Republican vice presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin displays an Israel flag in her office window despite the tiny Jewish population in her state. Republicans say "that says it all" concerning what they charge is Democratic propaganda that she once backed Pat Buchanan, whose name is anathema to most Jews.
Florida Democratic Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida came out swinging at Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain immediately after he named Gov. Palin as her running mate. He accused her of backing 'Nazi sympathizer" Pat Buchanan in a previous election and said that Sen. McCain's choice was a "direct affront to all Jewish Americans."
"It's propaganda invented by the Democrats, and it is unfortunate they were trying to make these accusations without any factual basis," retorted Florida Congressman Adam Hasner, who represents the heavily Jewish area of Boca Raton in the Florida state legislature.
Gov. Palin explained that her alleged "support" of Buchanan consisted of her sporting a campaign button for him in 1999 when he visited the town of Wasilla when she was the mayor. Palin explained at the time she wore the button as a courtesy and that she was an official of the campaign of Republican presidential contender Steve Forbes.
The Republican Jewish Coalition has pointed out that an Israeli flag is a fixture on the drapes in her office. "I think it speaks volumes that she keeps an Israeli flag on the wall of her office," the group's executive director, Matt Brooks, explained in an e-mail to Politico.com. "It clearly shows what's in her heart."
I think it speaks volumes that she keeps an Israeli flag on the wall of her office.
Politico's analyst Ben Smith said "he has a point, surely; a Palestinian flag would have told a different story."
More telling is a close look at her collar in a video of an interview. Israel National Radio show host Tamar Yonah wrote on her blog that she noticed what appears to be a small Israeli flag pinned to her blouse.
Gov. Palin has little reason to wear it because of the Jewish population in the state, which is the largest in terms of area in the United States but whose estimated 6,000 Jews leave Alaska with one of the country's smallest Jewish communities. accounting for only 0.5 percent of the state's citizens.
Surprisingly, 70 percent of Alaskan Jews light candles on eve of the Sabbath, compared with 32 percent of all American Jews, according to Dr. Gerhard Falk, a New York State sociology professor.
Gov. Palin is a likely Israeli backer because she is "a very religious person, and the religious Christians are the greatest supporters of Israel," according to the Hawaii's Jewish governor, Linda Lingle, also a Republican.