“She understands that Zionism, which means the Jews should live in the Land of Israel, is a vital force. That’s all.”
Korn is the founder of a new group called Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, and his efforts are part of some recent Jewish support that has been trickling in the direction of the hockey mom from Wasilla. Even though American Jews have repeatedly disapproved of her in large numbers in poll after poll, giving her abysmally low approval ratings, her recent high-profile jabs at the president have earned her support from some of the most prominent Jewish conservatives today.
Not only does she continue to receive the hearty backing of William Kristol, editor and publisher of The Weekly Standard and contributor to Fox News, but at the end of March, Norman Podhoretz, former editor of Commentary and godfather of the neoconservative movement, took to the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal to offer a “defense of Sarah Palin.” He compared the ridicule that has greeted her arrival on the national scene to the laughter at Ronald Reagan’s expense when Reagan became the Republican presidential nominee. Podhoretz’s argument boiled down to this: “What she does know — and in this respect, she does resemble Reagan — is that the United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama, whose IQ is no doubt higher than hers, has yet to learn.”
Podhoretz closed by dramatically proclaiming that he would “rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.”
But these are neoconservative intellectuals, most of whom — as an article in the January issue of Commentary by Jennifer Rubin illustrated — are spending their time trying to figure out why Palin “rubs Jews the wrong way.” Is there anyone in the American Jewish community at large willing to wear a Palin 2012 button? Korn thinks there is, and it’s this demand he’s hoping to fulfill.
But with an increasing number of American Jews anxious about what they see as the undue pressure that Obama is applying on Israel, Korn thinks that more of them will come to see Palin’s value. [...]
He doesn’t hide the fact that, in his eyes, her main strength is just how much she irritates those on the left.“She has the ability to get under the skin of the opponents and particularly this president,” Korn said. “And from the point of view of someone who opposes what this president is doing, particularly on Israel policy, I’m glad that she has that ability.”[…]
And yet, as Palin gains acceptance, however small, in certain Jewish quarters, she undoubtedly becomes more credible for a larger American Jewish audience, of which some members are eager to find a fitting opponent to the president.
Seth Lipsky, former editor of the New York Sun and of this publication, is friendly with Kristol and Podhoretz and shares some of their neoconservative views. He doesn’t offer an endorsement of Palin, but he does welcome the formation of Korn’s group and believes that Palin is “staking out a terrific set of positions.”
Like many others, Palin and the current moment remind Lipsky of an earlier era.
“I’ve been telling people that the situation reminds me a little bit of the 1984 presidential campaign, when Vice President Mondale challenged Reagan,” Lipsky wrote in an e-mail to the Forward. “Mondale discovered that Reagan was under the impression that once an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile was fired, it could be recalled in flight and brought back to base. He ridiculed Reagan mercilessly. I said or wrote at the time that this was the difference between Mondale and Reagan — Mondale knew how the missile worked and Reagan knew whom to point it at. And that’s how I feel about Mrs. Palin. She may not know as many details as some of the other candidates, but she comprehends whom we’re up against.”