Politics and politicians are a staple of every major Jewish organizational event, regardless of venue. So with this year’s GA here in Jerusalem, it was no surprise the heads of Israel’s three largest parties were invited to speak at the plenaries. But unlike Nashville, one speaker in particular crossed the line.
Last year, several senior UJC professionals complained that Howard Dean’s address was filled with “blatant partisan comments”. At the time, I indicated, “what did you expect when you invited the chairperson of the DNC?”. I’m curious what these same individuals had to say about Bibi’s remarks during Wednesday morning’s plenary.
Kadima’s Tzpi Livni spoke to us on her perspective of Tikkun Olam. And yes, she did allude to Kadima. But more in the same vein as Secretary of State Rice did relative to Bush in Nashville last November.
Netanyahu, on the other hand, after reminding us of his contribution to our economy as Sharon’s Finance Minister, proceeded to deliver Likud’s entire platform for the upcoming election. He did everything except tell us where to mail the check. To say his remarks were inappropriate in the GA setting is an understatement. Let’s put it this way, if an American presidential candidate made the type of speech Bibi did at a U.S. GA, the UJC might find it’s 501(c)(3) in jeopardy.
I guess with Sheldon Adelson’s significant decrease in net worth, Bibi’s really scrambling for cash. (Ehud Barak’s name is missing from this post only because I did not personally hear what he had to say).
Kudos to Zeev Bielski in this regard. While addressing JAFI’s Board of Governors meeting, he thanked those who have asked where to mail the check for his upcoming primary bid. And then flatly stated he would not accept any donations from anyone involved with the organization. To bad Israel’s party leaders did not make similar declarations to the mostly American audience.