Is Palin Alienating Israel’s GOP Friends?

Sarah Palin is visiting Israel, a move which normally helps GOP candidates. But as my latest CNN column points out, by ignoring the Republican Jewish Coalition she may be writing off an opportunity to broaden her support.

 By David Frum

It’s tough for a Republican politician to lose friends by visiting Israel. Yet Sarah Palin is in danger of doing so.

The former GOP vice presidential candidate arrived in Israel Sunday for a two-day visit.

Ben Smith in Politico reports that the trip was booked through a Christian tour operator. But the real news is who did not book the trip: the Republican Jewish Coalition, the group that brought George W. Bush to Israel in 1998, Mitt Romney in 2007, Haley Barbour in 2011, and many other presidential hopefuls beside.

Very likely you have never heard of the Republican Jewish Coalition. But then again, you probably are not seeking the Republican presidential nomination. If you were seeking the nomination, the RJC is one of the groups whose support you would certainly want.

Joining an RJC Israel tour is a well-established ritual in gaining the support of the RJC’s board and the group’s 40,000 activist members.

The RJC’s board of directors includes four people who have served as national finance chairs for the Republican Party — the party’s “fundraiser-in-chief.” Eight board members have run major donor groups within the GOP and 18 members served as state finance chairs for George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. It also includes some less distinguished figures — me, for example.

The RJC local chapters are active in almost every state. Jewish Republicans may seem a minority of a minority, but the local chapters contain disproportionate numbers of local Republican activists — the kind of people who make a difference in a state primary.

The RJC played an especially important role in 2008, the election in which Palin burst onto the national stage — a very unpromising year for the GOP. Barack Obama out-raised John McCain in an election in which many of the party’s usual donors stayed on the sidelines. Yet RJC members continued to fundraise for McCain-Palin, like the last guy to hold the pass, outnumbered and outgunned.

Most Republican presidential aspirants consider the RJC a group whose support is very much worth having. Which is why virtually every major and long-shot Republican candidate except Palin has addressed an RJC meeting: Romney often, Newt Gingrich often, Tim Pawlenty often. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is stopping by the group’s April Las Vegas meeting … just in case.

Obviously the RJC has no monopoly on Israel visitation rights. Mike Huckabee for example has organized his own trips. But Huckabee has been to Israel more than 15 times, he knows the country and its leadership intimately, and hardly requires any introduction from anybody.

But with somebody like Palin making a first visit — dealing with important geopolitical sensitivities — and trying to make a positive impression on American friends of Israel — the design of a trip carries special significance.

Over the months since November 2008, the RJC had repeatedly offered to organize an Israel tour for Palin. They have repeatedly invited Palin to speak at their meetings. As a member of the RJC board, I know that Palin’s team engaged in extended conversations about these invitations. Yet they were abruptly shelved. The RJC organization learned that its invitation would not be accepted the same way everybody else did: by reading the newspaper.

Why? We cannot know for certain. But we do know this: Some members of the RJC board — including me, and one or two others — have publicly said critical things about Palin.

The seeming result: Palin decided the RJC was dead to her.

Which is of course her prerogative.

But normally candidates are in the business of adding to the number of their friends — including converting former non-friends into new friends. Candidates seek to broaden their basis of support. They are more interested in future successes than in past irritations.

Successful candidates are strategic. They may hold grudges, but they do not reveal their grudges. And they do not act on their grudges against their own best interests.

Read More


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Syrin
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 17:08:20

    United States, Virginia, Stafford,
    MSIE 8.0 (Cookie: No, Java: No)
    Path:16:38:26 —…-israel%e2%80%99s-gop-friends/

    I thought it was interesting..


  2. WakeUpAmerica
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 17:24:05

    The dimwit has stuck her self-destructive foot in her mouth so often that she probably has a Nike imprint there (or maybe Naughty Monkeys).


  3. Al Larabee
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 18:14:23

    Perhaps she did ask them to plan the trip and was turned down. I really wonder since Sarah does nothing in the normal accepted way of the rest of society.


    • AFM
      Mar 21, 2011 @ 19:04:40

      If you plan on running for the highest office you better get with the program and not be a damn maverick. It’s called PROTOCAL. If she doesn’t get it by now she isn’t worth a damn. How in the world can you go to the holiest site and turn around and not go. What was she afraid of? She talks big but she is a mouse.


  4. majii
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 18:17:24

    “Why? We cannot know for certain. But we do know this: Some members of the RJC board — including me, and one or two others — have publicly said critical things about Palin.”

    “The seeming result: Palin decided the RJC was dead to her.”

    IMO, this is another example of Palin’s thin skin. IIRC, it was reported in the media that she said she wouldn’t expose herself to media criticism when she was in India. That her favored modes of communication are FB and Twitter also signals that she can dish out criticism to others, but she can’t deal with criticism directed AT her.


  5. AKRNC
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 00:39:00

    I think Palin believes she can do what she wants, avoid debates, as she did with many during the gubernatorial campaign in 2006 and basically not listen to anyone unless they are willing to kiss her ass.

    Her enormous ego is getting the better of her to the point where she may have a difficult time obtaining any decent sized donors as talk of her past and current behavior becomes more well known. Why would someone waste money on her when she’s going to do what she wants, everyone else be damned? Also, having fired two people and hiring one to replace them doesn’t sound like she’s getting ready to run for anything.

    Is her ego so badly overinflated that she believes she can just jump in after all the debates and say, “here I am!” and avoid a lot of campaigning?! I think so! She obviously reads the negative articles about herself but I’m sure she laps up the positive ones repeatedly thinking they far outweigh the negative.

    She doesn’t think she needs the backing of the GOP or the RJC, let’s see who she alienates next? FOX? I know her fans are very unhappy with them. They want to see Bill O’Reilly called out for daring to question Palin. It won’t happen as he’s far more valuable but Palin doesn’t see it that way. I think that studio in her home went to her head, believing she was necessary for Fox. Hell, they were saving on travel expenses! Also, maybe after meeting her and being around her, they decided having her further away was better for all involved.


    • FEDUP!!!
      Mar 22, 2011 @ 11:01:24

      Well, somehow, wherever she goes, her PR firm (?) has planted her ‘biography’, and the foreign media just seem to lap it up, no further questions asked. (Case in point: Look at the intro that was posted on that India site (not the intro she got from the group leader, though – THAT was a riot! ) …)


  6. Diane
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 03:09:20

    Why would you support republicans?
    WHy would Jews support a political right wing entity that is friendly with a country only for it’s end time , not because it really really cares about it’s people?
    These right wing evangelicals on;y care about Jews because they believe that only a Jewish state can fulfill an end times prophecy. They want to destroy the Jewish faith by converting Jews to Christianity.

    Why would Jews support that?

    palin believes she is ‘special’ and will never do things the accepted way ie, finishing an elected position, studying to learn what she doesn’t know that is important, on and on.
    She doesn’t believe the rules apply to her. She has said this many times and this will be her downfall, her arrogance.


  7. akbatwoman
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 10:46:56

    I thought she must just have been unaware……….but if she had been talking with the RJC in 2008, then she’s just dumb and biting off her nose to spite her face.

    I think that I’m being proven right though. She definitely seems to be planning on running for prez. Just because she isn’t ‘doing it right’, doesn’t mean she isn’t doing it.

    In hindsight she should have finished her term, then prepared for a campaign. Instead, I think she over-saturated the market and now has no hope. But then again, the millions she made will probably be an excellent consolation prize.


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