In Commentary, Jennifer Rubin attempted to explain why The Jews hate Sarah Palin. (Because they hate Real Americans, is basically her answer.) David Frum rebuts: she is just scary to everyone! Both leave out one hugely important detail.
(most of which is behind a paywall, so if David Frum has severely misstated it, we apologize!) (found in its entirety here) is basically that American Jews dislike Palin because of all of her bullshit rural working-class signifiers: large family, no formal education, folksy, hunting, etc. Jews, per Rubin, hate that stuff. Jews would not dream of being waitresses(!?). Also Jews love aborting retarded babies.
Pro-life Americans saw Palin's son Trig, born with Down syndrome in April 2008, as an affirmation of Palin's deeply held beliefs, a rare instance in which a politician did more than mouth platitudes about a "culture of life." But in affluent communities with large Jewish populations, Down-syndrome children are now largely absent due to the widespread use of diagnostic testing and "genetics counseling." Trig was not a selling point with many Jewish women who couldn't imagine making a similar choice-indeed, many have, in fact, made the opposite one.
This strikes us as fairly reductive and inflammatory! Like basically Jews are all urban cosmopolitan elites sneering at stupid hard-working Christians, and all that? Ok, Commentary! If you say so!
Frum's response covers most of that weirdness, and he explains, patiently, to Rubin, that Palin did not come from hardscrabble poverty, but was in actuality middle class and comfortable. And he explains that maybe what Jews resent about Palin is that she is proudly
dumb intellectually incurious. And what they are maybe scared of is her tendency to speak of a Real America and Real Americans, in contrast to those scary coastal elites.
More than any politician in memory, Palin seems to divide her fellow-Americans into first class and second class citizens, real Americans and not-so-real Americans. To do her justice, she has never said anything to suggest that Jews as Jews fall into the second, less-real, class. But Jews do tend to have an intuition that when this sort of line-drawing is done, we are likely to find ourselves on the wrong side.
Ed Koch of all people captured this discomfort when he unexpectedly endorsed Barack Obama, because Palin scared the shit out of him. It was the attempted book-banning—not the wolf-hunting—that did it.
But weirdly neither author mentions the Really Big Thing that could've scared Jewish voters: her fucking crazy church. Her church that invited the Jews for Jesus to come around to explain that the Jews had been persecuted for centuries because they didn't acknowledge the divinity of Jesus. And then her pastor collected donations for the group. And he said:
"Father, that comes full circle and we wish to extend your grace back to your people. And we pray and we ask that as a result of this time here, and as a result of this offering, there will be people among the Jews today who come to say the name ‘Jesus' with faith."
So, yeah. That is maybe a bigger dealbreaker than the waitressing job. Maybe!
And this was before Palin weirdly decided to quote crazy-ass antisemite Westbook Pegler in her fucking convention speech. (The Pegler line, by the way, was most likely borrowed from a Pat Buchanan book.) And before a photo was unearthed of Palin with a copy of the official magazine of the antisemitic John Birch Society on her desk.
Once again, all of these strike us as better reasons for Jews to be wary of Palin than the fact that she did not abort her special needs baby. But what do we know? Unlike these two, we are not contributors to Commentary!