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American Jews, Liberalism, and the Democratic Party:

I may make a more detailed contribution to the debate soon, but for now I wanted to point out that Norman Podhoretz and others are conflating two separate issues: the first is why American Jews are generally more liberal than are other Americans, and the second is why American Jews are so attached to the Democratic Party, especially in presidential elections, such that even Jews who are moderate to moderately conservative are presumptive Democratic voters.

On the former issue, one obvious reason is that Jews tend to be much more secular than Americans as a whole, and that religious Jews tend not to be inclined to want to impose "Jewish values" on other Americans. But it's also true, and not widely appreciated, that on economic issues, at least, Jews have become much more conservative over time. Ilya has pointed out that American Jews are right in the mainstream on economic issues. This is a great change from the past. Very few American Jews were to the right of Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s. About 1/3 of Jews in the 1930s were Socialists (including my maternal grandfather). You would be hard-pressed to find one-tenth that percentage today. A persistent myth is that most American Jewish immigrants were very religious, and only adopted radical politics when exposed to American working conditions. In fact, the most religiously committed Jews tended to stay in Europe, where they had a vast communal infrastructure. (My paternal grandfather's cousin's very religious family came to the U.S., and then, to their great misfortune, left the triefe medinah because of the lack of religiosity they found and returned home. There was one survivor.) A significant percentage of immigrants to the U.S. were young rebels who wanted to escape communal strictures. They brought their generally radical socialist politics with them.

On the issue of party identification, Ilya is clearly right that Jews fear/despise the Christian right, and that is a good part of the reason Jews are loyal to national Democratic candidates (local candidates like Rudy Giuliani have received a majority of Jewish votes). But I was surprised he didn't bring up political ignorance. In my experience, and I'm quite certain the data would back this up, American Jews tend to substantially overestimate anti-Semitism among evangelical Christians (who in fact are not any more anti-Semitic than the average, and are more likely to be philo-Semitic), even more substantially overestimate the (in fact very small) percentage of evangelicals who support Israel to hasten the end of days at which time Israel and the Jews will be destroyed. The vast majority of evangelicals who support Israel do so for other reasons.

Meanwhile, Jews substantially underestimate the level of anti-Semitism among core Democratic constituencies (among the most anti-Semitic groups in the country are African Americans, Latinos, Arab Americans, and high school dropouts, though I should add that most members of those groups are not anti-Semitic), and the hostility to Israel shown by various left-wing groups with influence in Democratic politics.

UPDATE: I should add that I'm a strong adherent to the theory that party identification among people who are not highly ideological or very interested in politics (most people, including most Jews) is at least as much a matter of cultural identification--which party represents people like me, is accepting of people like me, has active members who I'd feel comfortable socializing with, and the like--as policy-related. If Jews tend to think that the Republican Party is full of anti-Semites and the Democratic Party is not, they will tend to identify with the Democrats. Israel comes in as a cultural marker, as Jews tend to associate hostility to Israel with hostility to Jews, which is, in fact, a correlation backed up by studies showing that there is a significant correlation.

MAM:
I would suggest that Mr. Bernstein might be overstating the amount of anti-semitism from other less affluent minorities and might be conflating anti-semitism with anti-paternalism or class envy, at least as related to black-jewish relations.
9.17.2009 11:14am
Connie:
Saying "we love you and anticipate Christ's return so you will become Christian" may seem more anti- than philo-semetic to Jews.
9.17.2009 11:15am
John (mail):
The distinction you make is a good one. I am Jewish and can't believe the number of my Jewish friends who are almost radically conservative on business issues and taxation, yet cannot bring themselves to vote for a Republican. Their main point is that Republicans simply don't care about the well being of others, support "selfish" attitudes, are mean, and so forth.

So it comes down to some bizarre allegiance to the big D, some bizarre distrust/disaffection for the big R, without regard to actualities. We are all ruled by our stereotypes.
9.17.2009 11:18am
yankev (mail):

Meanwhile, Jews substantially underestimate the level of anti-Semitism among core Democratic constituencies (among the most anti-Semitic groups in the country are African Americans, Latinos, Arab Americans, and high school dropouts, though I should add that most members of those groups are not anti-Semitic), and the hostility to Israel shown by various left-wing groups with influence in Democratic politics.
And now we can count how many posts until we get a tiresome litany of every anti-semitic or anti-Israel remark, action or association by anyone even remotely associated with the GOP over the last 80 years. Some of them will even be true, but not one of them will be relevant to Prof. Bernstein's thesis.


