June 29th, 2011

Are Jews getting wary of Obama?

Today’s Politico has an article that suggests that maybe, just maybe, many of Obama’s Jewish supporters are realizing that he’s not quite what they’d thought he’d be, at least on the subject of Israel.

They’re getting into arguments about Obama at dinner parties. They’re having to increasingly defend him, and finding it harder and harder to do so. They’re regretting their support of Obama rather than Hillary.

It’s not that this group—and it’s impossible to know how large a percentage of Jewish Democrats it represents—has turned on the Democratic Party, or liberal principles as a whole, or even Obama’s other policies. It’s just that his behavior on the Israel/Palestine question has made them question the sincerity of his more benign rhetoric on the same subject.

And that behavior of Obama’s isn’t based on just one incident. The evidence has been piling up over time in a way that has stirred more and more doubt about both his knowledge of the conflict and his intentions regarding Israel.

It doesn’t sound as though this group of Democrats is extrapolating from Obama’s hypocrisy on Israel to his hypocrisy on other matters—at least, not according to the article’s author Ben Smith, who purports to have conducted several dozen interviews with leading Jewish Democrats and donors on the subject of Obama and Israel. Nor is it explained why these seemingly intelligent and savvy people were fooled by Obama’s rhetoric in the first place, when it’s clear that many of them were a bit wary of his stance on Israel even during the campaign. But it seems they were very easily reassured back then. Here’s a typical tale:

“When Obama was running, there was a lot of concern among the guys in my group at shul, who are all late-30s to mid-40s, who I hang out with and daven with and go to dinner with, about Obama,” recalled Scott Matasar, a Cleveland lawyer who’s active in Jewish organizations.

Matasar remembers his friends’ worries over whether Obama was “going to be OK for Israel.” But then Obama met with the community’s leaders during a swing through Cleveland in the primary, and the rabbi at the denominationally conservative synagogue Matasar attends — “a real ardent Zionist and Israel defender” — came back to synagogue convinced.

“That put a lot of my concerns to rest for my friends who are very much Israel hawks but who, like me, aren’t one-issue voters.”

Now Matasar says he’s appalled by Obama’s “rookie mistakes and bumbling” and the reported marginalization of a veteran peace negotiator, Dennis Ross, in favor of aides who back a tougher line on Netanyahu. He’s the most pro-Obama member of his social circle but is finding the president harder to defend.

“He’d been very ham-handed in the way he presented [the 1967 border announcement] and the way he sprung this on Netanyahu,” Matasar said.

Some of them are even considering—gasp!—voting Republican for the first time in their lives. But many still seem easily reassured by a little talking to:

David Cohen, a Comcast executive and former top aide to former Gov. Ed Rendell, said questions about Obama’s position on Israel have been a regular, if not dominant, feature of his attempts to recruit donors.

“I takes me about five minutes of talking through the president’s position and the president’s speech, and the uniform reaction has been, ‘I guess you’re right, that’s not how I saw it covered,’” he said.

This seems naive, somewhat akin to the wife who finds evidence of infidelity all over the place and yet believes the husband’s reassurances that nothing’s amiss because she wants to believe. For many liberal American Jews, Obama was a dream come true. He is black, and Jews have historically been in the forefront of the civil rights movement (until they were tossed out in anger by black power advocates during the 60s and 70s). He is an intellectual (or at least plays one on TV), a role Jews tend to admire. His liberal credentials and voting record were impeccable. The combination was powerfully seductive.

Will this group actually turn on Obama and vote Republican? My guess is that a few will, but not many. Voting for the nominee of the “enemy” party can be surpassingly difficult, especially for members of cultural, racial, or religious groups that vote overwhelmingly for one party or another, as Jews tend to do. Here’s a quote from the book A National Party No More: the Conscience of a Conservative Democrat by Georgia’s Zell Miller (not a Jew) on the subject:

I was born a Democrat. It’s not simply a party affiliation; its more like a birthmark for me and many of my fellow mountaineers. There’s actually a small pinkish spot on the back of my neck just like my father’s. Both the birthmark and allegiance to the Democratic Party have been handed down in my family from one generation to the next. Time does not erase it. It is part of our DNA. I would no more think of changing parties than I would think of changing my name. To change would be like walking on my mother’s grave.

65 Responses to “Are Jews getting wary of Obama?”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Which comes first, the wary or the weary?

    Either way, they’ll soon merge.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    “My guess is that a few will, but not many. ”

    I think you’ve got that exactly right. In general, this particular voting block is the one that when it asks whether or not something is “Good for the Jews” secretly (or not so secretly) thinks that Israel itself is not good for the Jews.

  3. SteveH Says:

    I think we can surmise the democrat party gets the lions share of OCD voters.

  4. T Says:

    To be “taken in” by Obama’s game is not a mark of the gullibility of voters, so much as evidence of the levell of the con that the Obama team was running. We still see it played by the administration; say what you need to say, but don’t worry if your actions contradict your words (close down Gitmo, he’s a proponent of free markets, shovel-ready jobs, etc.)

