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Jew for Sarah

Buddy Korn, the founder of the group Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, is an ex-Maoist rabbi’s son looking to mobilize disenchanted coreligionists with Tea Party rhetoric

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(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; Sarah Palin photo Ethan Miller/Getty Images; insignia Jews for Palin.)

Last weekend, before the nation’s attention was consumed by the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, was a busy one for Washington’s media society, and no one made more of it than Sarah Palin. First there was a stop with Greta Van Susteren at a power brunch in Georgetown, and later an appearance at a glitzy party hosted by MSNBC. In between the two, while her fellow maybe-candidate Donald Trump was getting skewered by President Barack Obama at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Palin zipped up to a Marriott in suburban Maryland to headline a $250-a-plate fundraiser for a pro-life group, Heroic Media, best known for controversial billboards aimed at black women. By way of explaining why she had ducked out of the evening’s main event downtown, Palin reportedly told the crowd: “I choose life.”

At the end of Palin’s speech, an Orthodox rabbi named Robert Shechter stood up to give a closing benediction on behalf of a year-old group called Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, whose supporters had bought three tables at the 300-person dinner. Like Palin herself, the group piggybacked on Heroic Media’s event to stage its own Washington moment: a Shabbat retreat, or shabbaton, for Jewish supporters of Palin. Ten participants gathered at an Aish HaTorah center near the Marriott for a kosher dinner and lunch accompanied by freewheeling discussions about the Obama Administration moderated by the group’s founder, Benyamin Korn.

Korn—who is known to his oldest friends as “Buddy,” but sends his emails as “Bert,” short for Bertram, his English name—is a host on Philadelphia’s conservative WNTP talk radio station, an affiliate of the behemoth Christian broadcaster Salem Communications. At a Friday night service before the retreat, his rich baritone carried the uneven chorus of the regular Aish membership. Korn, who is 55, chanted from memory with his prayer book closed in his hands.

Korn appears to have few direct links to Palin herself—in public, he deferentially refers to the head of her political-action group, Michael Glassner, as “Mr. Glassner”—and he admits he has limited financial resources, though he says he has received support from Saul Fox, a Bay Area private-equity investor who donated last year to Tea Party candidates Sharron Angle and Tom Campbell. (Fox, en route to the Palin event from his California office, was not available for comment.) To the shabbaton participants, Korn insisted that he was not in the market for a job with Palin’s political-action group, or in a future Palin campaign. “I don’t need that tsuris,” he said. But over the past few months, Korn has become a go-to Palin soldier for cable news shows. Federal campaign records show he has never given money to Palin, but he runs a website devoted to aggregating news about her, which he says gets upwards of 10,000 hits a month, including a few dozen from Wasilla, Alaska. (“It could be Joe McGinniss,” Korn says self-deprecatingly, referring to the journalist who spent last summer living next door to the Palins while working on his book about them.)

But Korn has a long history of trying to add a Jewish voice to political movements that seemed closed to some Jews—starting with his work in the left-wing solidarity movements of the early 1980s, which frequently adopted anti-Zionist positions in sympathy with the Palestinian cause. Korn became more observant as he grew older, and in the Tea Party he sees a movement that speaks to the broader cultural concerns of a generation of newly conservative Jews who feel “mugged by reality,” following Irving Kristol’s famous formulation. “I started Jews for Sarah to create a link to a wider community,” he told his group and described his dream of building a network of Jews for Sarah chapters on the back of local Tea Party organizations around the country.

Unlike most conservative Zionist activists, Korn says he respects Jeremy Ben-Ami, the head of the dovish group J Street, with whom Korn worked in the mid-2000s during a stint as associate director of the nonprofit David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. (Ben-Ami is on the group’s board.) “These people, they want to fit Israel into a left-wing paradigm but they don’t want to fit their worldview into a Jewish paradigm,” Korn said. “I know it because I lived it.” In some ways, Korn is attempting to engineer the political mirror image of what Ben-Ami has spent the last two years building: a political home for a group of conservative Jews who feel that no one speaks for them.

***

“Buddy” is the son of Bertram Korn, the former rabbi of Philadelphia’s Keneseth Israel, one of the oldest and largest Reform congregations in the United States, and a well-known historian of Jews in the Civil War era. His mother, Rita, was an heir to the Pep Boys auto-repair fortune; her father, Emanuel Rosenfeld, was better-known as the chain’s mascot, Manny. As an undergraduate, Korn studied journalism at Temple University and began learning Mandarin in hopes of going to China after he graduated—a nod to his father, who served as the Navy’s only Jewish chaplain in North China during World War II. But visa restrictions were still in place five years after Nixon’s landmark 1972 trip, and as a devoted Maoist—“Oh, how I long to carry manure up the mountain, and all that,” as Korn now puts it—Korn decided to forgo either Taiwan or Hong Kong and followed his Indian girlfriend to New Delhi, where he enrolled in a master’s program at Jawaharlal Nehru University. “My dad had to defend me to the congregation, that I wasn’t losing my mind in an ashram,” Korn said, in one of several phone conversations.

He was still in Delhi in 1979, when his father, only 61, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Korn returned to Philadelphia and enrolled in a doctoral program at Temple. In his off hours, he volunteered with Central American solidarity movements, going on missions to Cuba and hosting radio shows featuring radical music from throughout Latin America.

At the same time, Korn says, he began feeling his way back toward Jewish observance. For a while, his leftism coexisted peacefully with his Judaism—he launched Jews Concerned for Central Americans during this time, he says—but then, in 1985, found himself disillusioned after Nicaraguan Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega went to Moscow immediately after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted down President Reagan’s request for funding to the opposition Contras. “I said, ‘How can this man go to Moscow the day after we saved his neck in the U.S. Congress?’ ” Korn said. (It is a story he tells often, according to people who have known him for decades.) “So, I said, if he will betray his own people, I am finished with this, I am going to learn Hebrew and go to Israel.”

