Saturday, September 18, 2010

Murkowski Courts Jewish Voters on Yom Kippur

Lisa Murkowski stopped by at Temple Beth Sholom at the end of services today as people were breaking the fast.  I took advantage of her presence to talk to her about how US embassies mistreat people applying for visas.  I'd written her a letter about this about five years ago after observing how callously Chinese visa seekers were treated in Beijing.  And two weeks ago the New York Times had a piece about German Opera and Theater director Peter Stein who canceled his planned work on Boris Godunov at New York's Metropolitan Opera because of how he was treated by the US consular officials in Berlin.   As he explained it:
In June he went to the consulate in Berlin for a work visa for the Met job and was forced, he said, to stand for hours in a stifling room with 50 other visa applicants. When he finally reached the consular official, “He said to me, ‘Why don’t you laugh?’ ” Mr. Stein recounted. “I said, ‘I stay here for two and a half hours standing and I am an old man.’ ”
The officer replied, “ ‘In this case you will not have a visa,’ and sent me away,” Mr. Stein said. Mr. Stein said the experience left him humiliated and deeply offended.
The same sort of treatment went on in Beijing - elderly folks had to stand for hours waiting to get visas.   And the officials have this same sort of arbitrary power to capriciously turn people down like this.

Murkowski agreed strongly that this was not a good way to win the hearts and minds of people around the world. 

The people I asked thought it was a little tacky to campaign at the synagogue on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, but thought it was normal for American politics.  They also pointed out that Scott McAdams was there ten days ago for Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the High Holy Days, which I hadn't noticed.

NOTE:  I did not have my camera with me during services.  It was out in the car though and I got it after services when I found out Murkowski was there.  Maybe this blogging thing is getting to be too much.


  1. She has chutzpah, that's for certain...

  2. It may be normal for American politics, but I find it distasteful.

  3. And did she ask to be forgiven for trying to kill the increase in liability of oil companies for spills? Or for her attempt to kill climate change legislation?


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