By Benyamin Korn
The Obama administration’s tilt against Israel, its tacit acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran, and its weak approach to combatting Islamic terrorism all pose a direct challenge to Jewish Americans.
Governor Sarah Palin has described the “Obama doctrine” in United States foreign policy as “coddling our enemies while alienating allies.” Ms. Palin has emerged as the leading public voice in opposition to President Obama’s dangerous new direction.
For these reasons, my colleagues and I are launching a national organization of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, supported by the new web site, JewsforSarah.com – A Home Page for Jewish Independents.
JASP is comprised of academic, religious, and community leaders who are dedicated to promoting consideration of Gov. Palin’s policy positions in the wider American Jewish community. We are entirely unconnected to any other political campaign or fundraising organization.
We find Ms. Palin’s positions on Israel, Iran, national security, fiscal responsibility, energy, and social policy – as well as her record on these issues as governor of Alaska and candidate for Vice President of the United States – to be serious, substantive and politically mainstream. Though not at present a candidate for any office, Gov. Palin’s track record in public office has been exemplary, and has withstood the test of the most demanding scrutiny of investigative news media.
In her time, Margaret Thatcher was first dismissed as unintelligent, unsophisticated, the wrong gender, and incapable of taking her place among the world’s statesmen. In the end, she proved her detractors all wrong and restored Britain’s economic, political, and national security institutions to their former greatness. Today and for posterity, she is reckoned among the handful of pivotal world leaders of the late twentieth century.
Likewise, Ronald Reagan was initially looked upon with scorn, both by American Jews and even by many conservatives. Commentary magazine editor Norman Podhoretz recently wrote that his early support of Reagan’s 1980 presidential candidacy was greeted by his friends with derisive remarks about “this B-movie star.” In the end, conservatives came to respect and then revere Reagan.
In the 1980 election, 60 percent of American Jews deserted President Jimmy Carter, with most of them voting for Reagan. Podhoretz sees a parallel to Sarah Palin. So do we.
In recent days, prominent Jewish leaders and other Jewish political figures have publicly challenged President Obama’s foreign policy in terms that were unimaginable only a few weeks ago. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, a life-long Democrat, has excoriated the president for “demeaning and slandering” Israel. “There is a foul whiff of Munich and appeasement in the air,” Koch writes.
Anti-Defamation League leader Abraham Foxman has raised the prospect of a Jewish march on Washington to protest Obama’s tilt against Israel. World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder has taken out full-page ads in major American newspapers to criticize Obama for pressuring Israel to retreat to the “indefensible borders” of 1967.
Democratic U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has characterized the president’s refusal to include militant Islam in his list of terror promoters as “offensive” and said it “contradicts thousands of years of accepted military and intelligence doctrine to ‘know your enemy.’ “
President Obama’s disgraceful personal treatment of Israel’s prime minister on his official visits to Washington, and the ugly personal tone that the president himself has injected into U.S.-Israel relations, has angered even many of his supporters and driven Obama’s personal popularity to an all-time low among the Israeli public.
The suddenness of the president’s change in his policies toward Israel, after having campaigned vociferously in 2008 as a friend of the Jewish State, has caught many in the American Jewish community off-guard. No longer.
We believe it is time for American Jews to declare independence from President Barack Obama. And we believe that Gov. Sarah Palin’s heartfelt and unflinching support for America-Israel friendship reflects the true spirit of the American people, among whom love and respect for the Jewish State has never faltered.
April 18, 2010 – 5th of Iyar, 5770
Israel Independence Day – Yom Ha’Atzma’ut
Published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Obama’s Pressure on Israel Spurs
a Jewish Group for Sarah Palin
April 15, 2010
NEW YORK — President Obama’s recent demarche designed to increase pressure on Israel is having one immediate impact in the Jewish community — it is hastening the formation of an organization called Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.
Plans for the new group are set to be announced on Sunday by a Philadelphia-based journalist and activist named Binyamin Korn, a former executive director of the Zionist Organization of America. The announcement is unlikely to make big news, as the group is embryonic, with an advisory committee of several journalists and academics.