Within a few years, Korn had married an Israeli woman and fathered four children. (The pair eventually divorced; Korn, who describes himself as Modern Orthodox, has since remarried.) He established the Philadelphia chapter of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, but he then became a journalist himself, first as editor of three Jewish papers in South Florida and then, in 1994, as executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Four years later, he left to join the conservative Zionist Organization of America. “I often wonder to myself if I had come of age now rather than when I did if I would have gone off the derech,” Korn said, using the Hebrew word for “path.” “The Reform movement has now embraced Zionism, but it was not like that in the 1980s.”

At the retreat, Korn steered the conversation away from Israel toward an array of anti-Obama Tea Party staples: energy policy, health care, even Michelle Obama’s effort to reduce consumption of high-fructose corn syrup. He invited Tea Party activists Teri Adams and Adrienne Ross speak. Later, in a phone conversation, he repeated his frequent assertion that his admiration for Palin stems in part from what he sees as her ecumenical outlook, which he believes is demonstrated by the fact that her husband, Todd, is part Native American. “We want to break through some of the baseless charges made against her, separately and against the Tea Party movement, that they are racist, narrow, and bigoted, or that they come from some kind of cultural place that is hostile to Jews, blacks, and other minorities,” Korn told me.

Korn has been criticized, most recently in Salon, for being a party of one, engaged in a quixotic effort to try and lure his fellow Jews away from their well-established liberalism. But he is operating in a religious Jewish world that is more open to “values” conservatism than it once was—a universe apart from the secular Jewish world. “The earlier generation of secular Republican Jews were à la carte Republicans, making common cause with evangelical Christians on issues like foreign policy,” said Ami Eden, the editor of the JTA, who got his start working for Korn at the Exponent. “These Orthodox Jews are buying the whole conservative program, from health care on down—it’s a unified front against what they see as a secular-socialist worldview.”

And Korn isn’t shy about making use of his political journey. It’s just the kind of redemption narrative that characterizes successful conservative rhetoric today. He delighted in telling those gathered for dinner on Friday night, over brisket and chicken, that he was once a fan and follower of the late community organizer Saul Alinsky, a favorite punching-bag of the right-wing blogosphere. Mark Young, a physical-rehabilitation specialist from Baltimore, interjected, “You’ve done teshuva!” (Teshuva is Hebrew for repentance.) The group laughed. Korn gave a brief, sad smile and replied quietly, “I guess you could say that.” Then he picked up where he had left off.

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benj says:

There was a poll in 2004 in the world about the US elections. Only 2 countries in the world wanted GW Bush to win against Kerry: Russia (by a small margin) and Israel (over 75%). Same thing in 2008 – only 2 countries, Israel being the leading one for the conservative candidate.

Israel is also the country in the world where Obama is the less popular (less than 10% of good opinions).

You can say this is because of the Bush era foreign policy perceived as pro-Israel.

But the Isareli right-wing did not like so much GW Bush because he was pushing for a Palestinian State.

And Israelis are also conservative: most of them do things that you don’t see so much in the western world nowadays: they do get married and have lots of kids. They love family values, religious tradition, and their country.

Israeli Jews are conservatives. Russian Jews also (but in a very secular way). French Jews also (even more than Israelis). And many others.

So why are the US Jews so liberals and why does this Korn seems like a crazy fringe extremist when he would be almost mainstream in anyother Jewish community ?

I am not certain that I would support Sarah Palin as a presidential candidate, but I am certain that I respect and admire her, and that she has survived a great deal of abject hate from the left-leaning media.

Kudos to Tablet and to Alison Hoffman for bringing us this all-too-rare, balanced portrait of a Jewish Sarah Palin supporter. The article also manages to touch on many of the issues facing contemporary Jews who are now wrestling with the legacy of Jewish liberalism in the West.

Again, thanks for this important piece.

fred lapides says:

Palin is not going to be a candidate for anything at this point, so the post is of little meaning other than to give us a glimpse into Korn’s travails as he tried to find where he felt he belonged.

Deli Lama says:

John McCain took Sarah Palin to be his running mate in 2008, and thereby sunk his presidential campaign. In professing admiration for Palin, Korn and his colleagues show themselves to be poor judges of character. Palin quit her job as Alaska governor to pursue personal wealth; she made around $11 million in 2010, with the books, TV “reality” show and speaking gigs. She is mean and ignorant, not to put too fine a point on it.

The Republicans are really in the soup going into the 2012 elections. The electorate has gotten a bitter taste of Tea Party governance, and the GOP presidential aspirants are mainly wackos; notable in this category is Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who will say anything that comes in over the transom of her unhinged brain. And former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now affecting a Southern drawl to fit in better with the white, Southern good ol’ boys forming the Republican base. And then there’s The Donald; but comments here are limited to 400 words, and a 10,000-word essay is needed to plumb Trump’s truly repulsive personality.

Lzr says:

In the scroll, Marc Tracy posted this link:

http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/national/anti_sharia_laws_stir_concerns_halachah_could_be_next

“Anti-Sharia laws stir Concerns that Halachah Could Be Next”

When will politically conservative Jews learn that they, too, suffer from xenophobia espoused by the GOP? The Tribe has nothing to gain by supporting these politicians. Any Jew who isn’t outraged by, for example, the racist anti-immigration laws in Arizona has a very short memory of their own history. If Palin were around in the ’20s and ’30s, you bet she would have supported immigration quotas, sending Jews back to Nazi Germany.

Boo says:

It’s not a question of Sarah Palin’s conservatism or moral outlook.

Intellectually, she’s not capable of governing anything more than her own household. (With apologies to Alaska.)

