Mayoral candidate Tom Allon took a trip to Israel last week and the journey led him to write several introspective blog posts, send a series of Tweets and give a lengthy interview with the Times of Israel in which he discussed his chances in the mayoral race, his past loves and insulted one of his rivals. Mr. Allon filed his first dispatch from the Holy Land Monday on the Huffington Post.
“When I was a high school student in the late 1970s at Stuyvesant High School in New York, there was a girl in my class, Karimah, who wore a kafia each day, had a lovely voice and was one of the objects of my adolescent fascination,” Mr. Allon began.
Karimah was the daughter of a Palestinian representative to the United Nations. Though Mr. Allon, the son of Jewish holocaust survivors, said he “couldn’t have come from a more different place ideologically and demographically” than Karimah, he recalled an occasion when he “stood up for her right to free expression” when she felt stifled while trying to discuss her experience with political repression in history class. Mr. Allon recently received a Facebook message from his former classmate. He shared it with his readers.
“Tom Allon and I were classmates, myself being the only Arab and Palestinian at Stuyvesant HS led to quite a few controversial situations. When the controversies started, this is what I remember, regardless of his thoughts on the issue he defended MY RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH AND EXPRESSION,” the message said. “Therefore I can’t think of a more capable and ethical man to run for the office of Mayor of the MELTING POT — NYC. Tom I hope you will invite me to the inauguration, and I hope one day you will run for President of the USA.”
After receiving this message, Mr. Allon informed Karimah of his trip to Israel.
“Karimah has heard, through the wonders of Facebook, that I will be doing what many New York City mayoral candidates have done for decades: visiting the Western Wall, the holiest spot in the world for the Jewish people,” Mr. Allon wrote.
Mr. Allon’s Facebook correspondent suggested he also visit the Palestinian territories.
“I plan to take her up on her offer. If not this visit to Israel, then very soon,” he wrote.
He may not have made it to Gaza, but he was moved to share the experience in his blog post. Contemplating his “long lost high school classmate” also prompted Mr. Allon to weigh in on the peace crisis on his HuffPo blog.
“For too long, both sides have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace,” he wrote.
Mr. Allon also met with a Palestinian activist during his epic Israeli journey. The encounter inspired him to write a Tweet on Monday mocking likely mayoral candidate Scott Stringer for having a fundraiser hosted by Scarlett Johansson five days prior.
“Let others get meaningless support of actresses; I’ve just been endorsed by Palestinian activist while I’m in Israel,” Mr. Allon wrote.
Despite his hope for peace, he clearly came to admire the fiesty character of the Israeli people. Mr. Allon said he believes he shares those qualities in another Tweet.
“New York needs a Mayor like me who thinks like an Israeli: tough and always ready to defend his people,” Mr. Allon wrote.
Mr. Allon posted his next Huffington Post report from the Holy Land on Wednesday. In it, he described having the Passover seder with his cousin, Peter, who lived in Tel Aviv. Mr. Allon described the different paths he and Peter took via the women they dated over the years.
“Peter fell in love with Israel as a teenager — and an Israeli, Sabrah (native born) — and moved to Israel after college to pursue his love and his destiny as an Israeli,” Mr. Allon wrote. “I, on the other hand, stayed in New York and attended college and graduate school, and pursued my career love, journalism, while dating a series of American-born women of various ethnic and religious backgrounds.”
The culmination of Mr. Allon’s journey to Israel was a lengthy interview with the Times of Israel that was published yesterday. Mr. Allon told the Times’ reporter he believes he can outperform his poor poll numbers once he begins getting his name out there.
“At the moment, I have about 2 percent in the polls,” Mr. Allon said. “But at this stage, it’s just a matter of name recognition.”