Jewish Journal


July 16, 2013

Yes, Bob Filner Is Jewish



San Diego Mayor Bob Filner meets with Alon Schuster. mayor of Sha'ar HaNegev in Israel.

We know what you're thinking: Please, please, please tell me he's not Jewish.

But, alas, no such luck.

The right honorable mayor of San Diego, who is being raked over media coals as one former female staffer after another steps former to detail exactly what the former Democratic congressman did to pressure, cajole, badger and intimidate them into sexual intimacy.

"Three ex-supporters repeated their demand for Mayor Bob Filner to resign Monday and said he forcibly kissed two constituents and grabbed the buttocks and breast of a staff member," wrote Tony Perry in today's Los Angeles Times. "Filner's behavior toward women is so egregious that women who work for him call him a 'dirty old man' and coined the phrases "the Filner headlock" and "the Filner dance" to describe how he isolates women and then makes unwanted advances, attorney Marco Gonzalez said."

Filner earlier admitted he needed help, but today announced he would not resign.  He acknoweldged behaving inappropriately but rejected the charge of sexual harrassment.

Meanwhile LA Times columnist  Robin Abcarian has stepped forward as Coal-Raker-in-Chief.  In her column today, entitled,  "Kisses, headlocks and groping: San Diego mayor's lurid scandal," she quoted a play-by-play of the mayor's more subtle advances:

“I want to kiss you, you are so beautiful,” the mayor allegedly said to a campaign volunteer before grabbing her on a sidewalk and “jamming his tongue down her throat.” She pushed him away, but she had agreed to give him a ride and didn’t want to be rude. While she was deciding what to do, Frye said, the mayor “quickly had his hand on the inside of her bra and was again trying to put his tongue down her throat.”

With allegations like that, you can bet the Filner story broke high and hard.  Anytime you can get "jamming his tongue down her throat" and "former Congressman" into one graf, you have DC gold.

For the curious and the nervous, an answer to your question: Yes, Mayor Filner is Jewish.  He was born and raised in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the son of the son of Sarah F. and Joseph H. Filner.  Filner attended Cornell, eventually receiving his PhD in history.  

As a Freedom Rider in Jackson, Mississippi in June 1961, Filner was arrested for   "disturbing the peace and inciting a riot."  He refused to post bail and stayed in jail for two months.

Why, you may ask, does it matter whether Filner is Jewish or not?  There's a sense among Jews of extended family-- tribe, if you will-- and when one stumbles we all feel the trip.  Plus it's not great for the overall image. 

In the past, the most egregious scandals featuring Jewish names have been financial-- Bernie Madoff being the most visible, the most hurtful, the most repugnant.  But lately Jewish names are more and more attached not to financial scandals but to sexual ones:  Elliot Spitzer and his high class hookers, Anthony Weiner and his photojournalism.  At least this confuses the tiny men who lurk in the dark, anti-semitic eddies of the Web, snapping at every Jewish surname attached to every money scandal like a fish at worms.  It turns out we don't just care about money, see?

As for Filner, it's unclear how deep his resevoir of support in the San Diego Jewish community is.   A few weeks ago he was scheduled to take part in a Jewish Federation run to raise money for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, though he had to cancel.  Back on March 4 he met in San Diego with Alon Schuster. mayor of Sha'ar HaNegev, the Israeli sister city to San Diego.  Filner is not scheduled to join other city elected officials on a mission to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County.  The one-week trip is  to depart July 21.   Maybe he should reconsider...

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