And that’s being kind.

Arik says:

“When will politically conservative Jews learn that they, too, suffer from xenophobia espoused by the GOP? ”

When will liberal Jews learn than most antisemitism in the western world nowadays, in 2011, not in 1930, comes from the left ? Hate of Jews under the guise of antizionism has become so common in the left that they hardly notice it. These horrible conservatives are now the only friends of the Jews and you spit on them. How can you be so stupid ?

Lzr says:

Yes, conservative Evangelical Christians who use Israel as a tool for the Armageddon are Jews’ only friends…

I’m not disagreeing that anti-Semiticism or anti-Zionism (let’s be careful not to confuse the two, either) comes from liberals, but to turn a blind eye to the same rhetoric coming from the right (which also extends to other groups) is just willful ignorance.

Ratfishtim says:

Korn said: [The Palins don't] come from some kind of cultural place that is hostile to Jews, blacks, and other minorities.”

Obviously he hasn’t been to Wasilla, and doesn’t understand that the Quitter is a grifter who is now trying to get money from American Jews despite her being a hate-monger.

DLS says:

Sarah Palin has proved herself to be incapable of the slightest intellectual capacity. I know there are capable people who agree with the rhetoric she spouts, but I submit there are none who honestly believe she should lead anything bigger than Wasilla, Alaska (and I’m not sure about that). The searching soul known as Buddy proves only that Jews have their share of . . . shall we say . . . people less than capable.

As to why most American Jews are liberal (or at least vote Democratic), it is in part because they understand they are better off in a United States where church and state are separate, where politicians don’t constantly refer to this as a Christian country, and impose their religion on schools, women’s rights etc. Jews know that their success can disappear quickly in an intolerant society. Jews know that they are only as protected as the next vulnerable minority. And since Democrats are just as pro-Israel (not the same as pro-Likud) as anyone else, there is no reason not to be a Democrat. (Unless you think the government should pay for you to study Talmud or you vote based only on your tax rate). Personally, and to paraphrase one of my favorite lines in political science, I’m proud that “Jews are the only people who live like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.”

Lou Gutnicki says:

Attend the Jews for Sarah weekend, we did, my wife Rita and I. So, I can report from an “insider’s” perspective to add to Allison’s excellent article. Why would a middle aged Orthodox couple from New York trudge down to Washington a mere two days after Passover? Why indeed? We are both children of Holocaust survivors and we are horrified that Jewish blood has once again become cheap, witness the monstrous massacre at Itamar, Israel. Few even raise an eyebrow. We are outraged that Israel, a true democratic state, has become the world’s pariah, witness the Goldstone Report. Few have the decency to come to set the record straight. How can Rita and I do anything other than show support for Sarah Palin? Whether or not she runs for President is not really of concern to us. Sarah Palin’s loyalty to Israel has been consistent and unwavering. During the weekend, our group may have not openly discussed these heart wrenching issues but they were certainly part of the undercurrent along with the brisket and chicken, which was very good by the way. As I’ve learned from Allison’s article, Bert Korn may have issues in addition to ours, but for Rita and I, our agenda is clear. It is imperative that we find and support defenders of Israel.

Jeffrey Sultanof says:

Every once in awhile, I question whether people in large numbers are actually buying into Sarah Palin’s questionable behavior and media grabbing. I realize that there are people who actually think she would be a good candidate for president despite quitting her governorship (it isn’t that easy to quit when you are president). It is wonderful to see that some people see her for who she is.

In this case, I don’t even think it’s a question of left vs. right. I think it is a question of someone you think has the brains to represent your country. If this is the best that Republicans can do, it’s pretty bad. I feel sorry for people like Korn who don’t just don’t get it. But if that’s how he wants to spend his time, more power to him.

Marty Janner says:

Once again we have an adventurer, who obviously supports Palin on the basis of her support for Israel! In the 2012 election we are fighting for the soul of America, which continues to mean, support of the middle class,the right of working people to enjoy collective bargaining, keeping our medicare as we know it,as well as social security.

Ms. Palin as we know her, represents a no knowledge of the world around her. Her rhetoric Is indeed spicy and charming to some, without any substance in it’s reality! This is not the avenue to pursue!

The American People have worked much too hard, for the benefits we now enjoy! Relative to Israel,America has a lifetime commitment to the security of this country!The tact may be somewhat different among candidates,but the ultimate objective the same!

In the final anaysis, There will never be a candidate with her credentials, as a legitimate individual running for the Presidency of these United States!

Lou Gutnicki says:

To Marty Janner (and others):

It sounds like you guys need a little lesson in politics and human behavior. You see people have priorities. There are tens of thousands of people whose primary issue is strong support of Israel, with other considerations taking a back seat. I am one of them. I got involved in politics when I saw that Barak Obama was throwing Israel under the bus. In a similar vein, there are tens of millions who detested Obama and the Democrats destroying the American and world economies. You may have heard of the Tea Party. If you haven’t, they’re the ones who threw the Democrats out of the House last fall and they’ll finish the job in 2012.

Naomi says:

Lou Gutnicki – you have GOT to be kidding!!

Beatrix says:

Palin isn’t qualified to be President, but she does support Israel. I don’t think she’s important politically, but she can be likeable. It would not be Obama’s way to fight for Israel.

Israel doesn’t have to be central to you to be concerned with the left’s hatred of her, and their antisemitism. There are many supporters of Israel and the Jewish people among moderate and conservative Democrats, although she finds support with less than ½ of the Democrats and 85% of the Republicans.

Many right wing Christians support Israel, Rapture aside. If you like Israel, then accept it instead of treating them with contempt.

The Tea Party has nothing to say to me, but I’m waiting to hear from Huntsman.

Kenneth Cagan says:

To Naomi — I second that.