    This administration is so damned stupid that they don’t understand that this con only worked in the 2008 campaign because Obama had no record to contradict his stated positions. Now, however, Obama can claim to be a friend to Israel until the cows come home but his personal treatment of Netanyahu and his policy declarations belie his stated intentions.

  5. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    My Father in law was a classic NYC Jew (Russian Immigrant parents) in that he would vote Democratic no matter what.

    That would be despite his being a career Naval Officer and small business man , real estate investor and careful financier. Now for most of his life, national democratic figures were pretty congenial to Jews and for that matter with business (after FDR gave up on the worst of the New Deal).

    It’s interesting that it’s the older Jews who have the most doubt. I think my father in law would have had second thoughts with the new left’s anti-Semitic leanings.

  6. Ben David Says:

    Some vocabulary for non-Yiddish speakers:

    shul=synagogue (literally “school” in German).

    daven=pray. This can also have negative connotations of absently “rattling off” a prayer by rote – or a similar recitation/scanning of a document.

  7. Richard Aubrey Says:

    So far….
    But when the dems remind them that conservative Christians vote republican, they’ll be back in the fold.
    No, I don’t understand it either.
    The one possible explanation is that it’s safer to fear conservative Christians because, deep down, you know they won’t hurt you. Real anti-Semites, including a good many serious Muslims would like you to disappear. And they appear to be winning. Safer, emotonally, to avoid that and fear those who aren’t actually dangerous.

  8. grackle Says:

    Nope. I don’t think the Jewish vote will change in any meaningful way. They are puzzled by Obama’s Israel policy but their liberal allegiance will easily overcome those doubts. This small bit of doubt reported on by the author of the article is newsworthy only because of its rarity. As pointed out by others here and elsewhere, the rest of Obama’s policies are a good fit to their political viewpoint.

    The GOP’s only hope is the independent voting bloc.

  9. Trimegistus Says:

    If this actually looks like a problem for the Democrats, expect a wave of “news” stories about SCARY RIGHT-WING CHRISTIANS! MEL GIBSON! AIEE! Scare ’em right back into the Democrats’ private ghetto.

  10. gs Says:

    1. This seems naive, somewhat akin to the wife who finds evidence of infidelity all over the place and yet believes the husband’s reassurances that nothing’s amiss because she wants to believe.

    And pointing out the evidence only makes her adamant.

    2. But this is bewailing the obvious. What can the Right do to attract American Jews? If not not to attract them, to persuade them to be more neutral?

  11. Scott Says:

    I’m skeptical.

    Not much seems to shake Jewish loyalty to Democrats. Until Obama, Jimmy Carter was the most anti-Israel president ever — he’s even been accused of being an anti-semite. Yet American Jews are the second most loyal and consistent Democrat voting bloc, second only to blacks.

    Obama got 78% of the American Jewish vote in 2008. If they are pissed at him in 2012, then he’ll get something less than 78%. Let’s say he gets only 50% of the Jewish vote. Considering Jews represent only about 2% of the population, dropping from 78% to 50% will be immaterial in a normal election. We’d have to have a repeat of the 2000 election for it to matter.

    American Jews could theoretically hurt Obama by withholding financial support, but according to the Politico article he was able to raise $1 million from 80 donors in a Miami fundraiser that targeted Jewish donors, so I’m not even sure they’re going to withhold financial support.

    Even Haim Saban, who in a fit of anger said he was not going to support Obama financially after Obama threw Netanyahu under the bus during his recent visit, now says he’ll write a check if Obama asks for one.

  12. Random Electron Says:

    As a Jew who has crossed over the dark side, it’s hard to explain the ways Jews continue to support Obama. It is true that Jews are raised to be Democrats, but one would think that a group that prides itself on education, etc, would really understand where Obama is coming from. But I think they are so enamored of, to steal from Biden, an articulate, clean black, they can’t see him for what he is. Also, too many Jews buy into the Netanyahu is the new Hitler/Palestinians are victims paradigm. They are embarrassed by Netanyahu standing up to Obama and saying, in effect, never again. These “nice Irvings” want everyone to like the Jews and it’s just so unpleasant to have a Netanyahu to spoil things. This type of thinking has a long undercurrent in Jewish history — where the “good Jews” are embarrassed by the bad ones.

  13. grackle Says:

    What can the Right do to attract American Jews? If not to attract them, to persuade them to be more neutral?

    Not much. To try to get a liberal to change their allegiance is a waste of energy. Real change has to be self-originated and embraced by the changed person.

    If the observation of events interpreted by their own intellect won’t get them there, no amount of persuasion will work, in fact it might even be counterproductive.

    Forget “neutral,” such a thing doesn’t exist on either the Right or the Left. Independents are the key.

