Mitz-Vote

A 'Personal,' International Trip in High Campaign Season

By Joy Resmovits

  • Print
  • Share Share

As election season shifts into fever pitch, Carly Fiorina returned from Israel last week. And her trip was … personal?

That’s what her aide told the L.A. Times before she left. But unless you’re, say, Madonna, personal trips generally don’t involve meetings with VIPs like Tzipi Livni, Shimon Peres, and Benjamin Netanyahu, right?

Fiorina, the Republican candidate facing incumbent Jewish Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer for a California U.S. Senate seat, traveled to Israel for four days. The trip was funded and organized by the Republican Jewish Coalition. She returned just as the Rasmussen Reports released a new poll that gave her 48% of the vote, putting her one percentage point ahead of Boxer.

What separates the personal from the political? “It’s personal—that means it’s not political,” answered Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the RJC, who helped organize Fiorina’s trip. He elaborated: “It’s not about her campaign or winning votes. It was not open to the press. There were no campaign activities or politicking. It was strictly an educational trip for her and her husband, and their opportunity to visit a city that’s important for them to visit.”

It seemed an odd time for a personal trip: Fiorina had just emerged from a debate with Boxer. Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO, has come under fire from pro-Israel groups for HP’s shipments to Iran during her leadership there. (Fiorina has criticized Boxer for her alleged silence on Iran’s threat; Boxer’s campaign rebutted that claim, pointing to Boxer’s Iran statements). And Fiorina is now running neck-and-neck against a Jewish senator.

Some Jewish political insiders aren’t so sure. “Personal?” asked Doug Bloomfield, who has worked as AIPAC’s legislative director. “That’s bubbe meises, pure and unadulterated bubbe meises” – in other words, “grandmother tales” or nonsense. There is no difference, he said, between personal and political — not during a campaign, at least. At AIPAC, Bloomfield said, he shepherded several candidates through similar trips. Their purposes, he said, were to establish a relationship between a politician and the organization; for education; and “for the politician to establish bona fides” and claim credibility.

Senator John McCain and then-Senator Barack Obama took similar trips through Israel in 2008. Ten years before that, George W. Bush, then governor of Texas, traveled there as well – on the first such itinerary organized by the RJC, Brooks said. This cycle, Brooks said RJC also played travel agent to Pat Meehan, candidate for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District.

The word personal, according to M.J. Rosenberg, a former AIPAC operator turned Media Matters Action Network fellow, only means that the costs didn’t come from the campaign’s budget. He dismissed the notion the trip was unrelated to vote-seeking. “Everything she now does has to do with vote-seeking,” he said.

But Rosenberg doubted the trip would help much. “It’s just inoculation,” Rosenberg said, “to show she’s just as pro-Israel as this long-time established pro-Israel Jewish lady.”

Fiorina’s campaign declined to comment on the trip.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Republican Jewish Coalition, M.J. Rosenberg, AIPAC, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Israel



Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.