The only credit I can give to LG is that there is a relationship between politics and human behavior. Take a look at the political campaign strategies between Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans typically are the pessimists who play on the voter’s fear, and the Democrats are the optimists that usually speak of the better times ahead.

I am a Democrat (and Jewish, too) who whole heartedly supports the State of Israel, but I am an American, too. Israel is very important to me, but I would have a hard time believing that our domestic issues should “take a back seat.”

Hashem help us if the Tea Parties finish their job in 2012.

Beatrix says:

I’m not naïve enough to believe all the Democratic campaign rhetoric, when their actions are sub-par, and I don’t support the right wing Republicans, although any new group taking over from an old group is going to describe the incumbents as incompetent. The Democrats in 2008 did not exactly compliment Bush.

In 2008 and 2010, both Dems and Reps had a point in their morbid dissatisfaction. I sufficiently displeased with both groups that I have opted for Moderate Independent.

Neveragain says:

As a southern Republican office holder, I speak with many Tea Party/Palin supporters. A typical conversation goes something like this:
TP- Taxes are too high, we have to cut government AND LOWER TAXES.
Me- Then, you support cutting corporate farm subsidies, right?
TP- No, of course not. We need to protect our farmers.
Me- Then, you support cutting military spending, Medicare, Social Security?
TP- Never, those programs are all needed.We just have to cut all that government waste and welfare.
Lets face it:PALIN AND HER BUDDIES ARE DUMB AND DUMBER. THEY PROVIDE NO SOLUTIONS, JUST EMOTIONS.

http://thetimehascometoday-rock.blogspot.com/
How can so many sad sacks gather in one place to spout pure garbage? That term “not qualified “, is such a pile of pure stink, it makes my stomach turn..it is so over used. She is just as capable ,i believe more so, than any Governor in this country to be president.
If a man like Barack Obama ,the perfect feminine liberal boy,who is slow in debate ,and always stumbling over his thoughts,can become president, your going to tell me that a bright ,intelligent woman ,a Governor who battled the largest oil companies in the world,can’t do a better job than him. I say baloney.
Yes, she resigned her post only after the most vile attacks on a politician i have ever seen in my 57 years was waged against her,by men who are pure devils in nature. She was loved by the Democrats ,in Alaska, till they turned on her. And Obama is right in the middle of it. This thin skinned weasel,made it impossible for her to do her job. But she did not crawl under the covers. Hell No !
She has taken this fight to this man,and this progressive movement,and she is not afraid of the truth. That is what i love about Sarah Palin.That is what Korn most likey sees in her.
No, Sarah is not dumb,she is the one person who will never sell this country out. Her courage makes Obama look like a school boy. Please ,please ,don’t tell me after two and a half years that you people are deranged enough to still believe in Obama. May God save your souls.May God save America from this fool.

“Qualified” ?…Your damn right she’s qualified.

Don’t be the “USEFUL IDIOT” that this Washington elite plays you for. It’s not like these fools have done much right,in my lifetime.

Lou Gutnicki says:

Chew on this, guys. I’ll make it simple for you….

Reagan Democrats + 25 years = Tea Party + President Sarah Palin in 2012

You can play with this equality all you want. You’ll find it to be true

Lou Gutnicki says:

To Neveragain:

Mr. (or Ms.) southern Republican office holder,

Real people, not the ones you are concocting, understand that there are serious choices and tradeoffs to be made. That’s why Tea Party has been so successful. You’d know this unless you’ve been sleeping for last two years, which brings me to the question…

ConservativeExpat says:

The thing that depresses me is, here you have a thoughtful and insightful article, and then many of the ones that are in opposition to Palin are not able to bring anything constructive or of substance in policy to the debate.

Its really not becoming of you to lower yourself to a bottom feed-argumentation which all here can see is full of emotions and small-minded chiding towards both a good woman and a great state (Alaska).

Let me take an example of the bile and hate that clouds these people thinking they are “quick and cool” minded. Lets see what happens when we reverse the roles by quoting from some of the posters but with Obama instead of Sarah;

“It’s not a question of Barack Obama’s liberalism or moral outlook.
Intellectually, he’s not capable of governing anything more than his own household. (With apologies to Chicago.)
And that’s being kind.”

“Obviously he hasn’t been to Chicago, and doesn’t understand that the do-nothing president is a power-monger who is now trying to get money from American Jews for a new presidential period despite him being a violence-rouser and Israel-basher. (if they take knives, we bring guns, end to building in the settlements etc.)”

“Barack Obama has proved himself to be incapable of the slightest intellectual capacity. I know there are capable people who agree with the rhetoric he spouts, but I submit there are none who honestly believe he should lead anything bigger than his household in Chicago (and I’m not sure about that). The searching soul known as Buddy proves only that Jews have their share of . . . shall we say . . . people less than capable.”

Now you can more easily see your own misogyny and “hate-mongering”. Luckily Sarah does not play on your court, she takes it straight to Obama “Game On” and it will be very interesting to follow her towards 2012. :)

Lou Gutnicki says:

It was kind of late last night and I got the constant wrong. Here’s the corrected equality:

Reagan Democrats + 32 years = Tea Party + President Sarah Palin in 2012

very similar to temperature conversion, but the parallel runs much deeper –

Barak Obama is neck-in-neck with Jimmy Carter for the coveted worst President of the United States honors. If you’d like me to explain this inevitable conclusion, I’d be happy to accomodate.

Viator says:

The Hoover Institution and Sarah Palin

Unless every housewife from Alaska needs a doctrine on the use of force I would say Sarah Palin signaled, once again, she’s “in it to win it”

The introduction of her “Palin Doctrine” came simultaneously with the official announcement that Hoover Institution Research Fellow Peter Schweizer is her new foreign policy adviser replacing Randy Scheunemann. Scheunemann left because he couldn’t meet the time commitments she required. Again raising a question – what time commitments? Part time help writing a few speeches or 24/7 for four years minimum.