Its aim, however, is to take advantage of the growing alarm within the Jewish community at what Mr. Korn, in an interview this week with the New York Sun, called an “escalation of rhetoric” criticizing the Jewish state. The group also hopes to counter suggestions — by, among others, such opposite figures as the widely read Atlantic magazine blogger Jeffrey Goldberg and the left-of-center, anti-Israel publication Counterpunch — that Mrs. Palin’s support for Israel is animated by “end of days” theology that believes an in-gathering in Israel will precede the apocalypse and the destruction of the Jews.
Mr. Korn dismisses such talk, saying that there is “a wide range of views about religion within the Jewish Community and an even wider range of views about religion in the Christian community” and that “whatever motives Governor Palin may have or may be imputed to her are entirely within the mainstream of American discourse . . .” He said his group was encouraged by a defense of Mrs. Palin in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal by the most famous neo-conservative, Norman Podhoretz, who wrote that he would “rather be ruled by the Tea Party than by the Democratic Party” and “would rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.”
What Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin is saying, Mr. Korn said, “is that the most articulate person in the public arena today in opposition to the Obama administration’s shift in policies against Israel is Sarah Palin.” He called her “very direct,” particularly on the controversy of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, on terrorism policies, and on the emerging Obama doctrine.
Mr. Korn said his organization, which has not yet been incorporated, has had “no contact with Governor Palin or her campaign” and has no relation to her political action committee, known as SarahPAC. “We would be gratified if Governor Palin considers this a contribution to her efforts to influence American life,” Mr. Korn said. “We hope that she will feel we are supporting her, even though she is clearly not a candidate for any office at this time.”
The birth of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin sparked interest and comment across cyberspace within hours of its announcement.
Seth Lipsky broke the story at NewYorkSun.com on Friday morning, April 16, at http://www.nysun.com/national/obamas-pressure-on-israel-gives-birth-to-jewish/86918/
Within hours, the report was picked up by:
The Jewish online magazine Tablet:
British blogger Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs:
President Obama is “treating Israel like an enemy” while at the same time “throwing in the towel” on sanctions against Iran, Gov. Sarah Palin charged in a statement released on the eve of Passover.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “treated like an unwelcome guest” during his recent visit to Washington, Gov. Palin pointed out, noting that President Obama refused to be photographed with the Israeli leader.
While the Obama administration continually demands more concessions from Israel, it has made no such demands on the Palestinian Authority, and the result is that “the Palestinians add ever more conditions to their participation in peace talks,” Gov. Palin said.
To make matters worse, the administration is backing down on sanctions against Iran, just when Tehran’s leaders are moving ever closer to being able to “launch a Second Holocaust,” Gov. Palin noted. Despite the CIA’s new assessment “that Iran already has the capability and the know-how to build nuclear weapons,” the administration has “worked hard to stall bipartisan [Congressional] efforts to pass the Iran Sanctions Act.”
The administration once spoke of implementing “crippling” sanctions on Iran, but now it speaks only of “sanctions that ‘bite’.” “Shockingly,” Gov. Palin added, “these ‘biting’ sanctions will no longer include actions that could actually change Iran’s behavior, including limiting Iran’s access to international capital markets and banking services or closing air space and waters to Iran’s national air and shipping lines.” Thus instead of “biting,” the question now is “whether they will even nibble.”
If Tehran’s nuclear capabilities are not eliminated, “Israel would face the gravest threat since its creation” and the Mideast will be engulfed in “a regional nuclear arms race as other countries seek their own nuclear weapons to protect themselves from Iran. Nuclear non-proliferation efforts would be over.”
“The Obama administration has their priorities exactly backwards,” Gov. Palin concluded. “We should be working with our friend and democratic ally to stop Iran’s nuclear program, not throwing in the towel on sanctions while treating Israel like an enemy.”
