Sunday, September 21, 2008
Palin and Jewish Voters: She supports Israel
By Anat Hakim, Harvard Law School St. Petersburg Post September 21, 2008 Those who claim Jewish voters will not support Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, because she is socially conservative, or because she has not yet outlined her views on Israel, are underestimating her appeal in more ways than one. First, they underestimate Palin's appeal as a reformer; she has proven her willingness to stand up to established and powerful networks, including the entrenched leadership of her own party. World history has proven the mortal danger posed by countries that put party over the individual, and that history has been particularly harsh to Jews. Gov. Palin, like John McCain, has demonstrated she will follow her sound judgment rather than conform to her party's line. Jewish voters, especially, will appreciate two mavericks with established records of standing up to powerful and corrupt leaders. Also, if Gov. Palin's strong statements on Iran and the support for her as expressed by Jewish leaders in Alaska are an indication, she should be popular among those for whom the safety and security of Israel and the West are critical. Second, Jewish voters are not single-issue voters on abortion. Even liberal voters will find any number of reasons to rally behind Gov. Palin's candidacy; as a pro-choice feminist, graduate of Harvard Law School, and someone who has donated money to Democratic candidates, watching Sarah Palin's convention speech at the Republican convention was both affirming and electrifying. Gov. Palin's story is the story of my own day- to-day life: managing a demanding career, raising my two young children, typing on my Blackberry while I make their meals, and working to keep them safe in a dangerous world. There is the appeal of her "cool chick" persona — a sports-playing, give-it-all-you've-got attitude — unafraid to show strength and break through gender barriers, but also unafraid to assume traditional female roles. The way she manages her personal and professional lives is to be admired, but, more importantly, it's real — raw, not sugar-coated — and women of all political backgrounds are picking up on her authenticity. She embodies the ideal of feminism: she has made choices about the life she wants to lead. Finally, in the war on Islamic fascism, we face a defining moment for western democracies, and Israel faces threats to its very existence. I think back to the days and nights I spent in a bomb shelter as a girl in Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and I vow that my children will never know such fear. John McCain and Sarah Palin have earned the respect and trust of the Jewish community, and as I cast my vote on Nov. 4, I will be confident that the United States and Israel will have steadfast defenders in John McCain and Sarah Palin. Anat Hakim is an attorney, graduate of Harvard Law School, and full time working mother in Jupiter.