  14. RPL Says:

    What’s more likely to happen is that Jewish voters will vote for the down ticket races, and not bother voting for the Presidential ticket. They will also likely write checks to the individual candidates rather than the DNC or Obama. FWIW

  15. Don Carlos Says:

    The trouble for Jews on civil rights is they get no thanks from American Blacks, never have. Most are antipathetic, many anti-semitic. It is nutty.

  16. renminbi Says:

    I don’t blame blacks for disliking Jews. Jewish liberals patronize blacks-they need to “help” them so they can feel how wonderful they are. Blacks are smart enough to see this ,and resent it,all the while grabbing the affirmative action goodies offered.
    Also very unappealing is the bigotry against christians. Needless to say, as a Jew I find all this appalling. The few Jews I know have broken away from Obama,but that is the best I can say.

  17. grackle Says:

    They[Jewish voters] will also likely write checks to the individual candidates rather than the DNC or Obama.

    This sounds very much akin to my own intentions. But with Conservative candidates. During the last Presidential election I gave money to the GOP and a couple of individual candidates. This time around I will probably not give anything to the GOP. The GOP, as an organization, was disappointing to me in the last election. I think instead I will donate my dinero to the Tea Party, to individual Tea Party types and whoever wins the GOP nomination.

  18. Parker Says:

    As a person who does not have close friends who are Jewish I would like to ask a question of those who regularly comment here and are Jewish:

    The left side of the political spectrum as long been willing or even anxious to to sacrifice and/or annihilate Jews; so why are so many Jews leftist?

  19. Curtis Says:

    The Jewish vote:

    What does Barbara Streisand think? Like butter. Oy she’s nice. Whoever she’s voting for, that’s who I’ll vote for.

    Of course, that’s a joke. But the Israel connection isn’t very strong to a lot of American Jews and it may be getting worse. Consider the following from Daniel Gordis, Commentary Magazine, June 2011:

    [I] read a recent message sent to students at the interdenominational rabbinical school at Boston’s Hebrew College, asking them to prepare themselves for Yom Ha-Zikaron by musing on the following paragraph: “For Yom Ha-Zikaron, our kavanah [intention] is to open up our communal remembrance to include losses on all sides of
    the conflict in Israel/Palestine. In this spirit, our framing question for Yom Ha-Zikaron is this: On this day, what do you remember and for whom do you grieve?”

    It is the rare e-mail that leaves me speechless. Here, at a reputable institution training future rabbis who will shape a generation of American Jews and their attitudes to Israel, the parties were treated
    with equal weight and honor in the run-up to Yom Ha-Zikaron. What the students were essentially being asked was whether the losses on Israel’s side touched them any more deeply than the losses on the side of Israel’s enemies.


  20. gs Says:

    Curtis, passages in your link are the best description of the insanity of multiculturalism that I have ever read.

    I thought that Judaism is more resistant than “mainstream” Christian denominations. Maybe not.

  21. Blandwagon Says:

    He’d been very ham-handed in the way he presented [the 1967 border announcement]…

    Which is EXTRA negative coming from a Jew 😉

  22. Beverly Says:

    All this reminds me of Tom Wolfe’s famous essay, Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers, in which he cleverly skewered Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia for the fundraising parties they gave on Park Avenue to support the Black Panthers.


    Wolfe called it “elegant slumming.” They had the Black Panthers up to their elegant apartment for the party, but they gave their own (black) staff the night off, and hired non-black help, so the Panthers wouldn’t take it amiss that the brothers were working for the white folks.

    Everyone there absolutely fawned over the Panthers.

    This Obummer worship is a similar phenomenon. I would be flabbergasted if any noticeable number of Jews jumped ship. Even if he let Iran nuke Jerusalem. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

  23. Beverly Says:

    Here’s the article itself!

    “Radical Chic– That Party at Lenny’s”


  24. newton Says:

    This reminds me of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

    In particular, I think of all the ministers in the Emperor’s court who kept loudly admiring the clothing the Emperor was wearing, without question… even though they saw nothing on him, simply because they didn’t want to be thought of by the Emperor as “fools and simpletons” for not being able to see the colorful, gold-threaded, fine, “invisible” fabric, as the con-artists who fooled them all asserted… In the end, it had to be some kid from the street, not any of the @$$-kissing ministers, who dared to speak the undeniable truth: “The Emperor has no clothes!”

    Also, I simply hate to say this, as I am an Evangelical Christian and a Friend of Israel, who watches Shalom TV every so often, but… For cryin’ out loud!!!! Don’t they realize they’re being taken in by a CON ARTIST – and by a CON-ARTIST PARTY, to boot? Are they afraid to be uninvited to the cocktail parties and the gatherings with the “beautiful people”? Is that all that matters to them – not righteousness nor prudence? Are they so afraid to face the truth because it might hurt their “social standing” among the “politically correct”, “polite society”? Or has Liberalism taken such a hold over them that they think being a Liberal totally fulfills their religious requirements?

    “But you don’t understand,” they might say. Oh, I do understand. It is tantamount to the full hen-house voting to keep the invading fox inside… or worse – to invite Colonel Sanders in.