This is the second Hoover Institution scholar possibly connected to Palin recently. The eminent economist and Senior Fellow John B. Taylor is is rumored to be an economic adviser.

I find this interesting since it seems to signal the venerable Hoover Institution, and it’s politics, may be where she turns for intellectual firepower and advisers. It also indicates that powerful forces are beginning to coalesce behind her something necessary and desirable.

A number of Senior Fellows at the Hoover Institution have for some time been writing positive defenses of Palin. For instance:

“I think Palin can speak, and reason, and navigate with bureaucrats and lawyers as well as can Obama; but he surely cannot understand hunters, and mechanics and carpenters like she can. And a Putin or a Chavez or a Wall-Street speculator that runs a leverage brokerage house is more a hunter than a professor or community organizer. Harvard Law School is not as valuable a touchstone to human nature as raising five children in Alaska while going toe-to-toe with pretty tough, hard-nose Alaskan males.” Victor Davis Hanson, Senior Fellow.

Jason M says:

The only good thing I can say about this group and those 20% conservative Jews is that at least no one can portray Jews as monolithically liberal, which would just fuel more right-wing populist conspiracies about Jews and the elite. (And I don’t know what kind of rock you must be living under if you think the extreme right isn’t anti-Semitic anymore)

The Tea Party is a populist movement, and populist movements can turn on a dime. They have historically never been good for Jews, or any minority, for that matter. I also look at the facts and am very much aware that the idea that Obama “threw Israel under the bus” is yet another nonsense right-wing meme that only seems to circulate among those who don’t have a firm grasp on what has actually taken place.

That said, for many other reasons, Palin has no chance at the White House in 2012; she is loathed even in her home state for being the fraud that she is. Her reality show did a good job at exposing more lies that she tells herself. Sadly enough, the lead candidate is Huckabee, who seems to be comparing every liberal initiative he doesn’t like to the Holocaust, and who opined recently, “Israel and the Jewish people need to make friends, not insult the ones they have.”

Palin had more experience as a leader than Obama had during his brief time in the Senate. Why did Palin have the highest approval rating of any governor until she came back from the election? Obviously she was doing something right. If you don’t agree with her politics, fine, but the people that have such raging hate for her and can’t admit that she was doing a good job have just bought into the smear campaign by Journolist and others to destroy her and elevate Obama….my advice is that you think for yourself and really read about what she knows and what she has done instead of just reading smear articles that perpetuate the lies and hate.

Beatrix says:

Of course the far right is antisemitic—where do you think the Nazis are? And you don’t even have to go that far right. If either Ron Paul or Rand Paul, right wingers, get nominated, good bye Israel.

But the left has not only turned against Israel and Jews, they’ve turned young Jews against their own heritage.

Though America has been the main backer for the peace talks, Egypt just stepped in and changed the players, the discussion and the outcome, and they never even notified Obama. He was busy capturing Osama, which is admirable, but not enough.

I was born into a great country and the left is destroying it.

benj says:

“Of course the far right is antisemitic—where do you think the Nazis are?”

Well – closer to the far left in fact or a mis of the two. The Nazis were the National-Socialist party. They were anti free market, anti-democracy, anti freedom, for the State to control everything. All things that describe the left, not the right.

shamsky24 says:

No need for you to explain your “conclusion,” Louie. It’s obvious that you’re either a blithering idiot or you’re just refusing to acknowledge the existence of any Republican presidents.

Lou Gutnicki says:

To Beatrix – I agree with last post for whatever it’s worth.
To Shamsky24 – I don’t agree with yours. Sue me.

Ellis Jayus says:

In my family,we have often discussed the merit of having someone smarter than we(are) in the Oval Office chair. In general, the GOP candidates have failed us on this account. Palin is smart, all right…smart like a fox but, alas, not smarter than 50% of Americans. Stick with the brains!

Lou Gutnicki says:

We saw the Palin distortion pattern at the end of last century. The “Trial of the Century” was not about facts and truth and reasonable questions about how facts actually played out. It was about distortion and fooling a jury to make them doubt overwhelming evidence. Team Obama has the Johnnie Cochran approach down pat. Distort, lie, use name calling, anything to turn a good woman into a farce. If you think that justice was served in the O.J. Simpson case, then you must love the left’s handling of Sarah Palin. Oh, Michelle Bachmann gets her share too. Misogyny anyone?

Beatrix says:

Lou, I’m glad you agree with me, you’re an independent thinker.

Benj, The Nazis were first and foremost fascists. They were far right. The term Socialist was popular at the time, but the Nazis were as far right as you can get.

The far left are the communists.

Think of the political spectrum as being circular, which it is, then you see that the far right and the far left are next to each other, which they are, not on opposing ends of the spectrum. But that doesn’t put all the bad guys on the left. The right has its share, too, and as bad as the communists are, the fascists have killed a lot more.

Lou Gutnicki says:

Hi Beatrix,
Not to argue, but killing scorecard needs to include:

Stalin: 20-60 Million depending on how you count
Mao: 40-70 Million “”
Hitler: 35 Million yadda, yadda

Arik says:

“Benj, The Nazis were first and foremost fascists”

And fascism comes from Socialism and the left. Mussolini was a former leader of the socialist party. The nazis were much closer to Communism and Socialism than anything else.

Lou Gutnicki says:

As far as this “who kills more – left or right?” – we’re all getting carried away with this, me included. Fact is we’re talking about extremists. Religion has them too. No? All of these are nut jobs so bent on being right that they need to kill to make their point.

Beatrix says:

I know about Hitler’s 40 million. I don’t know about Stalin and Mao’s 150 million?

