The Conference of Presidents leader, Malcolm Hoenlein got a little more than he bargained for when, after securing Hillary Clinton for his anti-Iran rally, timed to coincide with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the UN General Assembly, he also invited Sarah Palin. He began the day with New York’s senior senator as a star of his event. He ended the day Clintonless:
“Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event,” a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, Philippe Reines, said on Wednesday. “Senator Clinton will therefore not be attending.”
Clinton’s “replacement” opposes almost every domestic priority of the American Jewish community. Hoenlein went from a rally that had no partisan political tension, to one that showcased Hoenlein’s allegiance to the Republican Party.
[Irony Alert] I do understand there may be one small glitch in Palin’s acceptance of the invitation to speak. She’s requested that she be introduced by David Brickner, the director of Jews for Jesus, who spoke before her at her Alaska church less than a month ago. I don’t think this will cause Abe Foxman any trouble though, since he claims he has no problem with Palin lapping up a Jews for Jesus exhortation to convert us.
And since Hoenlein came to the U.S. as a young Soviet Jewish émigré (which explains a good deal of his political hawkishness), he should be able to give Sarah a quick tutorial on Russia to fill in any weak spots in her knowledge.
This rally debacle also illustrates how politically out of touch the Israel lobby’s leadership is with the views of mainstream Jews. At best, 30% of them will vote for McCain-Palin in November. 70% will vote for the other guy. But Hoenlein is content to showcase his fealty to the 30% at an event that should showcase a united Jewish community.
Let there be no doubt, the Jewish leadership has hitched itself to the Bush-McCain bandwagon. It is in lockstep with the most bellicose approach to the Iranian nuclear impasse. Sarah Palin says there would be nothing wrong with Israel attacking Iran. That’s what Malcolm Hoenlein wants to hear. He wants to say: “Jump” and hear a candidate say: “How high.” The Republicans are willing to give Israel a blank check. The Israel lobby knows that Barack Obama, while a friend to Israel and the Jewish people, is no fool and will not give Israel a blank check.
Keep in mind that yesterday, five past secretaries of state INCLUDING Henry Kissinger and James Baker called for unconditional negotiations between Iran and the U.S. “at the highest level.” That’s the two deans of the Republican foreign policy establishment rejecting the McCain-Palin approach to Iran out of hand. Yet, Malcolm Hoenlein knows something Kissinger doesn’t about those mad mullahs.
The Conference of President’s anti-Iran event has become a pep rally for “Jews for McCain-Palin.” It’s a shande. If you want to voice your displeasure, join J Street’s protest by demanding that Hoenlein and the Conference disinvite Palin.
One thing does reassure me though. After the rally, Sarah will get some quality time with all those foreign leaders gathering at the UN, who she’s never met before in her life. She’ll even get an autographed map of the Bering Straits from Ban Ki Moon showing the border between Russia and Alaska. If she’s very good, Secretary General Ban might shake her hand and tell her he comes from South Korea and show her it on a world map.
Then Sarah can tell him that the only map that matters for her is the map of heaven. All the rest is sin and deviltry.