    You know, for all the admiration they give to Moses, they do seem to forget that he was once one of the “beautiful people”, but then “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” because he chose to follow God, not men, and you all know the rest of the story. Or that small group who left Babylon to return to Jerusalem after their 70-year captivity, leaving relative comforts behind to rebuild their desolate land. Or the people who left their original homes to build the modern State of Israel from relative scratch, in the middle of a desert that was producing very little and had very little rain to speak of, leaving the creature comforts of Europe and America behind, but not caring much about it because they were taking care of their true inheritance: their home.

    It was in their homeland, their Home, where these modern pioneers found their Freedom – and that Freedom is even more valuable than cocktail parties or being part of the “beautiful people.”

    That same Freedom is being threatened by Obama himself – and yet, some still actually dare to defend him? Have all reasoning left their minds with this con-man? George W. Bush was a thousand times more honest with them than they every acknowledge him for… and yet they have called for his hanging in the public square. Heck, even Bill Clinton was more honest with them than Obama!

  25. Beverly Says:

    Here’s a funny description of “Lenny Bernstein” from “Radical Chic” —

    ““Tell why!” says Leonard Bernstein. Hardly anybody has noticed it up to now, but Leonard Bernstein has moved from the back of the room to an easy chair up front. He’s only a couple of feet from Cox. But Cox is standing up, by the piano, and Lenny is sunk down to his hip sockets in the easy chair . . .

    They really don’t know what they’re in for. Lenny is on the move. As more than one person in this room knows, Lenny treasures “the art of conversation.” He treasures it, monopolizes it, conglomerates it, like a Jay Gould, an Onassis, a Cornfeld of Conversation.

    Anyone who has spent a three-day weekend with Lenny in the country, by the shore, or captive on some lonesome cay in the Windward Islands, knows that feeling—the alternating spells of adrenal stimulation and insulin coma as the Great Interrupter, the Village Explainer, the champion of Mental Jotto, the Free Analyst, Mr. Let’s Find Out, leads the troops on a 72-hour forced march through the lateral geniculate and the pyramids of Betz, no breathers allowed, until every human brain is reduced finally to a clump of dried seaweed inside a burnt-out husk and collapses, implodes, in one last crunch of terminal boredom. Mr. Pull! Mr. Push! Mr. Auricularis! . . .

    But how could the Black Panther Party of America know that? Just now Lenny looks so sunk-down-low in the easy chair. Almost at Don Cox’s feet he is, way down in an easy chair with his turtleneck and blazer on, and his neckpiece.

    Also right down front, on the couch next to the wall, is Otto Preminger, no piece of wallpaper himself, with his great head and neck rising up like a howitzer shell from out of his six-button doublebreasted, after the manner of the eternal Occupation Zone commandant.”

    Thereafter ensues a hysterical conversation between, inter alia, Bernstein, the Panther, and Otto Preminger. . . . yes, that Otto Preminger.

  26. Jim Kearney Says:

    There’s got to be a corresponding stages similar to the gradual acceptance of death. Denial, anger, etc. Only for American Jews, this has been a multogenerational experience. They may go back and forth between stages now with quicker shifting, but they will never escape back into the easy sleep of denial for more than a few days at a time. Only this time, I hope it doesn’t take the equivalent of concentration camps and Krystlnacht to wake them. Do we need to see Israeli turned into a smoking ruin and Obama’s comrades dancing and passing out sweets before they WAKE UP AND ACCEPT THE TRUTH?
    As an American Irish Catholic who loves his Jewish friends I pray to God they wake up now. It’s not only for Israel I tremble. It’s for my own beloved nation. America.

  27. Alex Bensky Says:

    Parker, it may be more than you want to know about the topic but you might want to pick up Norman Podhoretz’s “Why Are Jews Liberal?” and see if you can find an article by Jennifer Rubin from Commentary, “Why Jews Hate Palin.”

    A lot of it is class bias. Middle and upper-middle class Jews feel much more comfortable and resonant with, say, Episcopalians and Presbyterians than they do with Baptists. And as several commentators point out, all the Democrats need to do is insinuate that the Republican candidate is under the sway of fundamentalist Christians to bring the wayward Jews hustling back to the fold.

    My own view is this: Some Christians may think I am going to hell and if asked would politely tell me how they think I can avoid that. I am happier with that approach than that of people who think I’m going to hell and want to send me there RIGHT NOW.

    I was not only a nominal Democrat, I served several terms as elected precinct delegate, was on the county committee, chaired a state platform subcommittee and was assistant director of a statewide presidential primary campaign (admittedly it was Scoop Jackson).

    The moment during the 2008 campaign when it percolated through to me that Obama’s foreign policy was going to be awful when his reaction to Russia’s aggression against Georgia was to call for both sides to show “restraint.” His antipathy to pro-western nations isn’t just about Israel although I regret to say that it looks like being anti-Israel has a special piquancy for him.

