Who knew the New York governor has a keen sense of humor? Of course, he’s in the midst of running for reelection, or maybe he was auditioning for a TV spot, when he addressed the Jewish Community Relations Council annual dinner last month at the Pierre.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo let rip a stream of one-liners at the expense of his brother Chris Cuomo who anchors a CNN news program.
The governor insists that Chris is not a legitimate brother. “We found him on the doorstep in a basket. He was 16 years old at the time.”
The governor appreciates that Chris invites him on his national TV show, but then “says nasty things” after the interview. “I don’t get any rebuttal,” Andrew said.
The governor has a theory for this sibling rivalry: “I’m the more accomplished, smarter, more handsome brother. I’m my father’s favorite, my mother’s favorite. He can’t deal with that, so he acts out. Problem is he acts out on television.”
After entertaining the dinner audience with his riff, the governor turned serious as he introduced Stuart Force of Charleston, S.C., whose 29-year-old son Taylor, who was not Jewish, was stabbed to death in 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa.
Taylor was a student in the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. An Army vet who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Taylor was on a school trip in Israel to study the country’s startup industry for his MBA.
Gov. Cuomo lauded Stuart Force for turning this “negative into a positive” by working to pass the Taylor Force Act in Congress in March with the aid of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The legislation will end American taxpayer
money from going to the Palestinian Authority if they don’t stop rewarding terrorists and their families with monthly cash stipends.
“This puts the whole world on notice,” Gov. Cuomo said, “that if you support terrorists you will pay a price.”
“As a born and bred New Yorker,” Cuomo continued, “the Jewish people and the culture are embedded in me. My best friends are Jewish, two of my brothers-in-law are Jewish, and my father’s stories about being a Shabbos goy and his favorite philosophy of tikkun olam” resonate.
Cuomo recalled a time in his 20s when his father, NY Governor Mario Cuomo, sent him to Israel where he met with President Shimon Peres on how Israel deals with constant terror attacks.
“They come for us now because we are close,” Peres told him. “Because they can get to us. But one day they will figure out how to cross the ocean and then they will come for you. Because the enemy is not Israel. The enemy is freedom and democracy. The way they demonize Israel, they demonize America. And when they figure out the ocean, you will see.”
This was said 20 years before 9/11, Cuomo noted.
Cuomo said he realized that Israel’s enemies are America’s enemies. “The fight for Israel is the fight for America.”
During a Hamas bombing binge in 2014, Cuomo led a bipartisan delegation to Israel accompanied by JCRC CEO Michael Miller. At Yad Vashem Cuomo signed the book and wrote hineini, “we are here.”
“We are here for the state of Israel and always will be,” Cuomo concluded as he announced plans to shortly lead another delegation to Israel as “they’re in danger and New York should be there.”