Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one of the Democratic Party's fiercest defenders of Israel. She was the first Jewish congresswoman elected from Florida, she backed George W. Bush's hardline approach to peace negotiations in Palestine, and she was instrumental in the U.S. declaring May "Jewish American Heritage Month."
But apparently that wasn't pro-Israel enough for Stanley Tate, co-chair of Mitt Romney's Miami campaign committee and a member of the congregation at Temple Israel. Tate was outraged when he learned that Wasserman was scheduled to speak at the synagogue tonight. When the temple wouldn't allow him to give a rebuttal, he resigned.
Now the synagogue has canceled the congresswoman's speech. Oy vey. It's an election year.
Tate is the curmudgeonly old conservative philanthropist behind Florida's pre-paid college tuition program. He is also a national political player, advising both Bush presidents as well as Bill Clinton. His real estate development companies have erected condos across the state. He once said that his favorite childhood pass-time was "making money."
It's no surprise, then, that he's supporting uber-rich cardboard cut-out Romney for president. But even Tate's own synagogue was clearly caught off guard when he threw a hissy fit over Wasserman Schultz's scheduled speech.
Stranger still, Tate's explanation was that the congresswoman was the one playing politics.
"She's the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee," he told the Miami Herald. "The topic is the U.S.-Israel relationship. There cannot be any conversation on that topic, none, unless it has to do with the politics."
"I believe strongly that in a democracy people should be able to hear from and interact with their elected officials, which is why I gladly accepted Temple Israel's invitation to speak as I have previously to many organizations and religious institutions throughout South Florida," Wasserman Schultz replied. " It is unfortunate that some would allow politics to stand in the way of citizens' ability to interact with their representative."
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The saddest part of syna-gate 2012 is that a 16-year-old girl was scheduled to speak before the congresswoman. The focus of her remarks: how all Jews should admire Wasserman Schultz for her achievements, even if they disagreed with her politics.
Free speech fail.