October 10, 2007, - 9:28 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Today, they announced that the Empire State Building will light itself HAMAS-green in honor of the end of Ramadan.
Blame my bright, outgoing (and innocent) cousin, Mallory, whose grandmother and mine were sisters and immigrants from Poland, the only two siblings (out of several) in their family who survived the Holocaust.
Ten years ago, young Mallory Blair Greitzer of New York, made headlines around the world when she wrote a letter to then-Empire State Building owner Leona Helmsley, asking her to light up the lights of the famous New York landmark in honor of the Jewish holiday of Channukah. Not only did Helmsley oblige, but she released Mallory’s letter to the press and invited her to switch the lights on at a special ceremony. Mallory was featured in the New York Times, on CNN, and in every other media outlet you can think of. This was TIME Magazine’s account (it picked Mallory as one of its “winners” in the “Winners & Losers” column):
EXTREMIST MAKEOVER: HAMAS Empire State Building . . .
Old Empire State Building . . .
CANDLE OF MANY COLORS
Yes, Mallory, there is a Leona Helmsley. Thanks to the persistent pleas of nine-year-old New Yorker Mallory Blair Greitzer, the Empire State Building’s overseer has agreed to bathe the skyscraper in blue and white on Dec. 23 to mark the first night of Hanukkah. The usual red and green that adorn the spire during the Christmas season will return the next evening.
Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times:
The lights that bathe the Empire State Building will be turned blue and white on Hanukkah this year for the first time ever, thanks to a precocious 9-year-old girl from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and her unlikely ally, Leona Helmsley.
Two years ago, while her father was driving her home from her grandparents’ house in Brooklyn, Mallory Blair Greitzer gazed up at the blue lights shining on the top of the Empire State Building and wondered if the colors — the building is usually simply lit in white — were in honor of Hanukkah. They weren’t; it was the birthday of Frank Sinatra — “Old Blue Eyes.”
A week or so later, the child again saw the building glowing blue and white. Hanukkah? No, the lights were a mournful reflection on the assassination of Yitzak Rabin.
Disappointed, Mallory talked to her teachers at a Reform Jewish day school that she attends on the Upper West Side. She felt that a letter writing campaign or a petition could persuade the building’s management to turn the lights blue and white for Hanukkah. . . .
The lights on the famous landmark are often changed to mark major holidays (Christmas gets green and red), minor holidays (Pulaski Day gets red and white), special days (Gay Pride Weekend gets lavender), odd events (when Mrs. Helmsley went to jail a few years back they were shut off) and even to sell commercial products (M&M/Mars, a few years ago, had the lights on the 102-story building turned royal blue at sunset to announce blue M&M’s).
So Mallory then wrote to the building herself — and was given a form-letter rejection. Her father, an optometrist [DS: my cousin, Dr. Manny Greitzer], got the same treatment when he wrote a letter.
“They said, ‘No way, Jose,’ — every religion gets one holiday, and we had Jewish Independence Day,” she said, referring to Israel Independence Day. “But when I think of Jewish holidays, I think of Hanukkah.”
Blue and white signify the colors of the Israeli flag and a tallus, a prayer shawl worn in biblical times [DS: actually, still worn now]. . . .
Mrs. Helmsley overruled her staff and ordered that the building’s lights be turned to blue and white from the evening of Dec. 23 to the evening of Dec. 24.
“She was touched when I showed her the correspondence from this young girl,” said Mrs. Helmsley’s publicist, Howard J. Rubenstein. “Her feeling was that it is appropriate and good for New York interreligious understanding.” . . .
Mallory’s reaction: “It was so cool. My Dad jumped up and down when he got the letter. I was so amazed this happened.”
A ceremony is being planned at the building to turn on the lights, and Mallory is expected to turn the switch to change the lights.
Now, a decade later, with Mallory in college, Helmsley dead, and millions of her money going to a pet dog, something more ridiculous than the dogs’ millions is happening. The Empire State Building–which overlooks the city with the world’s largest Jewish population–will be lit green (the official color of HAMAS) in honor of Eid Al-Fitr, the festival that ends Islam’s Ramadan.
