- Text smaller
- Text bigger
PHILADELPHIA – A group of Jewish activists and academics will mark the state of Israel’s independence day Sunday with a declaration of political independence of their own by launching a grass-roots movement of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.
President Obama’s growing rift with Israel is sparking powerful emotions in the American Jewish community and could have an electoral impact both this year and in 2012. Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin hopes to accelerate that trend.
“We have long admired Gov. Palin for her thoughtful positions on a range of issues, such as fiscal responsibility, health care, energy independence and against Islamic terrorism, not to mention her wonderful charisma and her role model as a highly successful working mom,” Benyamin Korn, the group’s founder and its website’s editor, told WND.
“But the ugly fight that Obama has picked with Israel is stirring American Jews to action,” Korn said, “and Gov. Palin has emerged, by far, as the president’s most effective public critic.”
“This is especially true because Obama had campaigned in 2008 as a great friend of the Jewish state,” Korn said.
Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin has issued a statement, “A Declaration of Jewish Independence, by Jewish Independents,” which is posted on their website.
“It’s really a call for Jews to become independent of this horrible administration,” Korn said.
The statement proposes that in view of “the Obama administration’s tilt against Israel, its tacit acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran and its weak approach to combating Islamic terrorism,” the time has come for American Jews to “declare independence from President Barack Obama.”
Korn emphasizes that JewsForSarah.com is not connected to Gov. Palin, nor is it specifically endorsing her for any political office. The group’s mission statement says it is “dedicated to promoting consideration of Gov. Sarah Palin’s political positions in the wider American Jewish community.”
Ms. Palin’s domestic- and foreign-policy positions are “serious, substantive and politically mainstream,” the statement says. “Gov. Palin’s ongoing contribution to the public discourse in America is welcome.”
The advisory board of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin includes Prof. Nathan Katz, a scholar of Hindu-Jewish relations at Florida International University; Prof. Nahum Duker, professor of pathology at Temple University; and prominent Philadelphia physician Steven Allon.
Korn compares Palin to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
“Thatcher and Reagan were initially dismissed, even by some of their fellow conservatives, as amateurs and simpletons,” Korn told WND.
“They proved their detractors wrong by leading the free world to a nonviolent victory over the Soviet Union and restoring the economic health of their respective countries. Sarah Palin, too, is badly underestimated by the pundits. She is already one of America’s most thoughtful and exciting political figures.”
In a recent article, Commentary magazine editor Norman Podhoretz endorsed Palin and recounted that he had endured considerable derision from fellow conservatives for his early support for Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. They soon changed their tunes.
Podhoretz, in his article last month, became one of the first prominent Jewish intellectuals to praise Palin.
“I would rather have the tea party running the country than the Democratic Party and would rather see Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama,” he wrote.
Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, another prominent Jewish conservative, has also given positive coverage to Palin.
Obama’s intense pressure on Israel is provoking protests from several prominent Jewish liberals and centrists. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat who campaigned for Obama in 2008, was a guest last week on senior WND reporter Aaron Klein’s WABC radio show, where he slammed the U.S. leader’s recent treatment of Israel as “outrageous” and “hostile,” declaring he is “close” to “getting off the Obama train.”
On Thursday, the president of the World Jewish Congress, former U.S. ambassador Ronald Lauder, published full-page “open letters” in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal to protest Obama’s Israel policy. Lauder suggested that Obama is trying to force Israel back to the “indefensible” borders prior to the 1967 war. Within those borders, Israel was about nine miles wide at its midsection.
Another prominent Jewish leader, Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a speech in New Jersey earlier this month that the new U.S. policy toward Israel could prompt Jews to organize a “march on Washington” to protest.
Korn points out that in contrast to Obama’s “disgraceful treatment” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palin has exhibited “heartfelt and unflinching support for America-Israel friendship.”
This “reflects the true spirit of the American people, among whom love and respect for the Jewish state has never faltered,” Korn said.
Korn himself is a product of the Jewish liberal world.
JewsForSarah.com describes Korn, tongue-in-cheek, as a “Jewish community organizer.” He is a veteran editor of Jewish newspapers in Miami and Philadelphia, who also served as national executive director of the Zionist Organization of America.
He is the son of the late Bertram W. Korn, a leading Reform rabbi, Civil War historian and rear admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve. The younger Korn, an alumnus of a Quaker school and one-time left-wing campus activist, earned a master’s in International Relations from Nehru University in New Delhi, India, and at one time taught pan-African studies at Temple University. Since the mid-1980s, he has publicly identified as an Israel activist and as an Orthodox Jew.