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Former President George W. Bush to speak at local synagogue

Former Pres. George W. Bush will speak at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park on Sept. 21.

The event will be closed to the media and the audience will be limited to 250 with ticket prices starting at $1,250, according to the American Jewish World, which broke the story.

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Comments (20)

  1. Submitted by rolf westgard on 09/02/2011 - 05:17 am.

    Late in his term, Bush commented that he would use retirement on speaking engagements to build up the old exchequer, or words to that effect. My first thought was to wonder who would actually pay to hear this man of limited intellectual competence. Wrong again.
    He apparently gets a minimum of $100,000 for these informal gatherings. And you need a minimum of $1250 to hear his wisdom.
    Will wonders never cease.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 09/02/2011 - 08:57 am.

    I have a really hard time imagining someone who would pay that kind of money to hear anything that George W. Bush has to say.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/02/2011 - 10:15 am.

    If they get a full house, it’s a sad commentary – with or without media attendance – on the status-envy of the local nouveau riche. I can’t imagine what he would deliver in a speech – aside from gossipy tidbits about living in the White House – that people with working brains would want to hear. Maybe “Actually, I’ve been the one pulling Dick Cheney’s strings” would get the audience’s attention. Lacking that, Bush will have nothing worthwhile to say, but he and Republican coffers will have profited, nonetheless, and the attendees, some of them, at least, will have their framed 8 x10 of themselves with the former president, which will allow them to bluster at the next dinner party, “When I was speaking with George Bush….”

    And some years down the road, when Barack Obama does the same thing, it’ll be just as cheesy and inconsequential. The speech will be better, though.

  4. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/02/2011 - 11:47 am.

    Some of us seem to think that anyone who expresses unconditional support for Israel is a friend and is worth investing in.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/02/2011 - 11:49 am.

    … and actually the key words are “closed to the media”. Obviously the people organizing this thing are ashamed to be publicly associated with what they expect Bush the Lesser to say.

  6. Submitted by William Levin on 09/02/2011 - 02:40 pm.

    While Beth El is not my synogogue, and I will not be attending their event, I did actually read the attached American Jewish World story, which apparently posters 1-5 didn’t. Folks, why do you care how Beth El raises money and commemorates 9/11? Instead of auctioning off a Chevy Suburban or a trip to Florida every year, they invite a heavyweight to speak and they charge a substantial amount for it. In a prior year they invited Bill Clinton. As it is a private event it is also Beth El’s perogative to close it to the media. “Status-envy of the local nouveau riche” indeed; the derogatory comments posted about people’s motivation to attend are dangerously close to slurs.

  7. Submitted by Mordecai Specktor on 09/02/2011 - 02:56 pm.

    Regarding Ray Schoch’s comment: … the attendees, some of them, at least, will have their framed 8 x10 of themselves with the former president, which will allow them to bluster at the next dinner party, “When I was speaking with George Bush….”

    Attendees at the Beth El fundraiser who buy tickets at the $2,500 and $3,600 levels will get photos with Bush.

    The organizers expect to sell all of the 250 tickets.

  8. Submitted by rolf westgard on 09/02/2011 - 03:44 pm.

    #6. I could care less how Beth El raises funds. I am just expressing amazement as the number of people who would succumb to this particular lure. It does provide a hint as to why AIPAC is the most successful lobbying organization in D.C.
    It does pay to be a friend to our Israel ally.

  9. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/02/2011 - 03:47 pm.

    Mr. Levin, you are right that as a private business (though as a religious institution supported by my tax dollars) Beth El has the right to do whatever it wishes within the bounds of the law.
    Similarly, I have the right to express my opinion about its actions.