Both the right and left have their extremists, but they’re not the same thing.

Briefly, fascism came from Mussolini’s Fascist Revolutionary Party (1915, 1919), and the belief survived Nazism, one form of fascism. Fascists believe in private enterprise, God, and an all powerful state that its subjects are beholden to, and because of this, they do not believe in class warfare. Big companies such as Krups and Volkswagen contributed to Hitler.

Communism, equally monolithic, believes in atheism, class warfare, and government control of the economy.

Lou Gutnicki says:

Note to self:
The ballot box is serious business. There is no better way that American Jews can help protect Israel. Not rifles, not rockets, but the right people in US elected office is vital for Israel’s defense.

The ballot box can’t be left to the vagaries of name calling and demonizing. Facts count. Everything else is moot.

Beatrix:

Are you trying not to get it?

Hitler was as big a socialist as there has ever been . He named his party the “NATIONAL SOCIALIST DEMOCRATIC PARTY” He was into “collective” manure. For example,”The people’s car” (that’s the volkswagen)
With the companies he was like Obama ,they were independent unless they they did not toe his line.

They believed in the same hooey the commies believe in.
Please stop trying to lump Sarah Palin in with facists . It is a tall lie..and completely in left field.

What is your game? Why would you do this? Please explain it to me.
How can you not know that Mao ,and Stalin killed over 100 million innocents,but you seem to know everything about Nazi’s?

Facist-communist ….same dirt pile.

For those of you who think Sarah is a woman capable of great things. Come read my blog. (click on my name)

Andrew G says:

Unbelievably offensive that so many posters here believe that any left-leaning Jew MUST be anti-Israel. Ridiculous.

As for Ms. Palin – I would venture to guess that before 2 ears ago she did not give a second though to Israel and would also guess that now she has very little grasp on the real issues and history. She sees the world through a very simplistic lens. The problems of the mid-east cannot be solved in 140 characters or less.

I don’t begrudge right-leaning Jews there point of view as I hope their positions are well thought out. We can agree to disagree. On issues of the security of Israel we will almost always agree. Let’s just not let OUR issues get hijacked by a bunch of American politicos who don’t have our best interests in mind – from either party.

Hersh Adlerstein says:

GEVALT! I never realized that there are so many ignorant Jews, both seemingly rightwing and leftist, until I read through these comments. Let’s be clear, the teabsaggers are not exactly friends of American Jews and being a friend of Israel is not worth much if at the same time, like the Pauls, you argue against US foreign aid for Israel. If you want to dislike Obama or Palin (or both) go ahead, but realize that as Americans you cannot turn those politicos you find disagreeable into monsters. Those who may understand Yiddish should remember the phrase DERECH ERETZ, not throw mean and ugly slurs at our president.

Beatrix says:

Rock, I not only know about the Nazis, I lived through WW2. The fascists were on the RIGHT1

The left, the Communists, were on our side, and our country was led by FDR, a liberal President. The left had not become the bad guys, yet.

The Nazis put the word Socialist in their title, but they arrested and killed Communists and actual Socialists as fervently as they did the Jews. Their beliefs, as they themselves stated, were fascist and came from the Italian fascist Mussolini, who was an ally of Hitler. (Initially, Italy fought with the Nazis).

Hitler and Tojo were responsible for WW2, and that accounted for the 40 million deaths ascribed to Germany and Japan (and for part of the war, Italy). They had a WORLD WAR! The Nazis that the Communists killed are included in that figure.

How do you account for the 100-200 million deaths you ascribe to the Communists?

I’m not an apologist for the right or the left (I’m an Independent) but I am a history buff.

Beatrix says:

Rock:

And I never insulted Sarah Palin or called her a fascist. In fact in an earlier post on this blog, I say she’s friendly to Israel. I’ve never called any American politician on the right a fascist. All I said was that if either Paul wins the Presidency, good bye Israel.

And I’ve never called anyone on the left a Communist. That wore thin with McCarthy, whom I also remember.

Beatrix says:

Rock, I finally read your blog and you’re just a damned propagandist. You’re not going to win Jews over to your candidate by trying to ignore WW2 and pretend that the right has no sins on their side, that all the sins belong to the left.

Extremists on both side caused grief for the world. And the right-winged Nazi Hitler killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

Never in a million years would I have associated the danger of the right-wing, fascist Nazis with the American right, any more than I consider the left-wing Obama to be a Communist.

But trying to whitewash Hitler in order to impose your candidate on us, makes you dangerous, and makes me very suspicious of Palin.

Beatrix says:

Arik:

Mussolini may have been a lefty when he was younger, but he became a fascist, which is RIGHT wing. Reagan, whom I liked, was a liberal when he was younger, but he was a very conservative, right-wing, Republican President.

People change.

To those who equate socialism with fascism and lump all those who have qualms about Palin as “the Left,” I respectfully suggest that these terms may no longer be so useful. The real conflict is between those who believe in a nurturing parent and those who believe in a stern patriarch as the best model for leadership; between those who hold that American democracy is based on the values of mutual responsibility and empathy and the belief that government should protect and empower its citizens, and those who believe in obedience to authority and social Darwinism (though not Darwinian evolution). No amount of “rational” debate will change anyone’s mind. What’s at play here are narratives and metaphors deeply embedded in our very nervous systems. I’m paraphrasing George Lakoff whose book “the Political Mind” should be required reading for all progressives. He shows how conservatives have been using narratives so brilliantly for a while now, and how progressives have allowed them to set the frames. In this way, conservative Jews frame the discussion within the David and Goliath narrative of small and vulnerable Israel alone against a hostile and powerful enemy or within a particular Holocaust narrative in which Jews are abandoned by the entire non-Jewish world to perish. There’s some truth in both examples or they’d have no power to move anyone. But there are equally potent and truthful counter narratives: The cultural and or Socialist Zionist stories, The Jewish-Bundist immigrant story, all of which contain the values of egalitarianism, community and interdependence with other “tribes” for example. Jewish conservatives are selling a narrative in which the great and wise tradition of engaged Jewish humanism which has contributed so much to the world is seen as an aberration, and the only worthy course is a “return” to the “correct” values of patriarchal authority, distrust of “others” and strength of arms.

