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September 18, 2008
Palin 'Disinvited' From anti-Iran Rally (updated)
Organizers of a rally to protest the policies of Iran toward Israel and the west have disinvited Sarah Palin from the event: The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations created a political tempest by inviting Palin to speak without clearing her invitation with another speaker, Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton promptly dropped out of the event, saying it would be seen as unduly political. The McCain campaign then pressed Senator Barack Obama to join Palin on the stage in a show of unity against Iran. The Obama campaign in turn offered to send Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida -- who had harshly attacked Palin for slender ties to Pat Buchanan-- to the event. But the appearance that the non-partisan group was aligning with the Republican ticket put the group and its president, Malcolm Hoenlein, under heavy pressure from Jewish Democrats, including members of the conference, members of Congress, and the liberal group J Street, not to give Palin a platform, sources said. Hoenlein told the McCain campaign that he would have to rescind Palin's invitation or cancel the rally.
The organizers, I'm told, have formally disinvited all elected and political officials, but the move was about Palin.
I think this is the wrong decision on several levels. The fact is, this event is going to be "political" even without politicians there so it is a sham to disnivite anybody for that reason.
Secondly, this is being done to accommodate the Democrats who don't want to be seen taking a strong stand against Iran. All it does is highlight Obama's "no conditions" pledge - something the campaign has tried to bury (and with the help of the press, they have been largely successful). Obama can't very well go crawling to Ahmadinejad if he or one of his surrogates attends a rally where the emphasis will be on stopping Iran (most will add "by any means necessary).
But then, it's all about Hillary, isn't it? If she had put aside her pride at not being the star of the show and gone to share the stage with Palin, none of this would have been necessary, would it?
Even without the politicians, I hope they have a successful rally with a large attendance.
Update: Ethel Fenig adds:
Jennifer Rubin of Commentary has more on the disgraceful pressure the Democratic party in general and the National Jewish Democratic Council in particular exerted on the non partisan Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, forcing the latter to retract an invitation to Republican vice presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin to appear at their planned rally protesting Iranian President Ahmadinejad's appearance at the UN.
The Conference had also invited Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to speak; the UN is located in the state she represents in the Senate. But Clinton refused to share a non or bi partisan event with Palin.
So the Conference
has learned that Joe Biden was invited to the event in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s refusal to appear on the same stage as Palin — and he declined. In an e-mail to me, Biden spokesman David Wade said that “we’ve had longstanding commitment to speak at National Guard Convention on Monday in Maryland.
After that, the decision was made to disinvite Palin.
Rubin then asks
Was Hoenlein put in this position because of a decision by the Obama team and its supporters to treat Sarah Palin as though she were not a legitimate political figure with whom major Democratic politicians can or should share the stage.
Good question. If the answer is yes--and it probably is--this selfish decision further demonstrates the contempt the Democrats have for the causes Jews and other people of goodwill deem important.
In the meantime, John McCain's representatives issued a statement in his name emphasizing the importance he places on non partisanship on vital matters.
I have sought to rise above partisanship on critical national issues. Nowhere is this more true than on important matters of national security. Earlier this year, Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and I issued a joint statement on the genocide in Darfur and pledged to support efforts to bring it to an end. Earlier this month, Senator Obama and I put the campaign aside to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country and talk about the importance of national service.
Next Monday, the day before Iranian President Ahmadinejad is to speak before the United Nations General Assembly, several organizations will sponsor an event to draw attention to the importance of halting Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Governor Palin and I share a strong belief that a nuclear armed Iran poses a grave threat to the security of Americans and to our allies. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. The risk that Iran would provide terrorists with a nuclear weapon is too great for the world to ignore. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust occurred and called Israel a ’stinking corpse.’ A nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the entire region.
Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons should be a shared goal of every American, not another occasion for partisan posturing.
Governor Palin was pleased to accept an invitation to address this rally and show her resolve on this grave national security issue, regrettably that invitation has since been withdrawn under pressure from Democratic partisans. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to oppose Ahmadinejad’s goal of a nuclear armed Iran. Senator Obama’s campaign had the opportunity to join us. Senator Obama chose politics rather than the national interest.
As Rubin concludes
We haven’t heard the end of this story.
In the meantime Ahmadinejad still promises to destroy Israel; still issues vile racist comments about Jews.
And the Democrats think protesting that is partisan.