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Jews for Sarah Featured in Jerusalem Post Article

Posted by Dr. Fay on September 7, 2010

Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin and Benyamin Korn, the organization’s founder, were featured in an article at the Jerusalem Post.  Although the article is a little negative toward Governor Palin (probably due to the influence of the lamestream media), author Jan Jeben-Eilon provides a detailed account of the progress that Benyamin Korn is making with this new movement.

WHEN BENYAMIN KORN, 54, a self-described activist, journalist, son of a Reform rabbi, father of four teenagers and a ba’al teshuva (someone who has become religiously observant), launched the Jews for Sarah Palin website in mid-April, he was the butt of jokes by friends and foes alike.

After all, 78 percent of American Jews had supported the Democratic presidential ticket in 2008, according to exit polls. And an American Jewish Committee poll in September showed that Jews disapproved of Palin by a 54 to 37 percent margin, indicating that the addition of the former Alaskan governor to the Republican ticket was part of the reason for the Jewish vote.

Korn is a longtime friend of Jeremy Ben- Ami, executive director of the left-wing, twoyear- old, pro-Israel, pro-peace group, J Street, who refers to Korn by his nickname. “If ‘Buddy’ Korn is able to pull together enough Jews who are publicly willing to support Sarah Palin that he could form a minyan (prayer quorum of ten), more power to him,” Ben-Ami writes in an e-mail to The Jerusalem Report.

“There hasn’t been anyone in American politics that I can remember attracting higher negative ratings among Jewish Americans than Sarah Palin.

“I guess that’s the beauty of democracy – even the 14 percent of American Jews who have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin deserve a political home,” he quips.

And David A. Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, comments to The Report, “They [Jews who support Palin] can hold their national conference in a phone booth, kosher-catered with four shwarmas.

I welcome them to talk as much about Sarah Palin as possible because it will only help our efforts. She’s anathema to the majority of American Jews, even Republicans.”

Jews have consistently supported the Democratic Party ever since Franklin Roosevelt initiated the New Deal in the 1930s.

“American Jews are Democrats at heart,” Harris says. And it is certainly too early to determine whether Korn will be able to mobilize Jewish support for Palin – who hasn’t announced her future plans, including whether or not she’ll run for president in 2012.

Yet unquestionably, Korn seems to have tapped a reservoir of growing American Jewish disappointment in President Barack Obama’s handling of the US relationship with Israel.

And the activities of Jews for Palin and other recently established, like-minded groups are indicators that the acrimony within the Jewish community, so palpable during the 2008 elections, has not died down.

Korn is particularly excited about a program his group is cosponsoring with the Pennsylvania Family Institute in Hershey, Pennsylvania, at the end of August, where Palin will be speaking.

IN FACT, KORN HAD PLANNED TO launch his organization, Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, and website this summer, but was spurred to speed up the process by three months because, in his opinion, the Obama Administration was not handling the US’s relationship with Israel properly. “This was a serious development, so I decided to launch immediately,” he explains. He did so on April 16, a time chosen “to coincide with Yom Ha’atzma’ut [Israel Independence Day] and Jewish independence from Barak Obama.”

Although Korn, former editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, hasn’t built his organization as quickly as he anticipated, he is anything but discouraged.

Korn tells The Report that he is busy “assembling the components” of his new organization for which he hopes to have 50 board members and several chapters formed around the country. As of mid-August, he still had less than two dozen board members and was not ready to announce any chapters. A number of his board members joined in the final days of July, as the advertising war in a pivotal Pennsylvania Senate race heated up. That’s when Korn announced several new members to his advisory board. Tellingly, the majority are Pennsylvanian businesspeople.

“We haven’t focused on building the board so much. We’re working under battlefield conditions and must handle the pressing needs first,” Korn says, noting that the organization has already “established itself as an advocate for Palin” and gained what he refers to as “significant media attention.” He underlines the fact that he is launching this organization “out of our garage” and acknowledges that some people he’s asked to join his board have turned him down. “Some can’t get involved politically, and others say it’s just not their cup of tea.”

Still his website, http://www.jewsforsarah.com, has received 50,000 hits. Korn claims that twothirds of these are from Jews, 85 percent of which have been positive, he says. “This is clearly an unscientific observation,” he acknowledges, “but I’m judging this on the correspondence we get. The Jewish mail has been three-to-one supportive, although we get a lot of hostile mail too.”

Korn would not reveal the details of the national chapter network he hopes to establish because, he says, the organization is still in the planning stages. But he does divulge that his group will have an “energizing public gathering” in northern New Jersey in the fall. “We want to target the modern Orthodox, and New Jersey is the heartland of the modern-Orthodox community. There are probably 40,000-50,000 Orthodox families in the area.” The grand event he plans will be held well before the Congressional mid-term elections (in early November) and will show, he says, that “hundreds, if not thousands [of Jews], support Sarah Palin. We will attract a lot of notice the way we’re going to do it,” he adds.