A significant percentage of immigrants to the U.S. were young rebels who wanted to escape communal strictures. They brought their generally radical socialist politics with them.
My great grandfather came in the early 1900s because he did not want the privilege of serving a few more decades in the Tsar's army. (An acquaintance of mine surmises he may have read about war brewing between Japan and Russia.) As planned, his stint in the Russian Army did much to remove him from Jewish observance, though I'm told that after they came to the US he still spoke Yiddish at home and was a devotee of the Yiddish theater.

Jewish immigrants in the early 20th Century found a thriving Yiddish theater, a Yiddish press that ranged from secular to socialist, and communal self-help organizations (employment help, ESL classes -they didn't call it that at the time, free loan societies, social welfare funded by the community, not the government), but very little in the way of reliable kashrus, religious schools other than pitiful afternoon cheders, religious communal structure, rabbinic authorities -- there was good reason that those who considered religion important tended to stay in Europe.
9.17.2009 11:20am
luci:
From my experience, anti-christian (not anti-religious, but specifically anti-christian) sentiment among jews is far more prevalent than anti-semitism among christians.
9.17.2009 11:22am
DavidBernstein (mail):
religious schools other than pitiful afternoon cheders
Bernstein dad: "how did dinosaurs fit on Noah's ark?" Heder teacher: "Vas ist 'dinosaur?'" B.D.: "Here's a book with some pictures." H.T., after examining book carefully: "Goyishe bubbemeise".
9.17.2009 11:23am
Hadur:

Saying "we love you and anticipate Christ's return so you will become Christian" may seem more anti- than philo-semetic to Jews.


Christianity is an evangelical faith -- it urges its adherents to go out and convert members of other faiths.

I am a committed atheist, but when my Christian friends try to convert me, I take it as a compliment, because I know that they are acting out of love, and not hate. What better act of friendship than securing eternal salvation for somebody?
9.17.2009 11:27am
Hadur:

From my experience, anti-christian (not anti-religious, but specifically anti-christian) sentiment among jews is far more prevalent than anti-semitism among christians.


I haven't encountered this at all, and I've spent the last decade of my life at schools where at least 25-50% of the students are Jewish.

(I'm genetically Jewish -- my mitochondria are, at least -- but I wasn't raised Jewish, so virtually no Jews consider me Jewish)

Then again, maybe racist Jews -- like racist gentiles -- are woefully unrepresented at institutes of higher learning.
9.17.2009 11:31am
Guesto12:
Naturally, David Bernstein (like Podhoretz and Somin and all the other conservatives/libertarians who see Jewish belief in liberal values as some sort of pathology) neglects the simple reason that Jews are overwhelmingly liberal and progressive: Jews are highly educated and highly educated people tend to believe in progressive values (a strong state dedicated to caring for members of society least able to care for themselves; universal health coverage; respecting scientific consensus when it comes to things like global warming and other environmental concerns; and, general protection of minorities and minority rights whether it's homosexuals, Latinos, Blacks, etc.).

Of course, the fact that Jews are progressive must also be due to logical fallacy or irrational ignorance on their part, right, Bernstein? Truly, I am sorry that you are not accepted by the majority of Jewish political-types, but it's your fault, not theirs.
9.17.2009 11:33am
JoshK (mail):
I thought that in the US Jews generally were strong republican voters once there was a significant Jewish population in the US. I've read that it was some very aggressive ethnic politicians in the New York area who help bridge and Irish-Jewish democratic coalition against the German/English rep block in the early thirties. Most US Jews (I'm sure almost all of your typical Ashkenazi dem leaning secular) have New York in their family history. I think this may color it a bit.

I think also many Jews associate F Coughlin with the opposition to FDR (despite that he was an early supporter) and that has lasted in many Jewish minds.
9.17.2009 11:34am
Jiffy:
I would have thought that Jews' concerns about the Christian right as a political force has less to do with anti-semetism and more to do with the Christian right's desire to base government policy, public school curricula, etc. on Christian religious doctrine.
9.17.2009 11:37am
DangerMouse:
From my experience, anti-christian (not anti-religious, but specifically anti-christian) sentiment among jews is far more prevalent than anti-semitism among christians.

