When Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was scheduled to speak at Miami’s Temple Israel last Friday, one congregant — philanthropist and prominent Republican businessman Stanley Tate — cried foul, demanding equal time to speak with his congregation.
When the synagogue leadership refused to grant him speaking time, Tate quit the temple in protest.
Since the brouhaha erupted last Thursday, Temple Israel announced that Congresswoman Schultz’s speech has been canceled.
The Miami Herald reported that the temple's president, Ben Kuehne, said “the event was canceled because of security concerns.” Kuehne told the paper that the temple embraces “the congresswoman's willingness to participate in one of our programs," adding that program was “unwise” in light of security issues.
But in the wake of the cancellation, Tate is unbowed, reiterating his original objections to the planned speech in an interview with Newsmax and vowing to return to Temple Israel only when the leaders responsible for the speech are gone.
“Her claim was that the speech was not going to be political,” explained Tate in a phone call. “There is no way the chairman of the [Democratic National Committee] can speak about Israel-U.S. relations without it being political.”
In the 1990s, Tate served as chairman of the Resolution Trust Corp., the government agency that managed banks assets in the wake of the savings and loan crisis. He is one of the nation’s most prominent Jewish Republicans.
Describing his broader problems with the Obama administration’s record on Israel, Tate accused President Obama of “trying to ruin” the peace process, explaining, “He talked about going back to things that Israel would never agree to — going back to the ’67 agreements, separating Jerusalem into a two-capital situation. The Israelis are not going to give up any part of Jerusalem.”
Tate speculated that Wasserman Schultz’s speech was canceled due to political considerations, specifically “because of [the president’s] absolute anxiety over the Jewish vote, which is very substantial in the state of Florida in particular.”
He explained, “President Obama doesn’t want her to wind up losing a debate or even getting involved in a debate, and that’s where it would have wound up. There’s no way that Debbie would want a debate with me, because she knows I know too much, and I’ve known Debbie a long time.”
His bottom line is crystal clear: “I don’t believe that Obama is deserving of the Jewish vote as it may relate to Israel. It’s as simple as that.”
As for his current relationship with the congregation he once called home, Tate offered a provisional negative about any immediate return: “Not while the current people are there. Not while that rabbi, who I was informed today is leaving at the end of next month, [is there]. So when she leaves, I would very seriously think about going back.”
Tate, who is credited with starting Florida’s pre-paid college tuition program, is also the Miami-Dade co-chair of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
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