Op-Ed: Palin’s policies reflect Americans’ spirit on Israel


PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — The Obama administration’s tilt against Israel, its tacit acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran and its weak approach to combating Islamic terrorism all pose a direct challenge to Jewish Americans.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has described the "Obama doctrine" in U.S. foreign policy as "coddling our enemies while alienating allies." 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 — Home Page for Jewish Independents.

JASP is comprised of academic, religious and community leaders who are dedicated to promoting consideration of Palin’s policy positions in the wider American Jewish community. We are unconnected to any political campaign or fund-raising organization.

We find 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, 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 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 20th century.

Likewise, Ronald Reagan was looked upon initially with scorn both by American Jews and even by many conservatives. Commentary magazine editor Norman Podhoretz wrote recently 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 lifelong Democrat, has excoriated the president for "demeaning and slandering" Israel.

"There is a foul whiff of Munich and appeasement in the air," Koch has written.

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. U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), 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 has injected into U.S.-Israel relations has angered even many of his supporters and driven Obama’s 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.

(Benyamin Korn is the former executive editor of the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia and a veteran Jewish community organizer.)

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