The disclosure that last month Governor Palin's church hosted the executive director of Jews for Jesus, who told congregants that violence against Israeli Jews is God's punishment for their failure to accept Jesus, is going to be the next club that Mrs. Palin's leftist critics pick up against her. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency quotes Mrs. Palin's pastor at Wasilla Bible Church, Larry Kroon, as saying that he doesn't believe Jews for Jesus are deceptive. "Look at Paul and Peter and the others - they were Jews and believed in Jesus as the messiah," he told JTA. "There's gentile believers and there's Jewish believers that acknowledge Jesus as messiah. There's Swedish believers."They go on to half-assedly defend Palin by mentioning Jeremiah Wright and how there's no "religious test" for the presidency, but the Jews For Jesus are far outside the mainstream even for practicing evangelicals.
We think the conventional wisdom, now, is that Sarah Palin is a cynical appeal not to Hillary voters but to the Republican "base," which means religious white people. It's a last-ditch effort to win just one more with George W. Bush's coalition, not to bring in those moderates John McCain supposedly appeals to most. But here's the risk: the old, conservative Jewish vote McCain's had in the bag since day one? They might not like this lady so much. As you can see in this clip (attached below), even Ben Stein—the Nixon speechwriter so happy to pretend to be something other than an educated East Coast elitist that he'll hop in bed with creationists—is insulted and shocked by the Palin pick. This is just the beginning. The New York Sun, that probably doomed organ of intellectual Zionist conservatism, seemingly also can't quite believe this selection. Allow them to tell you about Sarah Palin's grand plans for The Jews!
Jewish Defense League Anti-Defamation League [I do know the difference! Whoops!] head Abe Foxman is pretending it's not a big deal by invoking the Spanish Inquisition (done by Catholics, not Protestants!) but his own organization has a longer, richer history of warning people about the deceptive and offensive tactics of the Jews for Jesus. Sarah Palin's Jews for Jesus setting up shop in Wasilla, Alaska almost reminds us of Michael Chabon's charming The Yiddish Policeman's Union, his detective novel set in an alternate universe in which Americans settled Jewish WWII refugees in Alaska and Israel died before it was born. The incongruous idea of a Jewish settlement in far-off Sitka gives the book much of its uneasy atmosphere, especially in the mentions of the current fictional President of the US, an evangelical Christian promising to finally kick those Jews out of the pristine frontier, "pledging to restore Alaska for Alaskans, wild and clean." The Democrats more or less handed Florida over to the Republicans when they selected (sorry, we'll say it) a black man without a rich history of pro-Israel hawkishness (even though he saw the light and came around pretty damn quick). This, though, might actually put it back in play. Hey, here's Ben "Sure, God made the world in 7 days, where's that paycheck" Stein: