the wrong side. To my great surprise, he wrote back a long, warm note praising me (as I remember) for my public-spirited efforts. I`ll post it if we can find it tomorrow.

Koch continued be be contradictory till the end of his long life. A search of VDARE.com`s archives reveals our most recent mention of him was Patrick Cleburne`s 2010 applause for a Koch column eviscerating the Obama Administration`s mugging of Arizona`s anti-illegal laws.

But Koch could have played a vital role in ending America`s post-1965 legal immigration disaster and he did not.

Why not? The New York Times obituary (February 1, 2013) says bluntly:

He was never a man of deep intellect or great vision, students of government and even his associates conceded.

Koch`s Firing Line performance certainly bears that out.

But, not for the first time, I think you have to turn away from the American MSM and look at Israeli coverage to find out what is going on. Ed Koch, pugnacious New Yorker and passionate Jew till his dying day (JTA, Haaretz, February 1, 2012) documents that the key to Koch was his Jewish identity. It concludes:

Koch’s tombstone is engraved with his name, his years as mayor, the Shema prayer, and the final words of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter murdered in Pakistan on Feb. 1, 2002, the same date Koch died: “My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish.”

Every step of Koch`s convoluted career is best explained by his passionate attachment to Jewish, and Israeli, interests and predilictions. America simply did not register in the same way.