Abe Foxman is now shillin’ for Sarah Palin. Many of you know that just a few weeks ago Sarah Palin’s church, with her in attendance, welcomed the director of Jews for Jesus into its midst. In his sermon he said, among other hurtful things, that Israelis killed in terror attacks died because of God’s judgment against them for not accepting Jesus. After listening to this hateful nonsense, the Church took up a collection for the group’s deceitful proselytizing among Jews.
Palin’s handlers have told JTA that while she was there when he spoke that she didn’t agree with his sentiments. I wish Ben Harris had asked the handlers whether Palin chipped in when the collection plate came around. Did she give to Jews for Jesus? Apparently, for the campaign, this denial is sufficient and they think the issue will go away. But I’d like to know why she attends a Church whose pastor believes that Jews for Jesus actually does Jews a favor by providing them an opportunity to return to the embrace of “Our Lord and Savior?”
…We wish to extend your grace back to your [Jewish] people. And we pray and we ask that as a result of this time here, and as a result of this offering [for Jews for Jesus], there will be people among the Jews today who come to say the name ‘Jesus’ with faith.”
And why does she belong to a Church which believes that gay people can be turned back into heterosexuals?
Equally disturbing, was Abe Foxman’s hypocritical dismissal of the danger of such evangelical proselytizing:
The Anti-Defamation League, which has been deeply critical of Jews for Jesus…said it had no problem with Palin’s membership in a church that supported efforts to convert Jews.
The ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, told JTA that Protestant evangelizing to Jews was entirely different from Catholics praying for Jewish conversion, which the ADL has sharply criticized.
“They did not have the Inquisition. They did not go on a Crusade. They did not kill Jews for 2,000 years,” Foxman said. “They have a belief; they’re entitled to their belief.”
Besides, he said, there is no evidence that Palin shares Brickner’s views.
“If you could tell me that she approves of this guy, she invited him, I’m not aware of any of that,” Foxman said. “The fact that she belongs to a church that believes in it, I don’t have a problem.”
Somebody ought to read Abe his own organization’s press release criticizing Jews for Jesus as being “deceptive and offensive.” How can he criticize the group and then turn around and say that evangelical churches that host Jews for Jesus are doing nothing wrong?
And how ignorant can one be in dividing up Christianity into good and bad? Protestants have been just as anti-Semitic historically as Catholics. The only difference is that Protestantism has existed for a shorter time and thus been able to do less damage. Martin Luther, who turned against the Jews when they didn’t convert en masse as he hoped, wrote The Jews and Their Lies. And does one need to remind Abe that plenty of German Protestant pastors endorsed Hitler’s murderous policies?
Clearly, Abe’s covering for Palin and trying to deflect legitimiate criticism from Palin and her church. Let it not be said that the ADL is a non-partisan operation. Somehow Barack Obama’s black church was anti-Semitic and the candidate had to take personal responsibility for the hate spoken there; while Palin is treated to an entirely different standard.
Abe must’ve been persuaded that Palin is a friend of the Jews by the state’s Chabad rabbi who called her a great friend of Israel. On what basis? She signed a bill recognizing Israel’s 60th anniversary! I kid you not:
Gov. Palin signed a resolution in June of 2008 recognizing Israel’s 60th anniversary and the unique relationship between Alaska and the Jewish State, especially the fact that Alaska Airlines played a critical role in the rescue of 40,000 Yemenite Jews in 1948 and 1949.
All I can say is that if this is enough to convince the good rabbi that Sarah Palin loves us, he’s a very cheap date.
I wonder if Abe is at all concerned with Sarah Posner’s report that as governor, Palin signed a bill recognizing Alaska Christian Heritage Week. So much for separation of church and state. One wonders whether there was an Alaskan Jewish Heritage Week. Or why a state should recognize any particular religion’s heritage.
On a slightly different note, remember all that “executive experience” Palin touted in her convention speech? Well, if you read longtime Wasilla neighbor Anne Kilkenny’s long critique of Palin’s career, you’ll find that she tried to fire the town librarian for refusing to ban books, for which she was nearly recalled. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, the librarian later quit her job and moved to Fairbanks. Palin also successfully fired the town’s police chief, who sued for wrongful termination, and several other senior town staff hired by the previous mayor, a Democrat. While she won the court case, the price was that a town of 5,000 had to hire a professional administrator to run the town because her “executive” decision-making was so deficient.
It can’t be any wonder after firing Wasilla’s police chief that she went after the state’s chief law enforcement officer after she became governor. All because he rightfully refused to fire her brother-in-law who was in the middle of divorcing her sister.
What becomes clear in Kilkenny’s assessment is that Palin has no strong ideological identity. She is not wedded to any particular philosophy. She throws an idea out and if the public embraces it she takes credit. If not, it was somebody else’s idea.
But her politics are very personal. Anyone who has ever crossed her becomes an enemy for life (I guess she hasn’t heard about Christian forgiveness). Kilkenny even muses that she will pay a price for her candor in writing her e mail. But because of her disenchantment with Palin it is a price she is willing to pay.
In the spirit of Christian forgiveness, perhaps Sarah would now like to nominate Mary Ellen Emmons, Wasailla’s librarian (yes, the one she tried to fire) for the I Love My Librarian Award.