Palin and the Jews (cont.)


Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s record on foreign policy and on Jews is about as empty as, well, Alaska, but that’s not stopping people from reading what they can into the broad white spaces.

In this post, I go into efforts by some Democrats to make a major-breaking-scandal out of what appear to two extremely fleeting encounters between the Republican vice-presidential pick and Holocaust-diminisher John McCain Pat Buchanan.

Less insidious, but about as substantive is the attempt by her Alaskan supporters to depict her as a friend of Israel because in June she signed a resolution commemorating 60 years of relations between her state and Israel. (Alaska Airlines played a major role in flying Yemeni Jews to Israel in 1948.)

Signed. Not initiated. In a speech at the signing, Yosef Greenberg, the Chabad rabbi in Anchorage who started the ball rolling on the resolution, credits a host of Alaska civic leaders for helping to shape the resolution, preeminent among them Speaker of the Alaskan House John Harris. Palin apparently did little more than agree to sign a bill that’s about as pareve as it gets.

Not that it means a lot – there’s not a lot one should expect from the governor of a state of 6,000 Jews when it comes to Jews and Israel. But still.

Greenberg tells us that Palin had hoped to visit Israel with members of the Alaskan Jewish community before her Veep nomination. He also said she was an enthusiastic participant in the requisite Jewish public events.

Here are some other tidbits from here and there, telling us – well, not a whole lot:

* Adam Brickley, the Colorado University at Colorado Springs student who started the Draft Sarah Palin movement, lists “Zionism” among his interests. We’re trying to track him down, but Colorado Springs is a redoubt for Christian evangelicals where no one would raise an eyebrow at a Christian describing himself as a Zionist, so don’t jump to conclusions that he’s Jewish.

* This Boston Globe has the most concise-yet-comprehensive roundup of her social views: abortion (banned except for cases in which the mother’s life is at risk), stem cell research (opposed), evolution (teach it together with creationism). Note in the final item the insinuation of her predecessor as Wasilla mayor, John Stein – he apparently thinks he was ousted in part because he was mistaken for a Jew (although there’s no indication that Palin or campaign were behind the suspicions):

After she was first elected mayor, her predecessor, John Stein, objected that a Valley cable TV program had hailed her as Wasilla’s first “Christian mayor.” In a column for the local newspaper, he named eight previous mayors and added that he, too, was a Christian, despite a name that led some voters to suspect “I must be a non-Christian, have non-Christian blood or at least have sympathized with a non-Christian sometime in my career.”

* Depending how you look at it, there’s not a lot that unites the Jewish community when it comes to energy and the environment (not so much because of disagreement, more because of the smorgasbord of alternatives to oil invites a variety of alternatives to favor). However, pretty much all but Republican Jews oppose drilling in Alaska; Palin favors it.

Recommended from JTA