    Anyway, as to voting Republican for the first time in my life, it became easier when I realized that the Democratic Party of today is not the organization I grew up in; it’s a different group with the same name. It has no room for people like Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson, Sam Nunn, George Meany or, to ratchet down the inquiry many, many levels, Alex Bensky

  28. Simon Kenton Says:

    For an intellectual nothing is more real than the word. Nothing. Not evidence, not behavior. That belief is one of the touchstones, the field notes, by which you recognize them, like the red streaks on the breast of the yellow warbler. It will never matter what he does, and always only matter what he says, even when the bullets fly. Put another way, you need a very very high IQ to achieve the most inspissated levels of stupidity. Ward Churchill would not have lasted a week on a dry-wall crew, but the University of Colorado showered him with unearned promotions.

    They are fussing and clucking, but their articles, their money, their votes will go to him.

  29. ziontruth Says:

    Scott said,

    “Let’s say he gets only 50% of the Jewish vote. Considering Jews represent only about 2% of the population, dropping from 78% to 50% will be immaterial in a normal election.”

    I agree. But it also got me thinking: What other group that’s only about 2% of the population gets this kind of attention?

    What the heck is it with this Jew-obsession, and the related Israel-obsession (Israel: On a globe, you have to write its name on the Med sea)? How about Jews and Israel get a little less attention?

    I know, I know, I’m banging my head against a wall. The attention will cease only when HaShem says so.

    More to the topic, American Jews in general recoil from voting Republican because they see the Right as holders of “retrograde” values which they mistakenly think Judaism is opposed to. Do you have an idea how many non-Jews even, not just Jews, believe Judaism permits abortion? When I tell Jewish libs that Judaism considers abortion to be murder except for saving the mother’s life, they accuse me of having been “Christianized,” even after I show them the firm and established concensus of Jewish Law in that regard.

    renminbi said,

    “I don’t blame blacks for disliking Jews. Jewish liberals patronize blacks…”

    Excuses, more excuses. And then, on various forums, you get the occasional white American (a Stormfront arrival, in all probability) who says something like, “If Jews don’t stand for White America, they can kiss the support of white Americans goodbye.” Yeah, right: No chance, no chance at all they’d dump the Jews who supported them just as the blacks have done. Then people wonder why Jews have the penchant for considering their interests first—isolationism borne of bitter experience.

  30. Trimegistus Says:


    I think what frustrates conservatives is that Jews don’t consider their interests first. If they did, they’d hardly have entered into this long-term abusive relationship with the Democratic party.

  31. T Says:

    Above, renminbi (7:31 pm) wrote: “I don’t blame blacks for disliking Jews. Jewish liberals patronize blacks-they need to “help” them so they can feel how wonderful they are.”

    If that’s true, then why aren’t all black voters registered Republicans? The Democrats have spent the last half-century patronizing the black voter block so “they [the Dems] “can feel how wonderful they are.”

  32. ziontruth Says:


    You’re right, but only in the sense that “they know so much that isn’t so.” From a Jewish lib’s point of view, voting against those horrid right-wingers is in line with Jewish interests; they just don’t understand the modern Demo-Marxist party is no longer their grandparents’ non-treasonous Left of old.

    It’s against the interests of blacks, Catholics and Jews to vote Democrat—because of patronization (as T says), support of abortion and harboring the new form of Jew-hatred, respectively. But try getting the members of any of those groups to realize that.

    (For the record—shoulda mentioned it in my above post—I’m an observer here, not a participant. I’m an Israeli citizen, not an American.)

  33. Richard Aubrey Says:

    You have to consider what their interests really are. Among other things, their interests are what Jews think their interests are. We are all that way.
    To make a horrid metaphor, if my granddaughter–who is perfect–were menaced by a lion, I would attempt to save her, even though it is against my interests in some objective sense.
    When reality is held at bay by money, by being in a civilized, ordered society (and even more ordered by being in the upscale urban and really upscale suburban settings) where reality is whatever you want it to be, the lesson that reality is going to punch you in the nose whenever it feels like it is lost.
    Thus, reality is whatever is convenient for the way you think. This is not restricted to Jews, but is common to libthink.
    Since libs and, in this discussion, non-Orthodox Jews are coddled, they can afford to think as they wish and nothing will come around to bite them on the ass.
    This habit of thinking becomes permanent.
    So, if you want to see yourself as a right-thinking person, to be down with the right-thinking person crowd, to get the right-thinking person invitations to right-thinking person events, you can do the right-thinking thing and nothing bad will happen.
    I wish I could explain this better.
    I ran across a guy who grew up in Manhattan. He went to a small college in the mountains of the mid-South. So it wasn’t beastly hot in early fall and late spring, nor viciously cold in winter. He’d been to Duluth on business in June, and Phoenix in February.
    He’d gone skiing in Vermont, but he and his buddies would hire a shuttle to drive them. Surprisingly, late adolescents in Manhattan frequently do not have drivers licenses.
    So he got to northern Michigan in January and said, “The @#$%$% weather was trying to kill me!” There were a number of adventures which we think of as routine, if you take care to be prepared, and so frequent as to be not notable. Point is, as a metaphor, reality had been absent from his life.
    Trying to come to a conclusion here. The interests of the Jews who vote dem and lib are to feel good about how they are good people. That it’s going to cost them does not occur to them, because they’ve always been able to think as they wish and society has protected them. Same for libs as a group.
    Possibly on point: Talked to a guy who is pretty Green. Thinking about, but not actually mentioning, the Carrington Effect, I said, what if the only heat available was wood fire. How soon until the state looked like the Great Plains. IOW, until there wasn’t a tree standing. His response was, “Think of the air quality.” Not….all the other problems. People would be too busy dying of pneumonia to worry, I said. I may have expanded his mind, but I wouldn’t put the mortgage on it.

