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Liberals and the Liberal Jews

Steve Hayward's new home has received an article from David Harris, the American Jewish Committee executive director, which was declined by Harris' blogging site, The Huffington Post (which recently devoured my former blogging home, to my continuing dismay).

Nearly two years ago, I was invited by The Huffington Post (HuffPo) to become a blogger on their site. I was honored. It is one of the most heavily trafficked news sites anywhere, and it reaches an influential audience. Since September 2009, I have published nearly 50 articles there, and look forward to publishing many more. This week, for the first time, I was told by HuffPo that an article submitted was "not for us." ...

The topic?  "The Hamas - Oops, Gaza - Flotilla."

I mentioned in an earlier post that Democrats and liberals are hostile to religion. With regard to the Jews, that religious hostility translates into overt political hostility toward Israel - culminating in the absurd apologetics and sympathies witnessed among liberals for Arab-Muslim terrorists obsessed with murdering Israeli Jews. And yet, nearly 90% of Jews vote for Democrats. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma....   

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Discussions - 7 Comments

Maybe your premise is incorrect?

The United States is not Britain. American politicians inside the Democratic Party and out are very seldom antagonistic to Israel. Journalists commonly are and academic specialists in the Middle East often rabidly so. I would wager that the minority of American Jews who have heard of Chris Hedges or Juan Cole are unlikely to base their voting behavior on what either man says. (By the way, you have overstated the share of the Jewish vote sluiced to the Democratic Party).

Precisely.

I actually endured the post all the way to "With regard to the Jews, that religious hostility translates into overt political hostility toward Israel - culminating in the absurd apologetics and sympathies witnessed among liberals for Arab-Muslim terrorists obsessed with murdering Israeli Jews."

So much absurdity. So much. Where to even begin? I think the benchmark for "intellectual conservative" has, sadly, degraded to the point where it's enough to simply be a FoxNews junkie with a blog.

Since this is a question of fact, and I didn't provide any links to support my premise of the share of the Jewish vote sluiced to the Democratic Party, see the following:

CNN exit polls of the 2006 congressional election revealed that 87% of Jews voted for Democrats.
http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/US/H/00/epolls.0.html

In presidential elections, 80% voted for Clinton, 79% voted for Gore, 76% voted for Kerry and 78% voted for Obama.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/jewvote.html

These numbers are surely debatable, but the Jewish vote in presidential elections seems to hover around 80%, and congressional elections tend to break even more heavily for Democrats.

Nevertheless, even if CNN et al have overstated the numbers - let's say by 10%, giving us a 70% - 80% Jewish-Democratic vote - the premise is still valid: Jews vote Democrat.

And to argue that Democrats and liberals are more pro-Israel than Republicans and conservatives would simply be to express utter ignorance of national politics. Liberal organizations around the world proclaim solidarity with Palestine and loathe the Jewish state. It is not so rabid in the U.S., but the political-party lines are clearly drawn.

And to argue that Democrats and liberals are more pro-Israel than Republicans and conservatives would simply be to express utter ignorance of national politics. Liberal organizations around the world proclaim solidarity with Palestine and loathe the Jewish state. It is not so rabid in the U.S., but the political-party lines are clearly drawn.

The Democratic Party in this country is responsible for its own offenses. It is not responsible for the asininity of parliamentarians abroad. You find a few politicians in this country antagonistic to Israel - Jesse Jackson and Paul Findlay to name two - but it is fairly unusual. A careful cross-examination of the Congressional caucus of each political party may reveal some modest differences. It is not enough to influence the voting behavior of Jews, who have various different irons in the fire.

Jews constitute not much more than 2% of the population and getting a sample of adequate size to make inferences from telephone polling and such is difficult. I saw one poll some years back which admitted the confidence interval around its estimate of Jewish opinion was +/- 18%. Polling of individual congressional races is commonly proprietary, so you have even less data. Assessment of Jewish preferences in presidential elections since have varied between 60% (in favor of George McGovern) to the 80% you cite for B. Clinton. Stated in terms of odds, that would be a ratio of between 1.5:1 and 4:1. You contended that the support for the Democratic Party was in the range of 9:1. The black population supports the Democratic Party to that degree, not any other identifiable communal group.

