Monday, March 21, 2011

Sarah Palin Visits Israel

Sarah Palin in Savannah, Georgia, Dec 1, 2008 ...Image via Wikipedia

On Sunday, March 20, Sarah Palin and her husband Todd landed in Israel. Wearing a large Star of David around her neck, she prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, then spent two hours with guides in the Western Wall tunnel. Palin told her guides that she had flags of Israel "on my desk, in my home, all over the place".

What draws Palin and others to Israel, including Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour last month, and Mitt Romney in January? For the former Alaska governor, the trip offers a chance to distinguish herself as more pro-Israel than other American politicians and, perhaps, to make amends for her "blood libel" gaffe in January that angered many Jews. She expected to distance herself from the position of some fellow Tea Partiers—chiefly Congressman Rand Paul—in favor of cutting aid to Israel. Another reason is a chance to curry favor with a much larger constituency that follows the events in Israel no less fervently than Jews: Christian evangelicals. The evangelical community in America numbers tens of millions and votes overwhelmingly Republican. Finally, of course, there’s the matter of fundraising. While most Jews are liberal, many wealthy Jews support Republicans.

Dan Ephron, Newsweek’s Jerusalem bureau chief, reports the following:
For Palin, of course, Israel also offers a chance to burnish her famously weak foreign policy credentials. Palin traveled to Israel from India, where she gave a paid speech and warned about the rise of China—a matter that is certainly important to Americans. But the issues that Israel embodies—grappling with terrorism, relations with the Arab world, the potential for conflict with Iran—are the most burning foreign policy questions candidates will be addressing in the run-up to the 2012 race.
I didn't see the press coverage on the other GOP hopeful's visits to Israel, but as usual Palin got tons of free publicity and maybe a few contributions from rich donors. Way to go Aunt Sarah.

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