  34. grackle Says:

    Here, at a reputable institution training future rabbis who will shape a generation of American Jews and their attitudes to Israel …

    Academia is academia whether Jewish, non-secular, secular or whatever. And academia was taken over by the Lefties years ago. It’s the standard crap handed out by colleges and universities all over the Western world. Jewish education institutions are no different.

    A lot of it is class bias. Middle and upper-middle class Jews feel much more comfortable and resonant with, say, Episcopalians and Presbyterians than they do with Baptists …

    In my opinion “class bias,” or as I prefer to call it, “snobbery,” accounts for much of the Leftward leanings in Western societies in general, not just Jewish folk. “Not Our Kind, Dear.”

    Simon Kenton: Put another way, you need a very very high IQ to achieve the most inspissated levels of stupidity.

    Thank you, Simon, for adding a new word to my vocabulary. I will try to use it as soon as possible. I like that the word contains within it the word, “piss.”

    Richard Aubrey: I wish I could explain this better.

    Speaking for myself, Richard, you’ve always been one the best explainers on this blog. In fact I’ve always found your comments to be inspissated with erudition.

  35. T Says:

    Richard Aubrey,

    You post has been distilled to the maxim “A liberal is nothing more than a conservative who has not yet been mugged by reality.”

    The real question here, is why so many Jewish voters have avoided or ignored their “mugging by reality?’ I keep wondering if it’s the old (false) connection between Right of Center being equated with Fascism/Hitler/Holocaust, etc. The problem with that is that Jews were also persecuted by the Soviet regime, especially under Stalin, and yet Liberal Jews often identify as Left-Wing verging on Communist (Saul Alinsky, Meyer Schapiro to name only two).

  36. Promethea Says:

    Lots of terrific ideas here on one of my favorite subjects–silly Jews.

    Because this subject is so close to me, I’ve reduced the basic ideas to (1) American Jews are basically stupid. (2) American Jews are comfy in their inherited prejudices. (3) Liberalism is a mental disease.

    It will be “interesting” to see how Jews vote in the next presidential election. I don’t expect much mental growth. If the economy collapses, it will be the fault of “Big Oil,” “Big Pharma,” “Halliburton,” “Bush,””Walmart,” “McDonalds,” or some other demonized person/group yet unknown.

  37. Promethea Says:

    T . . .

    Jews tend to be left-wing because of the Czarist policies against them, which were vicious. The Jewish Bolsheviks in Russia were killed off. The ones in America kept their fantasies of a perfect world.

    Jews tend to be utopians in their thinking. That’s where the ‘liberalism as a mental disease” comes from. Once they fix upon an idea, it’s hard to get them to let go.

    In my household, for example, “high-speed rail” is one of those topic that we can’t discuss. It’s a vision of perfection.

  38. stan Says:

    I don’t care whether Jews vote their best interests. My concern is why they feel good about themselves for voting in ways that do such massive harm to the less fortunate. As a group, they are too smart to believe the BS about the Dems being the party of the little guy. The evidence contradicting that is overwhelming. Instead, they believe it because they want to believe it — it makes them feel good about themselves. And the hell with reality. see e.g. David Mamet

  39. Stark Says:

    Jews have always identified with the underdogs. The Left always claim to care about the underdogs. The Jews buy the arguments and forgive the results and realities.

  40. Promethea Says:

    Stan . . .

    No, Jews aren’t “too smart” to believe the BS. They believe the BS.

    Another point to think about: a lot of Jews are in fields that get government money, like teachers or lawyers. They don’t see the harm that Democratic BS policies do, because these teacher-types (including law professors) get paid from taxpayer monies.

  41. T Says:


    Appreciate the response. I still have a problem with the explanation, though; Czarist policies are 100 years dead and Russian Jews were treated hardly any better by the Soviet Union. I realize that enmity runs deep, but how can they affiliate with the latter as an excuse for avoiding the former?

