The Jewish Community’s Palin Gap
Many Jews remain angry over the disinviting of Gov. Sarah Palin by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations from a rally they are sponsoring in front of the UN — a rally protesting the policies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his appearance as a speaker in front of the General Assembly. For many, this disinvitation has become the final verification that Jewish organizations choose liberalism and what is best for the Democrat Party rather than what is in the best interest of America, the Jewish People, and Israel.
For many weeks, Hillary Clinton was the featured speaker of the event. Sarah Palin had not yet been invited. Jewish leaders sponsoring the rally orchestrated a whole campaign surrounding and boasting about Hillary’s planned appearance. That she is a political figure, one that is in the never-ending process of running for elective office, and a flagship for the Democrat Party, liberalism and political feminism, never seemed to arouse their purported concern for even-handedness or cause a peep out of their lawyers. When Hillary Clinton has been the only invited speaker at certain synagogues in the Hamptons, no liberal evoked alarm over tax exemptions for their organizations.
When word got out that Sarah Palin had been invited, Hillary immediately bolted. No doubt, her thought of being in direct comparison on a stage with the charismatic Sarah Palin was too great a test for her. Hillary understood that the meaty and heartfelt words of Sarah Palin would have overshadowed her tedious platitudes. Having been just humiliated by six months of Obama, she wasn’t ready once again to be humiliated by The Other Woman.
Once Hillary pulled out, there was tremendous pressure from liberal organizations within the Conference, and the staffers of those organizations, to revoke Palin’s invitation. They foresaw and feared an historic sea change taking place at the rally, before their eyes, when the world would see a crowd of Jewish people enthusiastically chanting “Sarah, Sarah!” This direct connection that Sarah Palin, a woman from and of the people, would have had with a Jewish audience was something the liberals had to stifle. It certainly could have made a difference in the election and perhaps have provided the impetus for the long awaited shift among many Jews from Democrat to Republican.
Word is that some of the Jewish women’s organizations went apoplectic when hearing of Palin’s appearance because Sarah Palin has upended and unnerved a certain class of American women in a manner never before seen. It has far more to do with “stealing the historic moment rightfully belonging to Hillary.” Their hysteria over Palin has to do with the values, qualities and heartland authenticity possessed by Palin that are simply too challenging to those women.
What the liberal organizations did was threaten to remove their groups from sponsorship of the rally. True to form, the establishment Jewish community buckled to the demands of the Left, blithely ignoring how this would upset the substantial Jewish supporters of Palin. But, then again, the Jewish establishment rarely ponders how its decisions will disenfranchise those who are politically conservative.
In truth, the departure of the few organizations would not have made much of a dent in the attendance at the rally. Those who come out for rallies in behalf of Israel are generally those who are more conservative, more traditional, i.e. those who admire Palin. Indeed, many of the attendees, Palin’s admirers, would have been students bused in from the yeshivas, day schools and very traditional synagogues.
The constituency of the liberal organizations who threatened to bolt the rally no longer come out, as did their fathers and mothers, for issues intrinsically Jewish; instead, they prefer rallies in behalf of abortion rights and gay rights, and, when it comes to Islam, attend rallies designed not to challenge the threat coming from it but advocate on behalf of more rights for those in Guantanamo Bay.
The Conference’s decision has not sat well with many of what Bill O’Reilly calls “the folks,” many of whom will be passing up the Monday rally and instead attending an interfaith rally against Ahmadinejad on Thursday the 25th in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. A recent poll taken in New York and published by the New York Post cites a major trend toward McCain and away from Obama among Jews.
But those that staff the establishment Jewish organizations, from top to bottom, are themselves much more liberal than their constituents. Many enter Jewish organizational life or the non-Orthodox clergy after attending Brandeis or Brown to put into motion their socialist utopian vision for the world. Some have redefined Judaism away from a centuries-old understanding into a leftwing utopianism, equating Judaism with liberalism. Many of the staffers of these organizations eventually find themselves staffing some of the very most liberal senators and congressmen on the Hill.
Those within these Jewish organizations as well as those who reside in certain neighborhoods live a very insular life, despite their claims of being cosmopolitan. Nothing more reveals this insularity than deciding to publicly “dis” an elected official who may soon be the Vice President of the United States and is already the nominee of one of the major parties representing about half of America’s population. Only such insularity can account for the total indifference of how such a rebuke appears to those across America who are used to basic respect and fair play.
What bothers many in the Jewish community is the obvious conclusion among the Conference that the needs of liberalism take precedence over the needs of a secure Israel and goodwill between the Jewish community and our Christian neighbors. There is no doubt that Sarah Palin would have swelled the ranks of this rally to huge proportions, and nothing usually motivates and preoccupies the organizers of a rally more than the need to bring in large numbers.
The organizations’ willingness to discard this rally’s greatest drawing card and attraction has made many wonder if we in the Jewish community can rely on them to do that which is in the interest of America, the Jewish community, and Israel. Unfortunately, it appears that they will always choose in the interest of liberalism and its home, the Democrat party.