Korn established his organization as a private, limited corporation, which means that donations to “Jews for Palin” are not tax-deductible, and promises that the composition of the board and the public event will demonstrate to the quizzical public that Palin has support from the American Jewish community.
PALIN SEEMS TO ATTRACT THE majority of her supporters in the conservative or neo-conservative pockets along the East Coast. In March, conservative writer Norman Podhoretz published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in which he wrote that he would “rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama.”

Former editor of The Forward Seth Lipsky, now independent, tells The Report that Palin’s concern over the collapse in the value of the dollar and her pro-business stance are among the reasons she’s gaining support.

In a November 2009 editorial in The New York Sun, Lipsky called her worldview, “Palinism” and wrote, “This started to come into view for us when she gave her interview to Barbara Walters,” he wrote, noting that when asked what she thought of Israel’s West Bank settlements Palin responded, “I disagree with the Obama Administration on that… I don’t think that the Obama Administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.”

Added Lipsky, “The formulation by the former Alaska governor struck us as a wonderful statement of an emerging policy. It provides a glimpse of a leader who would respect Israel’s right to establish, democratically, its own strategy in its own sphere and could restore the standing of America’s president in the eyes in (sic) the Israelis, among whom it has plunged…” Another writer who avidly supports Palin, and is on the advisory board of the Jews for Sarah Palin group, is Long Island-based Pamela Geller, founder of Stop Islamicization of America and co-author of the new book, “The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America.” “I pray she runs for president. To me, as an American, she is the ideal ‘man,’ so to speak. She represents the American ideal,” Geller tells The Report.

“She’s unafraid. We live in a culture that is vicious and dominated by the left. She never backs down, though. She believes in small government and rugged individuality.”

Geller continues, saying that “as an American,” she supports Palin’s platform of low taxes, a strong foreign policy, small government and she’s unapologetic for America’s greatness. And noting Palin’s support for Israel she adds, “As an American Jew… I believe Israel is on the front line of a jihad. Israel is absorbing terrorism and if it were not there, we would be [absorbing terrorism] in America.”

Another American Jew who strongly supports Palin and sits on the advisory board of Jews for Sarah Palin is former Georgia state legislator Mitchell Kaye. Palin’s strong support of Israel, he says, “comes from her heart and ties into her upbringing. Too many others just pander. She’s also plain-talking; she’s a real person. And lastly, she’s a reformer. She challenged corruption in her own party. I’ve been supporting her for a while, but now that she came out against the mosque at Ground Zero,” his support is solidified.

Kaye, who spoke to The Report from Washington, D.C., where he was participating in the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) lobbying on Capitol Hill, charges that the 70-80 percent of American Jews who vote for Democratic candidates do so “without knowing the issues.”

[…]

After the Philadelphia-based newspaper, the Jewish Exponent, branded those who are attacking Sestak as “extremists,” Korn’s “American Jews for Sarah Palin” ran an ad the last week in July naming a number of well-known Philadelphia Jews to its growing advisory board. Miffed, Korn tells The Report, “I was not personally offended but it’s a way of demonizing people to distract from the message. I’m a third-generation Philadelphia Federation supporter,” he adds, explaining that this, in his opinion, provides him with “some credentials” in the American Jewish community.

Pollak says ECI has no ties to AIPAC nor the group American Jews for Sarah Palin.

However, by the end of July, ECI had mass emailed Korn’s op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

[…]

Korn is much more effusive about his group’s future plans. “We know how to build an organization and the new technology allows us to have two-way communication with each hit [on its website]. We’re building up our membership, chapters and mailing lists. Many people have already donated money, from $5 to $180 to substantially more,” he says. “We have a nucleus of chapters in a dozen cities without even starting. Once we go public, it will create a big splash. They understand that we are the cause they want to support. It’s not just a website; our mission statement resonates with people. We’ve received hundreds of comments that say, ‘Thank God, there are others who feel this way and are doing something.’” Noting that his goal is to “create space for Sarah Palin in Jewish communication” and to support her “in whatever she does, whether she becomes a candidate or not,” Korn obviously feels that American Jews for Sarah Palin has achieved that goal. “I know the Palin people are aware of us.”  

Yes, we are!   Governor Palin’s suporters are impressed that this movement is progressing so rapidly.  In a few short months,  Jews for Sarah’s outreach has expanded to include an excellent website,  op-eds such as this one at the New York Sun, a Shabbaton at Governor Palin’s Hershey PA event, and a new radio show.  And that is just the beginning of what will likely become a powerful political movement as American Jews realize who will best represent their interests.

h/tp Benyamin Korn

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