    I understand the utopianism. The seems to be a basically liberal disease in general; a land of milk and honey thing. Still, this doesn’t explain the generally leftist denial of their mugging by reality. Most recently, Alan Colmes was spouting the talking point that Obama’s stimilus didn’t work simply because it wasn’t large enough. The stimulus could have been thrice as large, still not worked and the excuse would still be that it wasn’t large enough. It seems that denial is genetically inbred on the left.

  42. T Says:


    Your post about recipients of govt money certainly rings true. Along those lines Ann Althouse (althouse.blogspot.com) has a post about the new Walker budget which has taken effect in Wisconsin. It transformed one school district from a $400,000 deficit to a $1.5 million dollar surplus which the district will use to hire new teachers and reduce class size. Althouse points out that this shines a new light on those anti-Walker protestors who carried signs opposing the new budget “for the benefit of the children.”

  43. Parker Says:

    Alex Bensky,

    Thank you.

  44. DNW Says:

    Another outstandingly interesting thread on Neo-Neocon.

  45. ziontruth Says:

    Regarding intelligence, one need only keep in mind what Orwell said: That some ideas are so ridiculous only members of the intelligentsia can believe them.

    Intelligence is a double-edged sword—for anyone, including Jews. For Jews, the sword points the right direction if there’s true Torah (indeed, Republican-voting Jews are overwhelmingly Orthodox), and to the wrong direction, back at the wielder, when there’s the false Torah of Liberalism (to use Norman Podhoretz’s brilliant term).

  46. grackle Says:

    Regarding intelligence, one need only keep in mind what Orwell said: That some ideas are so ridiculous only members of the intelligentsia can believe them.

    The more intelligent a person is the easier it is for them to rationalize their beliefs. The intelligentsia as a class moved firmly to the Left many years ago. Intelligence doesn’t guarantee “rightness,” it only guarantees more “nuance” in their explanation of why they believe and act as they do.

  47. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Thanks. I think.
    Yes, when reality strikes/bites, the conclusion is usually ameliorated by blaming one or another of the usual suspects.
    Thus, reality doesn’t get through.

  48. SteveH Says:

    But liberals know reality. They simply choose to despise it for its connotations. Let one of them hitch hike on a dark road and they’ll pray a devout Christian picks them up.

  49. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Probably feel dirty for doing so.
    Rabbi Lapin refers to a medieval rabbi and writer from Poland who told Jews the following. If you hire a carter to take you someplace, make sure on your way out of town you pass the church. If he doesn’t cross himself, get off the cart and go home.

  50. T Says:

    SteveH and Richard Aubrey,

    Spot on!

    If memory serves, it was Camille Paglia who, in her blog, said that if stuck on a road with a flat tire she would want a Republican to stop and help. She followed that up with an explanation that (I paraphrase) the Republican would actually help and change the tire while the Democrat would convene a committee to investigate why substandard tires were being sold to vulnerable women.

  51. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Richard Aubrey and Promethea, your explanations were excellent. Those in a high income bracket can afford to live in la la land. Also worth noting is imprinting, the psychological response that makes a new born duckling follow the first thing it sees because he thinks it’s his mother. The first politicians to meet the immigrants fresh off the boats were Democrats; the Jews have been following them ever since, assuming that party is their mother.

    Also the rightists were the traditional enemies of the Jews.

    That said to be in such an utter denial of reality argues for the simplest explanation: politically American Jews are stupid, as in 45% would vote for Hitler if he ran as a liberal Democrat.

    Anyway here is Caroline Glick’s take:


  52. Sergey Says:

    Does anybody know if Jewish immigrants from Soviet Union (and there should be plenty of them) are different in their political affiliation from other Jews? Those who left Russia or Ukraine in 1970 or later must have such deeply ingrained hatred to all kinds of Marxist ideology that I expect them to vote Republican. At least, in Israel Soviet repatriants are mostly right-wing, often very much so. Is USA any different?

  53. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Bob from VA.
    I live about seven miles from a small town. IMO, even that, not at all Little House country, makes a difference. If we have a hard snow, we’re not going anyplace. If the power is out, I depend on my woodpile to heat the house, not bitching about fundy Christians. Gardening is tough because the deer eat the stuff we’d plan on eating, plus the hastas. Having small pets is problematic because of the coyotes. Neighbors have to know each other because in case of trouble, we’re closer than the cops. And this is not “in the country” except in the view of the acquaintance who was so gobsmacked by the blind malevolence of a midwestern winter. It would be interesting to think more about whether the further you get from the metro area, the more likely you are to be conservative and if any of the difference is because of the difference in how you have to live.
    Decades ago, i ran into a guy who was researching various commonalities among MOH awardees. Small towns, I suggested. He looked at me as if i were an idiot. That’s so obvious it was hardly worth researching.
    Speaking of which, a nearby small town, Holland, MI, is supposed to have birthed four MOH awardees. Have to check that out. Not only small town; conservative Dutch Christian.

  54. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Yup, four.