Use of the term 'liberal organizations' to describe political disputes abroad is bad practice unless you are referring to a foreign country where the term is used in a way approximately similarly to the way it is used here (i.e. Canada and perhaps Britain). I should note also that your response was to someone's contentions, just not mine. Reading comprehension: it's great stuff.

Justin, it's amusing that you bother to make a rare appearance in the comments section to bicker over percentages that aren't really in dispute (Is it 70%, 80%, or 90%? Whatever, in any case, it's rather high.), just to ignore what matters - you've been called out on the ridiculously false assumptions you made that had nothing to do with that percentage (whatever it may be).

Only Joel can speak for himself, but as for the premise that I think you're (incredibly) off-base on is not the fact-based matter of the %age of Jews who vote Democrat (which, in the delusional FoxNews realm equals being liberal to radical leftist), but this assertion (I'll narrow it down from before):

"religious hostility translates into overt political hostility toward Israel."

Absurd. Many people - including plenty of proud Jews - are strongly critical (the word "hostile" can be used I suppose, as long as you don't try to be weaselly, and use it as a synonym for endorsing violence) of Israel because of its policies, without holding any hostility towards Jews, without being anti-semitic.

"...culminating in the absurd apologetics and sympathies witnessed among liberals for Arab-Muslim terrorists..."

This is where one has to wonder if you're just trolling your own blog. It's a weird take on humor if that's what you're going for, but having seen the crazed and struthious logical contortions of cowgirl - supposedly employed not because she actually believes any of it, but just because she wants to rile liberals - I guess it's possible. Many people think Glenn Beck is the King of All Trolls (and if so, he really pulled a number on Ashbrook Ctr.!).

Think of it this way. If one was to employ your own logic in an analysis of American conservatives, we'd have to ask why your hatred of anti-American/terrorist-loving liberals "translates" into overt hostility towards Jews (since American Jews are 90% liberal !!).

I have heard Democrats on the Diane Rehm Show say what Justin says Democrats say, that there is no difference between Islam, Judaism and Christianity and they all ought to be abolished for the sake of world peace. There is considerable hostility to religion within the Democratic Party and it has been the subject of posts and comment here on NLT.

Jews (or anyone) can be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. There is nothing new about that. That there are people who are anti-Semitic in the US; there is nothing new about that, either. Those people who are anti-Semitic are often anti-Zionist. In my youth, I heard country-club Republicans and blue-collar Democrats who thought Israel was the best way to get Jews out of America. I haven't heard that in a long time, but probably Craig can find something by a Republican that will reflect that view.

The mystery of the support of American Jews for the Democrats is the divide within American Judaism between those whose identity is tied to liberalism (or as Harris calls it "ideology") and those whose identities are tied to being Jews. You would think it evident that any liberality that supports Hamas and Hezbollah over the the state of Israel, is deluded.

Here is Harris in an interview about why a liberal must support Israel:
http://videos.shalomtv.com/video/liberal-proisrael-david-harris-feb-16-2011

I have been listening to this while considering my response. What I found funny in the interview is the idea floated in the middle that Jews will be able to live in the settlements they have created if those settlements are within a Palestinian state. Look at Jews within Islamic nations; do they get to exercise any liberality there?

And what happens to all of the Jews in Israel if Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran and Syria, are given the determination as to what happens to them?

I suppose the question about whether Israel may exist or not becomes a question about what kind of peace we all want. We asked the same questions forty years ago when peace seemed to demand making concessions to the demands of world communism. The totalitarianism then was a political/economic one and now is political/religious. Apparently, the Liberal response to illiberality is to embrace a self-righteous stance that allows the suffering of others at the hands of the illiberal.

As Harris puts it, if you do not know anyone who lives in a place like Israel that is always under threat, then it is easy to leave those people to their fates. I do know people who live in Israel. That they should die because there are people in the US who cannot imagine them is a horrible. The idea that Israel desires war is absurd. What they desire is to choose their terms of peace, which includes national security.

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