I wonder if that's really true. Is it just that they don't care about Christianity, or are they actively hostile?
9.17.2009 11:37am
richard1 (mail):
In my experience, and I'm quite certain the data would back this up, American Jews tend to substantially overestimate anti-Semitism among evangelical Christians (who in fact are not any more anti-Semitic than the average, and are more likely to be philo-Semitic), even more substantially overestimate the (in fact very small) percentage of evangelicals who support Israel to hasten the end of days at which time Israel and the Jews will be destroyed. The vast majority of evangelicals who support Israel do so for other reasons.

You're simply making this up. Give us some facts. In my experience, a substantial percentage of evangelical Christains (especially in the Deep South) dislike Jews. Some of them support Israel (for a variety of reasons) but still dislike American Jews. And that percentage is far higher than the percentage of Jew haters among non-evangelical Christians.
9.17.2009 11:39am
pot meet kettle (mail):

And now we can count how many posts until we get a tiresome litany of every anti-semitic or anti-Israel remark, action or association by anyone even remotely associated with the GOP over the last 80 years. Some of them will even be true, but not one of them will be relevant to Prof. Bernstein's thesis.


Hmm? How would they not be relevant to Prof. B's thesis? First off, there is the question of whether the allegiance of the groups DB mentions to the Dems is because of their anti-semitism, or whether it forces the Dem opinion makers to be anti-semitic in either policy or worldview. Of course, this is so blazingly obvious that I am a little puzzled as to why DB doesn't mention it, because otherwise, it just seems to be a non-sequitur that there are Dem supporters who are anti-semitic. Much like Ilya mentioned earlier that he is willing to align with racists towards a greater good.

Second, there is the question of whether GOP opinion makers have historically espoused an anti-semitic or exclusionary viewpoint. I realize that your comment was defensive because pointing out the anti-semitism (in action, remark and worldview) of such conservative idols as Bill Buckley (among others) is easier than shooting wolf packs from a helicopter. But they are very relevant insofar as you believe that Jews will join the group which they believe is less anti-semitic.
9.17.2009 11:40am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Of course, the fact that Jews are progressive must also be due to logical fallacy or irrational ignorance on their part, right, Bernstein?
Despite your snarky nastiness, I'll respond and say you are right that one reason Jews are liberal on social issues don't diverge in many ways from the views of American non-Jews with similar demographics (disproportionately secular, urban, educated--but far from all Jews are "well-educated"--, with few or no children, in professions like law and medicine). But as Ilya pointed out, American Jews are not, in fact, especially liberal on economic issues.
Party identification is all about cultural identification, so it's a natural place to look for political ignorance.
9.17.2009 11:40am
Hadur:


I wonder if that's really true. Is it just that they don't care about Christianity, or are they actively hostile?


The only group that I have seen my Jewish friends be hostile towards is Jews for Jesus. They seem to really, really, really hate those people in a way that strikes me as irrational and disproportionate.
9.17.2009 11:42am
DavidBernstein (mail):
You're simply making this up. Give us some facts. In my experience, a substantial percentage of evangelical Christains (especially in the Deep South) dislike Jews. Some of them support Israel (for a variety of reasons) but still dislike American Jews. And that percentage is far higher than the percentage of Jew haters among non-evangelical Christians
I really don't feel like looking this up, but I've linked several times before to the ADL study that shows that evangelical Christians are not more anti-Semitic than other Americans. The fact that you so vociferously believe otherwise goes right to my point.

Second, there is the question of whether GOP opinion makers have historically espoused an anti-semitic or exclusionary viewpoint
9.17.2009 11:43am
itshissong:
"who in fact are not any more anti-Semitic than the average, and are more likely to be philo-Semitic"

I don't know about anyone else but, as a jew, I would find philo-semetism almost as repulsive as anti-semetism. Anything that essentializes judaisism or jews or thinks about us as a monolith is at best creepy and at worst repugnant.
9.17.2009 11:44am
DangerMouse:
One factor that may explain why American Jews are libs is because as a group, they are more self-selecting and self-isolating from the rest of the populace. This inherent isolation does a lot to explain how liberal fantasies about the world can foster in the mind, free from the harsh truths of reality. Thus, you get libs who think that we can all smoke a peace pipe and buy the world a Coke, and everything will be ok, or that giving endless welfare to a person won't make them dependent on the government, etc.
9.17.2009 11:47am
Rich B. (mail):
I think looking back to Roosevelt or the old county, or socialist grandparent, or whatever, misses the point. Jews are not Democrats because of inertia.

