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Jewish Republicans nervous over Palin


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Jewish Republicans try to read Palin tea leaves

Based on anecdotal evidence in a community I've covered for years, Sarah Palin's nomination has generated a bit of backlash among Jewish voters. Where John McCain was making inroads for his place in the secular, hawkish wing of the GOP, and where there were doubts about Obama, there's now concern and viral e-mails about Palin.

Some, on little evidence, paint her as a Buchanan acolyte; others accurately point out that she, unlike McCain, hails from the evangelical Christian wing of her party, which would like to see more overt displays of Christianity in the public square. (There's a minority of observant Jews who would also prefer this, but this — and vehement anti-abortion stance — lose you a lot more Jewish votes than it wins.)

In any case, at the heart of this — as of so much about her — is the almost complete absence of evidence of her views on this issue. Aside from signing an boilerplate Israel-Alaska friendship resolution, Palin doesn't have a paper trail on Middle East politics, and she hasn't been to Israel. Her Alaska Jewish allies I spoke to had no recollection of discussing the issue with her in detail. Meanwhile, two Jewish Obama fundraisers have told me since the Palin pick that they've seen Jewish donors moving to Obama.

More evidence that this is a problem: The Republican Jewish Coalition today blasted out the best evidence it had that Palin is a friend of Israel. That would be the small Israeli flag jutting out from behind her drapes in the screen grab above from a video interview on another topic.

"I think it speaks volumes that she keeps an Israeli flag on the wall of her office," the group's executive director, Matt Brooks, explained in an e-mail to Politico. "It clearly shows what's in her heart. For those who had questions about her views or whether these issues were on her 'radar screen' they will be very comforted by this fact."

Brooks has a point, surely; a Palestinian flag would have told a different story.

But tiny Israeli flags are hardly unusual in the offices of American politicians, including those (known as Democrats) that the RJC regularly criticizes.

And the fact that this tiny image is the best the official voice of Republican Jewry has to defend Palin is a mark that McCain may have just helped solve Obama's Jewish problem.


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