    Tom Wolfe, writing of the beginning of stock car racing, noted that more MOH awardees were born within twenty miles of Junior Johnson’s back porch than in all of Manhattan.
    Wolfe sometimes exaggerates, but not actually to the point of making false factual statements.

  55. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Here is the dumbest thing anyone on this blog has ever written (and it’s all mine):
    With regard to la la land and the Obama reign because of it; has it occurred to anyone that since the current Democratic party owes its survival to the evasion of reality by a large portion of the US electorate and that it takes trauma to change behavior that perhaps it would be better if Obama were re-elected. He would destroy the economy and bring hardship in ways we can’t imagine, but the pain would or could mature the electorate in a way that would eventually be beneficial to the US.

  56. bon homme richard Says:

    I was actually stunned speechless after shul last Shabbat when a woman, in her eighties, mind you, said, “Israel can take care of itself. What I care about is abortion rights!” I literally could not respond, which for me is pretty rare.

    As many of you have pointed out, for most Jews today, Judaism is religionized leftism. Yes, if Adolph Hitler ran on the Democratic tiicket, the majority of Jews would vote for him.

    The only thing I can posit to explain that is that for the last 2,000 years, Jews had “Scratch a goy, and you’ll find an anti-Semite,” beaten in to them the hard way.

    Republican is synonymous with “goy” to them, so that’s the way they react. Even to Jewish Republicans. Maybe Lysenko was right.

    BTW, I know quite a few Jews from the Former Soviet Union. They are, to a person, firmly, not to say wildly, Republican.

  57. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Well, there was the Revolutionary War….

  58. Bachmann’s Week On The Anvil – They, and I mean THEY, Won’t Stop Talking Mormon – Anyone Else Running? | Article VI Blog | John Schroeder Says:

    […] are the MSM helping their friends the Dems.  Obama is in as much  trouble with the Move On types (not to mention moderates) as any Republican nominee will be with the most rabid of the Tea Party folk.  All I can say is […]

  59. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    In re the questions of “why Jews” do this or that, let me just remind you:

    Jews are like everybody else, only more so.

    Yes, it’s a joke, but I mean it seriously too. We Jews have our faults, plenty of them, but they’re not universal to us by any means. It just seems more pronounced among Jews sometimes.

    And by similar reasoning, Israelis are just like Jews, only more so, in many ways. (Israel, and Israelis, are often depicted as bloodthirsty warmongers. I try to remind people of the massive demonstrations in Tel Aviv against the first Lebanon War, 1982-1985. One demonstration attracted ten percent of the entire Israeli population. Ten percent! What would a gathering of ten percent of Americans look like?)

    Israelis, though, have the “advantage” of living in a rough neighborhood. Reality can be hard to escape from.

    They do their best, though. The garden they have made bloom in the desert is beautiful, but those living in it can sometimes forget the harshness of the desert.

    Nonetheless, Israelis know that ignoring reality can kill them. And they know whose side Obama is on. Last I looked, his popularity in Israel was approaching single digits.

    Daniel in Brookline

  60. Richard Aubrey Says:

    It appears, from your statement about Israeli Jews, that reality does have an effect.
    Point is, in the US, Jews and libs in general are shielded from reality and are thus free to pursue other interests, such as self-esteem through self-congratulatory and publicly-flaunted liberalism.

  61. Bob From Virginia Says:

    The latest is that the smartest person in the world is opening conversations with the Moslem Brotherhood. Anyone care to guess if it will make anyone anywhere in the US electorate a bit less reality challenged. I’ll venture that anyone who still supports Obmessiah is so far down the rabbit hole that imminent death would produce indifference.

  62. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Bob. If they could blame it on the greedy rich, they probably wouldn’t mind very much.

  63. Wandriaan Says:

    Jews need only to return to Judaism. When they do that, they will revile everything that Leftism, the Democrats and Progressivism stand for.
    But, as it is, they have been brainwashed by leftist claptrap, even more so (but not that much more) than Catholics.
    A problem is also that Jews are clever. Clever people can be wise. But more often than not their cleverness blocks their ability to see that they are fooled by their own ego.
    In terms of wisdom cleverness is -like physical beauty- more an impediment than an advantage.

  64. Parker Says:

    Alex Bensky,

    If you are still following this thread….

    I read the article by Jennifer Rubin and it helped me to see my question in a different light but I remain muddled nonetheless. What I do not understand, and admit I’m incapable of understanding, is how people (individuals and a group of individuals who identify as Jews) are unable to see that they are cooperating in their own destruction. Where does this come from? 3 millennium of persecution should make one “smell the coffee”! More power to the Israelis who are willing to resist until death.

    I am a member of a large, extended clan of people who are connected by blood. Woe to any who seek to harm a member of my kin.

  65. Lenny Taylor Says:

    I like your blog, tried to email, but it was returned.

    Please have a look at this youtube video and facebook survey regarding the motives behind the flotilla.



    Feel free to pass this on to any of your friends, as well. Thanks.
    G-d Bless

    Lenny Taylor

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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