Historically, Republican Warren Harding got 43% of the Jewish vote in 1920. Ike got 40% in 1956. Nixon got 35% in 1972; Reagan got 39% in 1980. Jews were a Dem-leaning swing constituency right up through Reagan. In 2008, 78% of Jews voted for Obama (83% of "White Jews" according to CNN Exit Polls).

This is not a story of Jews voting Democratic, and not changing after their "interests" (or whatever) changed. Jews are more Democratic than they have ever been over the last 20 years. For the change, look to present politics -- not historic antecedents.
9.17.2009 11:48am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Whoops, hit post too soon.

Second, there is the question of whether GOP opinion makers have historically espoused an anti-semitic or exclusionary viewpoint
You mean like Father Coughlin and Theodore Bilbo, both Democrats? More recently (and obviously not as intensely), Jesse Jackson? Harry Truman (as various biographies have revealed). You can obviously find counterparts among the Republicans, the idea that the Democrats have historically been innocent of anti-Semitism and the Republicans laden with it is false. And as far as voters go, while Republican WASPs were anti-Semitic, so were pre-Vatican II urban Catholics. The Irish kids who used to beat up Jewish kids on their way to school weren't from Republican families.
9.17.2009 11:49am
DangerMouse:
The only group that I have seen my Jewish friends be hostile towards is Jews for Jesus. They seem to really, really, really hate those people in a way that strikes me as irrational and disproportionate.

What about Jews who convert to Christianity? Are those people hated?
9.17.2009 11:49am
itshissong:
"You mean like Father Coughlin and Theodore Bilbo, both Democrats?"

While the latter examples of Jesse Jackson and Harry Truman are appropriate don't you think Bilbo and Coughlin are a little misleading in sense that they would no doubt be Republicans in our modern day politics?
9.17.2009 11:53am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I think looking back to Roosevelt or the old county, or socialist grandparent, or whatever, misses the point. Jews are not Democrats because of inertia.
I never said Jews are Dems because of inertia, nor that they are liberal because of inertia. In fact, I noted that Jews have gotten much less liberal on economic issues over time. What I did say, with regard to party i.d., is that Jews overestimate how hostile core Republican constituencies, particularly evangelical Christians, are to them, and underestimate the hostility of core Dem. constituencies. It's not surprising that the Jewish Republican vote has actually gone down since 1980, which marked the election in which evangelical Christians starting becoming identified with the Republicans (they had a strong majority for Carter, a fellow southern evangelical, in 1976, and historically were strong Democrats).
9.17.2009 11:54am
Allan (mail):
Jews are paranoid.

After England in the 13th century.
After Spain/Portugal in the 15th century.
After Russia in the early 20th century.
After Germany in the mid-20th Century.

Jews are afraid of a strong central government handing "traditional" values down to the people. This tends to lead to scapegoating. And the scapegoats are the Jews.

Thus, Jews shy away from anything that imposes one group's value system on another. For better or worse, that is the Republican party of today.

The paranoia generally prevails over economic preferences.

IMHO
9.17.2009 11:57am
Jiffy:

This inherent isolation does a lot to explain how liberal fantasies about the world can foster in the mind, free from the harsh truths of reality.


I thought it was Republicans who criticized Democrats for being the "reality-based community." Anyway, in the days of Glen Beck and birthers, it's pretty funny to see this sort of critique of liberalism.
9.17.2009 11:59am
pot meet kettle (mail):

You mean like Father Coughlin and Theodore Bilbo, both Democrats? More recently (and obviously not as intensely), Jesse Jackson? Harry Truman (as various biographies have revealed).


The idea that Father Coughlin was a dem opinion maker, or that Theodore Bilbo was a Dem luminary (and further, he is more of a traditional southern white supremacist, a truly bipartisan ideal) stretches credulity, as does the idea that Jesse Jackson's anti-semitism is a fundamental plank of his association with the democratic party. As I said in my earlier comment.

On the other hand, the anti-semitism of Bill Buckley was foundational to his conservative worldview of WASP supremacy. Of course, I am not suggesting that Dems are innocent of anti-semitism or of troglodyte worldviews, but Republicans, even as recently as Nixon, have been specifically contemptuous of Jews.
9.17.2009 12:02pm
DangerMouse:
Thus, Jews shy away from anything that imposes one group's value system on another. For better or worse, that is the Republican party of today.

