MSNBC and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) are reporting that Gov. Palin met this afternoon with the board of directors of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Sen. Joe Lieberman to, in the words of one McCain campaign official cited by MSNBC, put “the American Jewish community at ease over her understanding of US-Middle East relations.” It’s worth noting that Palin, who has obviously been completely off-limits to reporters since she was rolled out as McCain’s running-mate in Dayton Friday, stiffed a reception in her honor sponsored by none other than Phyllis Schlafly a couple hours later. (One wonders what other lobbies have tried to arrange a meeting with Palin in the last 96 hours and with what success.)
“We had a good productive discussion on the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship, and we were pleased that Gov. Palin expressed her deep, personal, and lifelong commitment to the safety and well-being of Israel,” AIPAC spokesman Josh Block said after the meeting. “Like Sen. McCain, the vice presidential nominee understands and believes in the special friendship between the two democracies and would work to expand and deepen the strategic partnership in a McCain/Palin Administration.”
“She was extremely well received,” McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb said, noting that Palin was interrupted by applause twice,” according to the JTA account. He added that Palin spoke about “the relationship between Israel and American national security, and the threats to Israel from Iran and others.”
Evidence of nervousness in the McCain campaign about Palin’s impact on Jewish voters and donors was made clear when the Likudist Republican Jewish Coalition circulated a video of her Alaska office in which it found a small Israeli flag, in the words of Politico, “poking out from behind a drape.”
“I think it speaks volumes that she keeps an Israeli flag on the wall of her office,” RJC’s executive director, Matt Brooks, told Politico in an e-mail. “It clearly shows what’s in her heart.” Politico’s analysis is well worth reading. As I noted Friday, a Nexis search of the two years previous to her selection as McCain’s running-mate failed to find a single published article in which Palin ever mentioned Israel. I suspect it may make it into her acceptance speech Wednesday night.