I hesitate to comment about an event when it seems to me to be so bizarre and inexplicable that I might ascribe my lack of understanding to distance or ignorance. However the cancellation of the appearances by Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin at the anti-Ahmadinejad rally cannot be passed over in silence. From here, having read all the published explanations, it seems as though Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party, in a fit of pique, sabotaged an important protest against a major enemy of the United States as well as the Jewish people.
To us, in Israel
, there does not seem to be any more immediate threat to world peace, American interests and to the physical safety of the Jews
than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran. That judgment is beyond politics.
We may disagree about the best way to handle Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime, but nobody should underestimate the gravity of the threat to the United States and its allies, including Israel. It is difficult to describe extremism without seeming to be an extremist and an alarmist, but understatement does not do justice to Ahmadinejad and his cronies.
Again and again, Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime have made it clear that their goal is to eliminate America - the great Satan and Israel, the little Satan. His latest remarks are designed no doubt to create a good atmosphere ahead of his trip to the United States where he will be feted at a banquet by Christian groups. Ahmadinejad promised
that Israel won't survive in any shape or form. At a "World Without Zionism" conference in 2005, Ahmadinejad had stated that the goals of the Ayatollah Khomeini, of achieving a a world without Zionism
and without America, were attainable. He said,
"Imam [Khomeni] said: 'The rule of the East [U.S.S.R.] and of the West [U.S.] should be ended.' ... "'Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise.
"'Is it possible that an [Islamic] front allows another front [i.e. country] to arise in its [own] heart? This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world.
The Iranian regime and Ahmadinejad have not been contented with talk only. The record of the Iranian puppet Hezbollah in killing Americans in Lebanon, and Jews in Argentina is clear. The parades with the missiles labeled "Death to America" speak for themselves. And of course, the Iranians are busy developing nuclear weapons to give their expansionist policies a nuclear umbrella. The Christian groups who will break bread with Ahmadinejad cannot fail to know the nature of their guest of honor. They must also know about the persecution of Christians in Iran (see here and here, yet they have no compunctions about honoring the man and the regime that is persecuting them.
Last year, when Ahmadinejad appeared at the UN, a relatively small rally of religious Jews was organized to protest his appearance. They blew Shofarim as if to emphasize the "Jews only" nature of the protest. This made it seem like Ahmadinejad was not a threat to America, only an enemy of a few religious Jews, and helped play into the Iranian propaganda campaign. This year a somewhat larger protest was organized, still Jews only, as if Ahmadinejad doesn't threaten America, as if the Hezbollah did not murder Americans, as if the Iranians do not threaten American allies in the Gulf region. But at least, this rally was to be addressed by representatives of both the Democratic and Republican parties to show solidarity.
Inexplicably, Hillary Clinton decided that she could not speak at a rally where Governor Palin would speak. Senator Clinton gave the absurd excuse that the event was "partisan" because both Governor Palin and herself were invited. The petty politics of the US election are more important to her than standing up to the genocidal Iranian regime. Without Clinton, the appearance of Palin would really have been a partisan event, so the rally organizers felt they were forced to cancel Palin's appearance. Of course, if the organizers had stood firm on the Palin invitation, the Democratic campaign might have had second thoughts.
The point of Senator Clinton's refusal was probably to deny Governor Palin exposure on a foreign policy issue. Of course, Palin's lack of experience in this area is a campaign issue. But in the perspective of history it will certainly look different. Think of this hypothetical 1940 headline: "VP Nominee fails to attend anti-Nazi rally because opponent invited."
Only a campaign and a party that has its priorities completely wrong could justify Senator Clinton's decision. All the rhetoric, of which some might be true, about Governor Palin's religious intolerance and other views, pales besides the deeds of the Iranian regime. Palin may have fired a few people, but she didn't murder any. Palin may not like homosexuality, but she didn't hang any homosexuals. Palin may have tried to ban books, but she didn't burn any. Palin may not be overly tolerant of other religions, but she did not hang people of the Bahai faith.
I am sure that no matter how much I protest, nobody will believe that I was a supporter of Senator Clinton until today, but it is a fact. I hope that there is some hidden truth that can explain what looks exactly like a tawdry betrayal. What excuse could their possibly be for failing to speak out against Ahmadinejad? How could anyone think that one appearance by Governor Palin at this rally would so affect the US election campaign? How could a protest against a genocidal religious fanatic be less important than a petty political contest? All of the rhetoric of Senator Obama about supporting Israel and standing firm against Iran, and all of the promises of his running mate and his campaign are rendered null and void by this one act. When speaking out against Iran was weighed against political advantage, Senator Clinton chose political advantage and the Obama camp has backed her decision. It is an egregiously cynical act even for a politician. If the campaign is willing to sell out on an issue because of a minor political concern, how will Obama act when there are real interests at stake?
Combating Ahmadinejad is not just political issue. It is a moral issue. No doubt the Democratic party campaign and their Jewish apologists will be busy trying to put a better spin on this shameful act, but spin is not going to fill the bill.
Republicans can probably also put down the stones they are about to throw. They are not without guilt either. I am guessing that Palin was their choice and not that of the rally organizers. It is not hard to believe they had a motive in sending Governor Palin rather than McCain or someone else to the rally. Governor Palin is not, after all, an expert on Iran and Middle East policy. She would gain some prestige by appearing at the rally and some "authority" as a foreign affairs spokesperson. If the Democratic and Republican parties and their campaign organizers had any moral integrity, they would rise above politics on the issue of Iran. In a better world, they would send their two Presidential candidates to speak out against Ahmadinejad.
But the behavior of the American public at large is even more bizarre than that of the politicians. Can it be that nobody in the United States except Jewish people are concerned about Iranian threats against America, Iranian persecution of Bahai, Christians, homosexuals and women, Iranian threats against against their neighbors, Iranian support of terror against the United States and its allies? You don't have to be Jewish to be against religious persecution, fanaticism, terrorism and expansionism. Why are the demonstrations against Ahmadinejad confined only to Jews?
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Replies: 4 Comments
No, I am very concerned. I am also concerned with a growing intolerance to everyone. Here in the United States you can see people becoming more emotional and angry over ideas and discussion. Not everyone, but the young are less tolerant.
John, Friday, October 3rd
Yes of course - McCain and not Obama. The sentence has been corrected. Thanks.
Ami Isseroff, Saturday, September 20th
I am guessing this was an innocent mistake. You stated that the Republican Party could have sent "Obama" to the rally.
Should I assume you meant to say McCain?
This is a great article. It will be better if the error is corrected.
-----------------------------"Republicans can probably also put down the stones they are about to throw. They are not without guilt either. I am guessing that Palin was their choice and not that of the rally organizers. It is not hard to believe they had a motive in sending Governor Palin rather than Barack Obama or someone else to the rally. Governor Palin is not, after all, an expert on Iran and Middle East policy."
Ondine, Saturday, September 20th
I heard this somewhat differently. H. Clinton felt that she would be seen as endorsing the McCain-Palin candidacy and thus extricated herself from the protest.
The protest organizers promptly dis-invited Ms Palin so as to appear even handed. So it amounts to a slow train-wreck.
Howard Wolf, Friday, September 19th
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