Former Mayor Ed Koch Gets Misquoted


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The [eminently quotable](http://www.cityandstateny.com/its-your-ed-koch-ringtone/) former Mayor Ed Koch found his words at the center of a controversy today. As [Buzzfeed ](http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/catholic-league-president-jews-had-better-not-ma)reported, conservative Catholic League president Bill Donohue sent some intense emails recently to Shalom Center Director Rabbi Arthur Waskow, threatening the Rabbi over an article he wrote in the Huffington Post in which he criticized the Vatican and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Donohue backed up his arguments with what he said was an old Koch saying, writing,"Ed Koch, my friend, once said that Jews had better not make enemies of their Catholic friends since they have so few of them. Think about that the next time you feel compelled to attack my religion." This appears to be a very loose interpretation of remarks Koch made earlier this year that were [reported ](http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/koch_catholic_tastes_V4orXdbYSAqd9lMFaSRpjJ)by the New York Post's David Seifman. Speaking to public policy organization Beit Morasha of Jerusalem, Koch reportedly said, "We're 13 million Jews in the whole world ? less than one-tenth of 1 percent.And we need allies. The best ally we can have is the Catholic Church. Oh, you can go back in history when they were not great allies. But they proved to be. It started with Pope John XXIII and Pope [John] Paul II. We have to reach out to them."
Today, Koch responded to Donohue's emails by saying he'd been inappropriately paraphrased:
"My comments have always been about fostering good feelings between Jews and Catholics toward mutual understanding of our shared interests. However, I certainly do not believe that Jews, or Catholics, should be threatened for making critical remarks, nor should my name be used when doing so. While I do have a high regard for Bill, his references to me and my remarks were inappropriate and different in substance and tone than what I said on an earlier occasion. My remarks did not and do not refer to the Rabbi's comments."

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