Beatrix says:

Corey:

I called myself Independent because I share values and beliefs with the right and the left. But Rock’s propagandistic screed heavy-handedly trying to win people over to Palin (and using me to do it) scared and appalled me.

And so, I’ll read your book with a open mind and profound suspicions.

ALOHA:…. It is sick that any jew would support sarah palin and her right-wing, christian, tea-party republican politics! American Jews are “liberal” and/or “progressive” because we are educated, intelligent, and understand the direction of humanity needs to go. I will not get into criticizing Israel’s internal politics and policies toward the palestinians living on the west bank; however, if I were living under an occupying force, I may be as radical as some of them. It is time for the likud and right-wing Israelis to accept the rights of the palestinians to rule, control and govern their own lands… i felt this in ’77-’78 when i visited syria, jordan, lebanon, egypt, israel and the west bank. and i KNOW of the radical, extremist elements within the arab community; i was told to my fact that the person i was speaking with wanted to kill every jew…. he had NO IDEA that i was indeed jewish; only thought i was an american!!…. SO, what will happen i have no idea; however, israel has missed numerous opportunities to work with the moderate elements of the palestinian and arab communities. and yes, hamas and other radical elements want to destroy israel; today, germany and japan are close allies of the united states; and we have relations with vietnam… times change… and OF COURSE, saudi arabia, and other wealthy arab nations, have done NOTHING for the “palestinian refugees” and THEY, the saudi’s, are “allies” of the united states. NOTHING will be easy; but having a continuous stream of extremist right-wing israeli governments has also not helped. and the world IS turning against israel because of the lack of concessions; deal with the radical/extremist elements of the arab community, but do NOT treat ALL ARABS the same; they are human and want the same things for their families. and every time an arab child is killed or a home destroyed or land seized, more radical palestinians are created! aloha from an island state whose country was SEIZED by the USA!

Beatrix says:

Abbas wants peace, but does not have the popularity to undo the war-like scenario of Arafat. He knows the concessions he has to make, (like giving up the right of return) but if his people know, they might kill him, like Sadat.

If the right wing Israelis know that they have to relinquish half of Jerusalem, which Netanyahu knows, they might kill him, like Rabin.

Most Israeli regimes have been left to center, not right wing. The burden is not just on Israel.

If Obama can’t get two willing but leery partners into a peace agreement, he will never win me over.

Lou Gutnicki says:

To Nikhilanda,
Respectfully, when did it become “sick” for an American to support a main stream politician? As you may know, Sarah Palin was the Vice Presidential candidate on the Republican ticket on 2008. There are two, count them, two, major parties in the United States. One of those is the Democrat party, as you have probably learned by now, and, of course, the other is the Republican party. It is the great privilege in a Democracy to vote, and, yes, support politicians of our choice.

So, Nikhilinda, many people have done reasoned analysis and don’t agree with many of the points you make, which in fact are not supported by analysis. Furthermore, from your comments I sense a great deal of guilt that radical groups have hoisted on you. I understand that this may be difficult for you to deal with, but the best suggestion I can give you is to truthfully discuss issues, relevant issues. Flinging meaningless, abusive statements like “continuous stream of extremist right-wing Israeli governments” at others and yourself, for that matter, will not help you reach a true understanding of really what’s at stake here…
Firstly, we all want peace for everyone. War is the option of last resort. You will find this as article 5 of the Palin Doctrine: http://iowans4palin.blogspot.com/2011/05/palin-doctrine.html
Secondly, Israel’s security is vitally important. Sarah has espoused this principle so many times even as Governor of Alaska. This is why so many Jews find her to be the most important politician.
Thirdly, the “real” needs of the people in the West Bank and Gaza must be considered. The Netanyahu government and Sarah Palin are in accord in this matter. Many American Jews do respect this position. Other Jews unfortunately seem to have been charmed by the Islamists who call Israel an apartheid nation. I feel sorry for them.

benj says:

Beatrix,

Fascism and Nazism have more to do with the traditional european left than with the Conservative free-market Right. In fact, they are the complete opposite of it. You can’t be farther from fascism than a conservative free-marketer.
Fascism and Nazism closest ideology is communism. That’s why they hated each other so much, because they were twins.
The fact that you don’t know that communism did murder over 100 millions people is a shame on you and your education. Lenin murdered a few million people, Stalin much more, Mao the most, not including Pol Pot in Kambodia who genocided a quarter of his own people in a few years in the name of communism.

Beatrix says:

benjy:

Nazis are the extreme right and Communists are the extreme left, and yes, they are more like each other than the more moderate beliefs because as I said, the political spectrum is circular and the extreme right and extreme left are not polar opposites, they are next to each other.

Since we still have Communists and Nazis, they can’t be dismissed, although they seem to be fading just as Europe’s importance is, and they’re replaced by other extremist beliefs. But it’s stupid to ignore their impact on the history of the world because a lot of us infected by these two has-been beliefs are still here and to ignore their lessons makes it more difficult to deal with current extremist beliefs.

I’m not unaware of the horrors of Communism, and their multiple deaths, but I’ve seen historical agreement on the carnage of Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini. If there is an equally respected source for your figures, by all means tell me. I’m not trying to be an apologist for either side, but I am interested in historical accuracy.

