It is time to say openly what Jewish Republicans in California whisper quietly: throughout her years in public life, Carly Fiorina never associated demonstrably with those supporting a secure and safe Israel with united Jerusalem as her capital. Quite the contrary: everything she has written, down to her memoirs, points otherwise. Everything she has said – the curious way and timing of her pronouncements on the Middle East – points otherwise. Even her close associations, as with the Reverend Jesse Jackson , augur otherwise.
There is something unseemly in Ms. Fiorina’s posturing on Israel in her campaign for the GOP nomination to seek Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat this fall. Given the presence of Tom Campbell in the race – a candidate whose very name brings shudders to Israel’s supporters among California Republicans – Ms. Fiorina cynically saw an easy opportunity to woo Jewish voters by hastily casting her vanilla Mideast record as “pro-Israel.” It is not, and she is not.
There is only one demonstrably pro-Israel candidate running in this spring’s GOP Primary: Chuck DeVore As he stands alone among the three Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate on a wide range of conservative issues, with the only demonstrated record among them for opposing increased taxation and new government spending to supporting a wide range of conservative principles and values, so DeVore stands alone among them as the only tried-and-tested friend of Israel. Chuck’s record on the Middle East has been consistent, is deeply principled, and is rooted in a world view that reflects his own early association with the Administration of Ronald Reagan. He has long supported and stood with Israel, as a volunteer who worked the phones on “Green Sunday” telethons for the Jewish National Fund, and even as a State Assemblyman who leveraged his office to persuade the UC-Irvine Administration to allow videotaping of incendiary Muslim Student Union meetings on campus that previously had been conducted with an administration-enforced ban on recordings.
Fiorina’s cynical posturing as more pro-Israel than Campbell does not erase the accolades she receives from websites dedicated to Israel's destruction. Just "Google" the search term: "Carly Fiorina” Islam. On an Al Jazeera website (which seems to have disappeared from the web in recent weeks), in an article titled “Islam – The Answer,” the executive director of the Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee wrote: "In the immediate aftermath of September 11, Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, addressing an IT conference in Minnesota . . . spoke of a civilization whose language became the universal language of much of the world; whose multicultural armies enabled peace and prosperity . . . . Whilst most of the world was steeped in ignorance, fearful of ideas, this civilization kept knowledge alive and passed it on to others. That civilization, she told her audience, was the Islamic civilization up until the 17th century."
And, indeed, these are Fiorina’s words just two weeks after 9-11 :
"There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world.
"It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins.
"One of its languages became the universal language of much of the world, the bridge between the peoples of a hundred lands. Its armies were made up of people of many nationalities, and its military protection allowed a degree of peace and prosperity that had never been known. . . .
"And this civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.
"Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.
"When other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.
"While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.
"Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians."
To understand Ms. Fiorina’s gushing rapture with Islam, one need only consult her memoirs. Reminiscing about her high school days in Ghana, she writes: “I remember hearing, for the first time, Muslims pray, and how over time their sound evolved from being frightening in its strangeness to comforting in its cadence and repetition -- I would feel the same peace when I listened to the sound of summer cicadas around my grandmother's house. I grew to love being awakened in the morning by the sound of the devout man who always came to pray under my bedroom window.” (That's from Fiorina's homage to herself, "Tough Choices," Penguin Group/ Portfolio, 2006.)
Certainly, Islam is a major world religion that bears many valuable and noble lessons. Devout Moslems deserve our respect as they pray five times daily, from early morning through breaks amid life’s hustle-bustle during the day and into the night. They practice the discipline of eating only the halal food permitted by Koranic teaching. They humbly submit in obeisance to God. Nonetheless, this Carly Fiorina, who traipsed the world to attend conferences with the Rev. Jesse Jackson – to whose organizations her Hewlett-Packard directed more than $15 million – and who stands in awe of Islamic civilization is hardly the “lifelong Zionist” she portrays herself as being. It is downright patronizing to Jewish voters when this Johnny-come-lately tells us, in so many words: “Compare my record on Israel to Tom Campbell’s.” Well, many of us prefer instead to compare her to Chuck DeVore. And that is the reason we align with Chuck.
Our mistrust of career politicians has reached its zenith in America. On the one hand, it seems counter-intuitive to cast Carly Fiorina as a “career politician,” particularly given that she did not even cast a vote in 8 of the last 14 elections . For that matter, She Who Would Be United States Senator did not vote at all during the prior decade. And yet she is the quintessential McCain Team insider, fudging repeatedly from the McCain campaign days to the Obama “Stimulus Package” and beyond. She is neither conservative nor liberal because she is not politically experienced enough to be identified. Rather, she will vote as she is told. Her personal wealth derives in great measure from the $42 million that the Hewlett-Packard Board of Directors paid her just to leave the company immediately: $21 million in immediate payout and another $21 million in stock options. As news of her ouster reached Wall Street on the day she was removed, H-P shares rose more than ten percent in a matter of hours.
DeVore, by contrast, is deeply principled. He resigned his seat as Chief Republican Whip in the State Assembly when some GOP colleagues backed down on their vow to resist tax increases. On Israel, he has issued an extraordinary Position Paper that speaks in a language apart from the world of Campbell and Fiorina. He recognizes that the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank settlements, are not the issue obstructing Mideast peace but a mere red herring obfuscating six decades’ refusal by the Arab world to recognize Israel as a Jewish country. His exposition on the issue of Mideast refugees is striking for its clarity and common sense. And he is the only candidate for United States Senator in either party who will not abide pressure on Israel to stop building Jewish homes in Jerusalem.
Tom Campbell’s candidacy for the GOP nomination has given Ms. Fiorina a free ride for too long. His associations often have been beyond the pale , evocative of Barack Obama’s pre-presidential associations with Rashid Khalidi, the Rev Jeremiah Wright, and Bill Ayres. For example, it is hard to find a more virulently anti-Israel ideologue in America than author Alison Weir . She is so anti-Israel that UC Irvine’s notorious Muslim Student Union is bringing her to Irvine for their annual “Hate Israel” week in May. On her website, Weir proudly quotes the support she has enjoyed from Tom Campbell: “Ms. Weir presents a powerful, well documented view of the Middle East today. She is intelligent, careful, and critical. American policy makers would benefit greatly from hearing her first-hand observations and attempting to answer the questions she poses.” The demon sheep of Zion.
With Campbell aligned so closely with the most heinous of Israel’s haters, Fiorina cynically has postured herself as a conservative and as a Zionist. She is neither. Rather, Carleton Fiorina is Michael Huffington all over again – an independently wealthy person willing to run on a Republican ticket but with a record completely unknown . . . until too late. For those of us – Republican conservatives, Tea Party independents, advocates of a strong and secure Israel with a capital in united Jerusalem – who have been whispering our frustration, the time has come to say aloud that we are not fooled. We are not impressed.
In Scott Rasmussen’s mid-April poll, Chuck DeVore runs better numbers against Barbara Boxer than does Fiorina and only one point less than does Campbell. In a year when Florida Republicans are opting for Marco Rubio over Charlie Crist, and Texas Republicans opted for Rick Perry over Kay Bailey Hutchison, while Massachusetts voters elected Scott Brown, there is every reason for California Republicans to go with the only reliable conservative candidate seeking Barbara Boxer’s seat, Chuck DeVore. And he also is a reliable friend of Israel.
Rabbi Dov Fischer , a member of the National Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and a former National Vice President of the Zionist Organization of America, is a congregational rabbi in Irvine, California and a regular contributor to several national on-line publications. He is author of General Sharon's War Against Time Magazine, a study of the 1982 Mideast war and subsequent libel trial, and formerly was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review.