Libs impose their values all over society. We see it all the time. Acceptance of homosexuality, radical feminism treating all men as rapists, radical black identity that hates "whitey", etc. Those values are core to the guilt and hatrid embodying liberalism today and which at their essence revolve around radical egalitarianism and radical individualism. Those values are imposed all the time on a populace that for the most part reject them.
9.17.2009 12:03pm
Dantheman (mail):
Ilya (at least in his comments) has it right, not David. Jews are values voters. They just have values very different than David thinks they should.

Searching for why Jews vote Democratic based on economics, support for Israel, the Christian right or anti-semitism of the parties is heading in the wrong direction. They vote Democratic because of the parties' stands on social issues ranging from abortion and end of life decisions to school prayer and vouchers.
9.17.2009 12:03pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
And I should add that it was only in starting with the 1980s that evangelicals, organized as such, became important players in national politics.
9.17.2009 12:03pm
DangerMouse:
I thought it was Republicans who criticized Democrats for being the "reality-based community." Anyway, in the days of Glen Beck and birthers, it's pretty funny to see this sort of critique of liberalism.

Especially since Beck denounced the birthers, along with Colter and other conservtives. Apparently, you stil live in fantasyland.
9.17.2009 12:04pm
Arr-Squared (mail):
Why not simply take the parsimonious and empirically-justifiable route and explore the possibility that Jewish people are much more likely to identify as Democrats instead of Republicans because Jewish-Americans are significantly concentrated in urban areas, which overwhelmingly skew Democratic?

I think I know the answer, but perhaps Bernstein will reply.
9.17.2009 12:04pm
byomtov (mail):
The only group that I have seen my Jewish friends be hostile towards is Jews for Jesus. They seem to really, really, really hate those people in a way that strikes me as irrational and disproportionate.

This is based on the group's use of the word "Jews" and related tactics, not on its actual beliefs. This is dishonest and extremely annoying. I imagine Catholics would not be fond of a group that called itself "The Non-trinitarian Catholic Church."
9.17.2009 12:05pm
Hadur:
Before I can hate a fringe group, I have to first take it seriously. Jews for Jesus is a punchline for most non-Jews.
9.17.2009 12:07pm
DangerMouse:
They vote Democratic because of the parties' stands on social issues ranging from abortion and end of life decisions to school prayer and vouchers.

This merely says that libs vote for libs. It doesn't get to WHY so many Jews are libs.

Someone posted in yesterday's thread that Jews are more mother-centric in terms of nurturing their children, whereas other Americans are more father-centric in providing an authority figure in the family. I think that that kind of difference has a lot more to do with why Jews are libs than anything else. That sort of upbringing, which frankly I think is ridiculous, probably explains liberal pathologies not just among Jews but among many in America.
9.17.2009 12:08pm
Steve:
I think focusing on the personal anti-semitism of Republicans and their supporters misses the point. As Prof. Bernstein has noted elsewhere, it has more to do with the affiliation between the GOP and people who want prayer in schools, official recognition of the US as a Christian nation, etc. A snarky person might refer to these folks as "objectively anti-semitic" since they seek to promote Christianity to the exclusion of other beliefs.
9.17.2009 12:09pm
zuch (mail) (www):
John:
The distinction you make is a good one. I am Jewish and can't believe the number of my Jewish friends who are almost radically conservative on business issues and taxation, yet cannot bring themselves to vote for a Republican. Their main point is that Republicans simply don't care about the well being of others, support "selfish" attitudes, are mean, and so forth.
You have to realize that in the last couple decades, the GOP has been swallowed by the screaming nutcases we saw on display last Saturday, and moderates, economically conservative Republicans are an endangered, if not nearlly extinct, species. Lincoln Chafee and other former Republicans have talked about this on MSNBC.

I shouldn't complain, of course. This devolution of the Republican party may well make for a generation lost to "conservatism" if not more. But the spectacle is -- at times -- enough to produce projectile emesis of the popcorn we're munching.

Cheers,
9.17.2009 12:09pm
Archon (mail):
The thing I never got about Jews and liberalism is that liberal Jews support public policies such as abortion which is then abhorred in their own insular community.

