Wednesday, January 2, 2013


By Sig Demling

Gene Fowler, a superior writer about the New York City of long ago, authored a brilliant book called "Beau James."

It's a biography of James J. (Jimmy) Walker, the most popular mayor of The Big Apple's long history. He was the chief executive of a glittering New York which "wore him in its buttonhole."

Although the best-selling bio was penned more than a half-century ago, I bring it up now for three reasons: 

1. I just finished reading it for the second time.

2. Jimmy Walker was an early version of Israel's equally headline-getting Avigdor Lieberman.

3. Like Walker, Lieberman was unfairly victimized by political foes and was forced into resigning.

Many analysts -- especially biographer Fowler -- believe that Jimmy Walker got conned into leaving the mayor's office in 1932 by a confluence of bad luck, negative emotion and a love affair that distracted him from his duties.

Yet Walker's popularity was such that he remained virtually a super-hero to his electorate right up until his death following World War II.

Like Beau James -- which was Jimmy Walker's nickname -- Avigdor has been nailed by the witch-hunters. My gut-feeling is that Lieberman has been nothing more than a political victim of the worst order.

It's not for me to say whether the charges mounted against him amount to a hill of beans or a mound of watermelons. What my radar indicates that -- no matter what the charges -- none of them would turn me away from,'Lieberman.

Like New York's debonair Jimmy, Jerusalem's Avigdor is primarily a patriot. And not a small-time one either. 

Without fail, his political statements have been bullseye-on-target and infused with 100 percent candor. He fears neither the reactions of Barack Obama, Mahmoud Abbas, the Muslim Brotherhood nor the mullahs of Teheran.

Were he a New Yorker in Jimmy Walker's time, a Gothamit would comment about Lieberman's sayings that "He doesn't mess around and tells it like it is! "

That's why the Arabs don't like him.

It explains why the piously hypocritical Europeans cringe when Avi speaks because he cuts through their hogwash about Jews not being allowed to build homes wherever they want to build homes.

Lieberman's straight talk about never apologizing to the Turks over the flotilla episode was a reasonable -- not an appeasing -- stance.

Like Jimmy Walker in the 1920s being a revered, no-nonsense politician, Avigdor speaks directly from the heart.

He feels the pulse of the average Israeli whether the citizen of the Jewish state lives in Eilat, Arad, Nes Ziona or in The Golan Heights. 

Ever since he became Foreign Minister, he has seen through Arab perfidy and the EU's double-standard. 

Avi understands why there won't be a two-state solution because there cannot be one; not with "pals" such as Mahmoud Abbas who still hasn't gotten around to recognize Israel for what it is; the Jewish State.

I don't know about you but from where I sit, I hate seeing done to Israel's most forthright Foreign Minister what a bunch of hypocritical New York politicians once did to Jimmy Walker; force the best mayor New York ever had out of office on specious grounds.

Whatever jurists in Israel decide about Avigdor's fate, I'd want him back as Foreign Minister in a Jerusalem second.

And after reading "Beau James," I can only conclude that the worst mistake ever made by a pompous New York Judge named Seabury was unfairly pushing Jimmy Walker out of City Hall.

A similar fate should not have been suffered by Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's answer to James J. Walker!

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