Gov. Palin’s statement follows her powerful criticism of the Obama administration for pressuring Israel to halt Jewish housing construction in Jerusalem.
On March 16, Gov. Palin blasted the administration’s “unilateral demands on Israel” and its “overheated rhetoric” on the Jerusalem issue. She said the administration’s decision to escalate the confrontation with Israel over Jerusalem was “leading to the worst crisis in US-Israel relations in decades” and “threaten[ing] the very foundation of the US-Israel relationship.”
The Obama administration is “missing the boat” when it comes Israel and the Palestinians, she said. It needs to “go back to the basics and acknowledge Palestinian leaders have not progressed any peace process since President Obama was elected.” By clashing with Israel and ignoring Arab intransigence, the administration is encouraging Arab leaders to “sit back and wait for the White House to further pressure Israel.”
Gov. Palin noted the irony in the Obama administration’s decision to denounce “our treasured ally, Israel” while at the same time “reach[ing] out to some of the world’s worst regimes in the name of their engagement policy.” In recent months, she pointed out, the administration has made gestures to the oppressive regimes of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Burma, Sudan, and Venezuela.
“The Obama Administration reaches out to some of the world’s worst regimes in the name of their engagement policy. America and our allies watch as sanctions are eased on Cuba. Letters are written to Iran’s mullahs only to see that regime start killing protestors in the streets of Tehran. Envoys are sent to North Korea as they continue to defy the world’s demand to give up their nuclear weapons. The Burmese military junta’s representative is allowed to travel to our nation’s capital. The President’s envoy for Sudan talks about giving that genocidal regime “gold stars,” while the President shakes hands with Venezuela’s tyrannical leader. In the midst of all this embracing of enemies, where does the Obama Administration choose to escalate a minor incident into a major diplomatic confrontation? With Iran, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea or Burma? No. With our treasured ally, Israel.
“Last October, Secretary of State Clinton recognized Israel’s desire for peace in the Middle East and praised Israel’s “unprecedented” concessions for agreeing to halt settlement construction in the West Bank, a concession that did NOT include halting construction of apartments for Jews in Jerusalem. Even last week after planned construction was announced, Vice President Biden still expressed “appreciation” for the “significant” steps taken by the Israeli government to address this minor issue. Now, however, we see the Obama Administration has decided to escalate, make unilateral demands of Israel, and threaten the very foundation of the US-Israel relationship. This is quickly leading to the worst crisis in US-Israel relations in decades, and yet this did not have to happen. More importantly, it needs to stop before it spirals out of control. Vice President Biden should rein in the overheated Obama Administration rhetoric and chill the political spin masters’ fire as they visit the Sunday media shows to criticize Israel.
“Once again, the Obama Administration is missing the boat on a very, very important issue. They need to go back to the basics and acknowledge Palestinian leaders have not progressed any peace process since President Obama was elected. As Israel makes concessions (and is still criticized by the Obama Administration), Arab leaders are just sitting back waiting for the White House to further pressure Israel. The Obama Administration needs to open its eyes and recognize that it is only Iran and her terrorist allies that benefit from this manufactured Israeli controversy. Vice President Biden was actually right when he said last week, before the construction announcement, that “one necessary precondition for progress is that the rest of the world knows…there is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to security.” Right now, thanks to the Obama Administration, there is a chasm. It’s time for President Obama to push the reset button on our relations with our ally Israel.”
Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin is an independent group of academic, religious and political leaders, dedicated to promoting consideration of Gov. Sarah Palin’s political positions in the wider American Jewish community.
We find Ms. Palin’s policy positions on Israel, Iran, national security, fiscal responsibility, energy, and social policy – as well as her record on these issues as governor of Alaska and candidate for Vice President of the United States – to be serious, substantive and politically mainstream.
Though not at present a candidate for any political office, Gov. Palin’s track record in public office has been exemplary, and has withstood the test of the most demanding scrutiny of investigative news media. Gov. Palin’s ongoing contribution to the public discourse in America is welcome.