Is it just because that means less goyim around? Or is there another explanation?
9.17.2009 12:09pm
erp:
Perhaps the media have set the stage for Jewish uneasiness because fundamental Christians have for decades been portrayed as dangerous religious fanatics.

One thing I've learned over the years is that while most Jews vote for liberals in state and federal elections, they vote for conservatives in local elections.

NIMBY being a notion that cuts across all genders, races, religions and national origins.
9.17.2009 12:11pm
yankev (mail):

Saying "we love you and anticipate Christ's return so you will become Christian" may seem more anti- than philo-semetic to Jews.
To me it never seems anti- so much as creepy. After all, they are offering me what to them is the most valuable thing in the world, even though it is of negative value to me.

It reminds me of the who is convinced that he is the gods' gift to women and that the greatest event in any woman's life would be going to bed with him. For some reason he can never figure out why any woman would turn him down, let alone find him tiresome or take offense.
9.17.2009 12:13pm
richard1 (mail):
I really don't feel like looking this up, but I've linked several times before to the ADL study that shows that evangelical Christians are not more anti-Semitic than other Americans. The fact that you so vociferously believe otherwise goes right to my point

The fact that I'm vociferous about this is that it is an opinion based on my experience. You state in your post that "in your experience" evangelical Christians are not more anti-Semitic than other Christians. My experience is otherwise. I dont have a surname usually associated with being Jewish (it sounds vaguely Irish) and don't have stereotypical Semitic features. As a result, when I am with a group of Christians it is often assumed I am one of them. I therefore often hear the casual slurs - "he tried to Jew me down" and "those Jews sure do stick together" - as well as the more vicious attacks. Its rare that I hear those type of comments when I'm with a group of Lutherans or Catholics. It's much more common to hear those type of comments when I'm with evangelicals.
9.17.2009 12:14pm
Rich B. (mail):

It's not surprising that the Jewish Republican vote has actually gone down since 1980, which marked the election in which evangelical Christians starting becoming identified with the Republicans (they had a strong majority for Carter, a fellow southern evangelical, in 1976, and historically were strong Democrats).


And yet, six weeks before the election, Mr. Bernstein prediction that McCain "started with a base of the 25% that Bush received in 2004, would almost certainly do better . . . but he's still on track to have the best Republican perfomance among Jewish voters since at least Ronald Reagan in 1980."

link

In fact, McCain underperformed Bush v.2004, who was more associated with the religious right than Sen. McCain.

I believe that Jews are finding that Democrats more closely match their views on both social and economic issues than do Republicans, and are voting accordingly.
9.17.2009 12:16pm
DangerMouse:
richard1,

Nevertheless, you are essentially admitting that you're a bigot who sterotypes evangelical Christians, against the face of data showing that such sterotypes don't apply. It's like saying blacks are stupid when the data shows that they're just as intelligent as anyone else.

Get over your bigotry.
9.17.2009 12:19pm
Connecticut Lawyer (mail):
Jewish women vote Democratic because they value abortion rights. They value abortion rights because they think it's important that women should be able to have sex free from consequences. Jewish men support abortion rights because they want to have sex with Jewish women.
9.17.2009 12:19pm
zuch (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:
One factor that may explain why American Jews are libs is because as a group, they are more self-selecting and self-isolating from the rest of the populace. This inherent isolation does a lot to explain how liberal fantasies about the world can foster in the mind, free from the harsh truths of reality. Thus, you get libs who think that we can all smoke a peace pipe and buy the world a Coke, and everything will be ok,...
Wow. Wonderful satire. Didn't think you were up to it, based on your previous postings, but my hat's off to you, DM!

Say, didn't I see you on the mall last Saturday? How was it?

I'd also note that you won't make too many friends telling any Jewish people here that they're cloistered, misinformed eedjits.

Cheers,
9.17.2009 12:21pm
zuch (mail) (www):
"You can obviously find counterparts among the Republicans...."
Nixon.

Cheers,
9.17.2009 12:24pm
DangerMouse:
I'd also note that you won't make too many friends telling any Jewish people here that they're cloistered, misinformed eedjits.

You seem to automatically equate liberal with Jewish. Interesting. Here, I thought we were talking about trends and majorities. There's plenty of conservative Jews out there too. In any event, I'm not interested in making friends among libs. Modern-day liberalism is an evil philosophy. To the extent the ignorant believe it, they're dupes. To the extent the intelligent believe it, they're evil. End of story.
9.17.2009 12:28pm
cbyler (mail):
Bernstein, as usual, misses the point that most American Jews don't view the advancement of Bernstein's agenda for Israel as identical with their own self-interest.

