Opinion Brief

Sarah Palin's 'stop apologizing' Israel tour

Palin arrives in Israel and tells the country's leaders to quit apologizing, and to adhere to their policies. Will her message help her back home?

Sarah Palin's two-day stopover in Israel on her way home from India was widely seen as an attempt to burnish her much-maligned foreign policy chops. And though she was officially in Israel as a private citizen, she dined with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, on a tour of the Western Wall, told her hosts, "Why are you apologizing all the time?" Her guide, rightist Likud lawmaker Danny Danon, gushed, "She knows that we are right and that the Muslims are just claiming things for provocation." Most U.S. conservatives swooned. Did Palin just win over some GOP hearts and minds?

Yes, Palin gets it: With that one "profound" question, Palin proved she has a "greater understanding of the problems confronting Israel" than Obama and his foreign policy team, says William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. She doesn't buy into the "leftist-academic and Islamist" storyline that Israel should apologize for its very existence, and for wanting to worship on the Temple Mount — the prompt for Palin's revealing insight.
"'Why are you apologizing all the time?'"

No, Palin's critique doesn't even make sense: Of course, the former half-term Alaska governor is entitled to her opinion, or in this case, "ideological sound bite," says Steven Taylor at Outside the Beltway. But I'm not sure what she's talking about. Right or wrong, Israelis seem "generally fairly unapologetic about their policies." And would a "parade of apologies" from Israel, or any country, really be that bad? We teach our children to take responsibility for their actions, so why shouldn't nations?
"The profound query of Sarah Palin?"

Palin should forget Israel and focus on her base: Palin's whole Israel visit, including the "stop apologizing" bit, was "fairly predictable," says Alex Pareene at Salon. Yes, she got her point across that "she's on Team Jewish People" in every Mideast dispute. But being Palin, she couldn't even do "the routine Israel trip" without snubbing "some important would-be ally" — in this case, the 40,000-member Republican Jewish Coalition, the U.S. group that organizes Israel tours for all GOP hopefuls (and which she sidestepped). That error just shows that if Palin does run, "it'll just be her and her crack team of loyalists, led by Todd, against the establishment and the world."
"Sarah Palin goes to Israel, snubs influential GOP group"

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