Thousands of people attended a rally in New York this past Monday, organized by a coalition of Jewish community groups, to protest the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to address the United Nations General Assembly. The rally was a strong demonstration of the unity of the American Jewish community against the threat posed to Israel by Iran's nuclear weapons program.
But it could have been stronger. Originally, the organizers planned a showing of bipartisan political support for Israel, and against the Iranian President. New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton was invited. So was the Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. That apparently presented a problem for the Democratic Party, which appears to feel that it has a monopoly franchise on the American Jewish community and support for Israel. When Senator Clinton found out about the invitation to Governor Palin, she pulled out of participation in the rally in a huff.
As reported here by Marcia Kramer for CBS, Democratic activists then put tremendous pressure on the rally's organizers to disinvite Governor Palin, reportedly telling the organizations that the appearance by Govenor Palin, without an appearance by either Senator Clinton or Senator Joe Biden, the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. In the end, faced with a no-win situation, the rally organizers withdrew invitations to speak to all politicians, including, most pointedly, Governor Palin.
The unhappiness with this result was not limited to Republican supporters of Governor Palin.
"This is insulting. This is embarrassing, especially to Gov. Palin, to me and I think it should be to every single New Yorker," Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, told CBS 2 HD.
"It's an absolute shame that this has happened," Hikind said. "To threaten organizations … to threaten the Conference of Presidents that if you don't withdraw the invitation to Gov. Palin we're going to look into your tax exempt status … that's McCarthyism."
Gee, McCarthyism. I thought that was something that only Republicans could commit.
According the Israeli newspaper HaAretz, Clinton aides added insult to injury by claiming that they had been "blindsided" by the invitation to Governor Palin, which they described as a partisan move. Apparently in the Democratic Party world view, inviting both Republican and Democratic speakers is partisan. So much for the new bipartisan atmosphere we are told to expect in a Barack Obama Presidential Administration.
Ironically, the supposedly partisan Governor Palin had quoted Senator Clinton's past remarks in her planned speech. As Caroline Glick points out in the Jerusalem Post, Governor Palin's speech was a statement of national--rather than just Republican--resolve to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. Those who are interested in reading what Governor Palin would have said at Monday's rally may read the speech here, as published by the New York Sun.