Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Biden’s Refusal to Appear At Iran Protest Caused the Disinvitation of Palin

Here’s the latest news on the withdrawal of the invitation to Sarah Palin (and all other politicians) to Monday’s protest of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — withdrawn by the sponsor, the Council of Presidents of Major Jewish Organization. COMMENTARY has learned that Joe Biden was invited to the event in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s refusal to appear on the same stage as  Palin — and he declined. In an e-mail to me, Biden spokesman David Wade said that “we’ve had longstanding commitment to speak at National Guard Convention on Monday in Maryland.”

After that, the decision was made to disinvite Palin — who is, let us recall, the chief executive of one of the 50 state of the union as well as the vice-presidential candidate of one of the two major parties in the United States. According to Ben Smith of Politico:

The appearance that the non-partisan group was aligning with the Republican ticket put the group and its president, Malcolm Hoenlein, under heavy pressure from Jewish Democrats, including members of the conference, members of Congress, and the liberal group J Street, not to give Palin a platform, sources said. Hoenlein told the McCain campaign that he would have to rescind Palin’s invitation or cancel the rally.

The question is: Was Hoenlein put in this position because of a decision by the Obama team and its supporters to treat Sarah Palin as though she were not a legitimate political figure with whom major Democratic politicians can or should share the stage.The McCain camp has issued a statement in the candidate’s name:

Throughout my political career, I have sought to rise above partisanship on critical national issues. Nowhere is this more true than on important matters of national security. Earlier this year, Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and I issued a joint statement on the genocide in Darfur and pledged to support efforts to bring it to an end. Earlier this month, Senator Obama and I put the campaign aside to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country and talk about the importance of national service.

Next Monday, the day before Iranian President Ahmadinejad is to speak before the United Nations General Assembly, several organizations will sponsor an event to draw attention to the importance of halting Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Governor Palin and I share a strong belief that a nuclear armed Iran poses a grave threat to the security of Americans and to our allies. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. The risk that Iran would provide terrorists with a nuclear weapon is too great for the world to ignore. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust occurred and called Israel a ’stinking corpse.’ A nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the entire region.

Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons should be a shared goal of every American, not another occasion for partisan posturing.

Governor Palin was pleased to accept an invitation to address this rally and show her resolve on this grave national security issue, regrettably that invitation has since been withdrawn under pressure from Democratic partisans. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to oppose Ahmadinejad’s goal of a nuclear armed Iran. Senator Obama’s campaign had the opportunity to join us. Senator Obama chose politics rather than the national interest.

We haven’t heard the end of this story.