Beatrix says:

Lou:

I’m probably one of the few people posting here who actually voted for Sarah. When Hillary lost the nomination for President, I settled for a female Vice President and voted for McCain and Palin.

Though I no longer support her for President, I’m not opposed to her, only to that fool, Rock, who tried to force her down our throats and misrepresented my viewpoint in order to do it.

She’s just another candidate and since I haven’t made up my mind yet, and I’m an Independent, I could go back to her.

Lou Gutnicki says:

Beatrix:

With respect to you 12:11 PM comment, I strongly believe that perople SHOULD NOT VOTE for a candidate based on, gender, race, or even party, for that matter.
Issues count. Everything else is BS.

Even though I have always voted for Republicans in presidential elections (because I feel that Republicans share my world view), I did vote for Bill Clinton in 1992 because I had it on “reliable” private information that he would pardon Johnathan Pollard. At the time this was my top issue, so I was willing to set aside my concerns on handling the economy and social issues.

Issues count. Everything else is BS.

Beatrix says:

Lou:

My issue was that I wanted a female President and I thought and still think Hillary was qualified. (I don’t think she’ll run again).

I still want a qualified female President, but do not think Bachmann and Palin are qualified.

I’ve always liked McCain and trusted his vetting process where Sarah was
concerned. I realize now that was a mistake. As an Independent, I’ve voted for people I’ve considered qualified in both parties.

But thank you for the advice.

claves curiae says:

This is the first time I’ve read the comments on an article in The Tablet.
It’s also the last time. The partisan sniping is truly pitiful. Very sad indeed.

Beatrix says:

Well, it is a political article claves, and politics is partisan, especially with an election coming up next year.

I haven’t seen an article Tablet has printed that’s gotten this much response before, and I haven’t seen an election this controversial since the one between Obama and Hillary.

For the democrats, having the first serious black and female candidates was a big deal. Both Bachmann and Palin are serious Republican candidates, and the Republicans seem to be taking them in stride.

There also seems to be a difference in the way people born since the cold war view the political system from those born before the cold war.

Lou Gutnicki says:

The Right of Return issue was settled on April 14, 2004 ..

http://www.defensibleborders.org/apx2.htm – this is the commitment promised by President Bush that Palestinian refugees DO NOT have the “right of return”. In exchange for this guarantee and the guarantee that Israel “will retain its right to defend itself against terrorism, including to take actions against terrorist organizations”, Ariel Sharon withdrew from Gaza unilaterally. Sharon, ever the general, made Israel’s most important political decision along military lines – give up a small piece of land and, yes, uproot 8000 settlers in exchange for the strategic position to protect Israel’s Jewish demographic.

Barack Obama was nowhere on the political radar in 2004. He was just a little known Illinois state senator and posed no strategic threat then. There are thousands of loud-mouthed politicians like Obama around. Israel and probably no other country has the resources to play what-if to assess the threat from every minor politician. If this scenario played out in 2006, the Gaza withdrawal wouldn’t have happened. Yeah, Israel is that good. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be around.

To finish the thought, why wouldn’t Gaza have happened? You see, Barack Obama is reneging on the April 14, 2004 agreement and worse. He does not respect the oath of office that he took. Legally, a President is bound to the treaties made by previous administrations. Barack Obama cannot be trusted at all. He must not have a second term.

Arik says:

“I’m not unaware of the horrors of Communism, and their multiple deaths, but I’ve seen historical agreement on the carnage of Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini. If there is an equally respected source for your figures, by all means tell me”

Is this a joke ? Go back to school or open history books. If you don’t know things like that you can’t be taken seriously.

Beatrix says:

Oh, Arik, I have never stopped learning. If you have something to teach me then give me your sources even if its one of your little textbooks.

Beatrix says:

Lou:

Pols think Jews all vote the same, but our differences are apparent on this blog. You’ve been a Republican for a long time, and I’ve been an Independent for a long time, and hopefully there are many more of us not walking in lockstep to the liberal Democratic tune.

When Al-Jazeera printed their articles about the peace treaty, they quoted Abbas as saying that the “right of return” wasn’t realistic. Abbas made other concessions, too, but his people were so upset, he had to deny this.

Abbas also said that making the cessation of settlement building a pre-condition, which killed the peace talks, was Obama’s idea. Maybe killing OBL will make Obama a more forceful leader and a better peace negotiator.

Beatrix says:

I said “peace treaty,” which was a Freudian slip. I meant peace negotiations. There is no treaty between Israel and Palestine.

Lou Gutnicki says:

Beatrix,

Some time ago, must have been in the 90’s, I used to believe that “peace” between Israel and the so-called palestinians was a possibility. I thought just talk nicely and try to understand one another. I was a big optimist. In many ways, I still am. I believe that ordinary really want to get along, but we have a real problem here. The Arab leadership, whether Abbas or the Mid Eastern block in the UN are hell bent on the destruction of the “Zionist entity”. They don’t want peace, otherwise the so-called palestinians would have accepted Ehud Barak’s offer in 2000. He offered everything they wanted and more.

As I explained in a previous post “right of return” is a done deal, or was a done deal in 2004. It cost us Gaza. Now with Obama, nothing is certain. You can trust him as far as you can throw him.

Oh yeah, settlements. The permanent settlement guarantee was also part of the 2004 agreement by President Bush.

Obama as a leader of peace is laughable. Obama has done everything he can to destroy Israel. Mubarak’s ouster by Obama knocked out the Camp David accords, the treaty between Israel and Egypt. Obama’s move also opened Gaza to an influx of weapons and terrorists from Egypt. You know where Obama can go. We got to watch our backs big time. I believe that Sarah Palin is the only politician who truly understands the welt dynamics facing Israel. She can, yes she can really begin to calm the Middle East from strength and determination.

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