  10. Submitted by chuck holtman on 09/02/2011 - 04:21 pm.

    Mr Levin (#6) – Of COURSE it is appropriate for folks to judge Beth El on the basis of its choice of fundraiser. Beth El is a leading civic institution and one that participates actively in defining the ethical stance of our society. If it were to raise money by selling folks the opportunity to flog a homeless child, should that not be judged? While you may not share the view, many people consider Mr Bush to be a war criminal and conniver in torture who did more damage to this nation and the world in his eight years than can be repaired in 100. These people may justly be of the view that it is deeply wrong for Beth El to give him a respectful platform and to profit from doing so.

  11. Submitted by Ron Salzberger on 09/02/2011 - 04:35 pm.

    Beth El was the synagogue where I was Bar Mitzvahed lo some fifty years ago. If I can still find the chumash the synagogue gave me, I will send it back with a note. What a shandeh!

  12. Submitted by rolf westgard on 09/02/2011 - 05:49 pm.

    #6. Your description of GW Bush as a “heavyweight” deserves comment. His apparent ability to draw a crowd despite a high admission price and his 2 terms as a President would argue for a heavyweight designation.
    The mess he left us with would suggest “lightweight”. Let’s average the two and call him a middleweight.

  13. Submitted by William Levin on 09/02/2011 - 05:53 pm.

    Folks, I’m voting with my feet. I’m not going. I suggest you take that route also.
    #6: Mr. Westgard, you’re edging closer to a slur.
    #7: Mr. Brandon, I’m not sure how a religious organiztion is supported by your tax dollars.
    #8: Mr. Holtman: Beth El also brought in a past President, Bill Clinton, whom many consider a panderer, philanderer, and liar. I presume your comments would extend to criticism of him as a speaker also.

  14. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/02/2011 - 07:59 pm.

    George W. Bush was the best friend Israel ever had. Some claim he would win election to prime minister in a landslide.

  15. Submitted by chuck holtman on 09/02/2011 - 11:29 pm.

    Mr Levin (#13) – First, what I think isn’t the point. The point I am forwarding is simply that it is perfectly appropriate to judge a leading ethical institution by those to whom it chooses to give a platform and on whom it chooses to publicly confer respectability. But since you are asking, I would not equate pandering, philandry and petty lying with the squandering of hundreds of billions of dollars in social wealth on the killing and immiseration of millions of innocent people solely to enrich one’s peer group. I am no fan of Mr Clinton (not for his peccadillos but for his policies), and if it were up to me I would give a platform to a truly thoughtful, moral and humane speaker. But of course no one is going to pay $1,250 to get their picture taken with someone like that.

  16. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/03/2011 - 10:15 am.

    They don’t pay taxes on valuable property.
    That leaves local residents to make up the bill.

    Once again, with friends like that….
    See evangelicals and ‘the Rapture’ for their (Bush has identified with them) ultimate plans for Israel and Jews in general.

  17. Submitted by rolf westgard on 09/03/2011 - 07:07 pm.

    My comments on President Bush II were intended to be a slur.

  18. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/04/2011 - 08:35 am.

    I’m not an evangelical. I’m not even a christian. But like all other American conservatives, I’m a strong supporter of Israel because she’s the only country in the middle-east who believes in democracy, capitalism and judeo-christian principles.

    And it’s no coincidence that those three reasons explain why the Left is the home of antisemitism in the world. Their “rapture” meme is an amusing excuse to explain away why conservatives are the only ones in this country who support Israel.

  19. Submitted by Roy Everson on 09/04/2011 - 12:23 pm.

    I love Jewish culture and hate anti-semitism. I’m proud of St. Louis Park for being the hometown of some really admirable people– the Coen brothers, Al Franken, Tom Friedman, to name a few. That being said, I will always wonder about the synagogue that would offer a platform to an admitted war criminal who has shown no remorse for the misery he has created in this world. Israel should consider that its true friends will help lead them in directions toward peace, not blind loyalists who caved to the influence of the neocons.

  20. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/04/2011 - 05:19 pm.

    There’s a difference between supporting Israel and supporting all of the policies of its current government.

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