That’s why I’m not so sure–even though we were all proud of Cousin Mallory then–that her idea about making a non-major Jewish holiday get equal booking with Christmas, the most important of Christmas holidays in what is has always been and remains for now, thankfully, a Christian country. Because of that, now the religion of hijackers wants its equal footing atop one of America’s tallest buildings, too. But, in fact, that religion already lit up two of America’s tallest towers, already. And that’s the only chance it should have gotten.
Putting the Cult in Multi-Culturalism
My cousin Mallory was TIME’s “winner” then, but with this tribute to Islam now to occupy the top of the Empire State Building, I have to wonder whether her bid at “egalitarianism” was a win at all. In fact, now, we’re all losers. This is not, of course, a dig at my then-9-year-old-cousin, a great girl, proud American, and all-around cool person. How could she have seen her aim at a symbol of Jewish pride turn into a successful recognition of the Religion of Terrorists, a decade later? Not many foresaw that Judeo-Christian values would soon be replaced by Neo-“Abrahamic” (Ishmaelic) Fascism.
Only my father, of Blessed Memory, had qualms about Mallory’s request and success, at the time. He never liked the petty equality liberal Jews demanded for the more minor Channukah, every year during the Christmas season, and thought this portended bad things in the future. He knew what “interreligious understanding” ultimately meant: that we would soon have to tolerate the epitome of intolerance in the name of “interreligious understanding”.
Now, even after his death, Father Still Knows Best. He was right. To wit, that the Empire State Building should only be lit up in colors for two holidays, The Fourth of July and Christmas.
Frankly, if they really want to make an honest tribute to Islam, why stop at green lighting? Why not just wrap the building in one of those transparent advertising wrappers, this one featuring a green HAMAS headband around the top of the building?
Or if they really want to be accurate and make a fitting tribute to Islam, they’d light up the building this way . . .
It would go over very well in the Muslim world, as it did the last time . . .
Hmmm . . . since she originated the colored lighting on the Empire State Building for Channukah, I wonder what my cousin Mallory will think of the new HAMAS green lighting that copycats her pitch to the Queen of Mean (whom I think was somewhat unfairly vilified). I’ll have to give her a call and find out.
But something tells me that when she originated the idea of lighting the building in honor of Channukah, she wasn’t thinking of moral equivalence for the Religion of Terrorists in her letter to Mrs. Helmsley.
“Interreligious understanding” now means we must “understand” those who want to obliterate us through tall buildings. When you demand multi-culturalism, the “cult” is the part of the word that ends up dominating.
In 2001, it was through forced, violent, fiery colors. In 2007, it is through voluntarily whimpering and butt-kissing to Ramadan colors.
Either way, it’s a defeat. The first time, the tall buildings’ owners didn’t expect it. This time, the owners not only see it coming, they cower to it.
Planes into the building, yesterday. Jihadist-Green atop the building, today. Same difference.
If only Jim Jones were around today . . . Kool-Aid Purple Lighting atop the Empire State. “Interreligious Understanding.”
Just asking us to look at the HAMAS-Green is like forcing us to drink the Purple.
Tags: 4th of July, America, America's tallest towers, Chanukah, Christmas, CNN, David Lunde, Eid al-Fitr, Empire State Building, Frank Sinatra, Gay Pride Weekend, Green Empire State Building, Hamas, HAMAS Empire State Building, Howard J. Rubenstein, Independence Day, Israel Independence Day, Israel's Independence Day, Jim Jones, Leona Helmsley, Mallory Blair Greitzer, Manny Greitzer, mark major, media outlet, New York, New Yorker Mallory, official color, Old Blue Eyes, Old Empire State Building, optometrist, owner, Poland, Queen, Ramadan, Ramadan By Debbie Schlussel, The New York Times, TIME Magazine, transparent advertising wrappers, Yitzak Rabin