One reason why (some) Jews might have a hairtrigger on the issue of minority-bashing is obvious - first they came for the illegal Mexicans, are you going to speak up or not? Protection for minority rights is an issue whose connection to Jewish self-interest is blatantly obvious, and one party is for vigorous protection of minority rights, the other surprisingly openly against it.


Come to think of it, if you want to know why American Jews are liberal, why don't you just ask them? Commission a survey or something. If someone hasn't done so already. I suppose they might lie, or more plausibly, misunderstand their own motivations, but it would be a hell of a lot better jumping off point than pontificating in a vacuum. A sufficiently detailed survey could also resolve the culture war vs. economic policies vs. foreign policy confusion caused by partisan politics rolling all three axes together.

Most likely you would find that the reasons are as diverse as the American Jewish community - something that questions of the form "Why do Jews do/think X?" structurally discourage thinking about.


P.S. What about the role of region and urbanization? Jews are not uniformly distributed through America, IIRC, but concentrated in blue states and in urban areas, both associated with more liberalism. Are urban blue-state Jews *even more liberal* than their urban blue-state non-Jewish neighbors, or only more liberal than Nebraska farmers? If the latter, then there's no need to look for specifically Jewish causal factors at all. They just grow up in liberal cultures and absorb them the same way everyone else does.
9.17.2009 12:29pm
DangerMouse:
Also, I didn't think it was satire to say that libs think they can buy the world a Coke. Didn't Obama just do that today by totally abandoning our Polish allies and capitulating to the Russians? He got nothing in return for abandoning missle defense, not even a concession on Iran or anything. He's a wimp, and thinks that by abandoning our strength it'll make people like us. Classic "buy the world a Coke" mentality.
9.17.2009 12:32pm
Seamus (mail):


I really don't feel like looking this up, but I've linked several times before to the ADL study that shows that evangelical Christians are not more anti-Semitic than other Americans. The fact that you so vociferously believe otherwise goes right to my point



The fact that I'm vociferous about this is that it is an opinion based on my experience.



As we all know, anecdotal evidence trumps hard data every time.
9.17.2009 12:32pm
zuch (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:
[zuch]: I'd also note that you won't make too many friends telling any Jewish people here that they're cloistered, misinformed eedjits.
You seem to automatically equate liberal with Jewish.
Here's what you said, 'explaining' why American Jews are liberal:
[DangerMouse]: "One factor that may explain why American Jews are libs is because as a group, they are more self-selecting and self-isolating from the rest of the populace. This inherent isolation does a lot to explain how liberal fantasies about the world can foster in the mind, free from the harsh truths of reality."
You 'explained' it perfectly well. Now sit in it.

Cheers,
'
9.17.2009 12:38pm
yankev (mail):
Archon -

The thing I never got about Jews and liberalism is that liberal Jews support public policies such as abortion which is then abhorred in their own insular community.
You have your communities (or our communities) confused. Those Jews who steadfastly support legal abortion on demand do not subscribe to traditional Jewish beliefs on the topic. And those of them who still affiliate with a synagogue would generally not ask their Rabbi for advice or guidance on what they consider a personal decision. Within the Orthodox community, there is a spectrum of opinion from restricting abortion to what is sometimes called "reluctantly pro-choice" -- the latter out of a concern that the narrow circumstances in which Orthodox Judaism permits -- and in some cases even requires - abortion is still broader than "life of the mother" as most non-Jews think of the term, and because they do not want a secular judge deciding whether or not Jewish law permits an abortion in a given situation.

Dantheman
They vote Democratic because of the parties' stands on social issues ranging from abortion and end of life decisions to school prayer and vouchers.

I tend to agree. It is a measure of how deeply our 200 year exile has estranged many American Jews from any understanding of Jewish values. Abortion? Forbidden, except in very narrowly defined circumstances. As to end of life issues, which ones? Assisted suicide? Absolutely forbidden. Terminating life support? Varies from case to case and requires careful rabbinic consultation. Witholding IV or nasogastric nutrition and hydration? Absolutely forbidden. School prayer? I'm with you on that one, but the late Lubavticher Rebbe zt'l, if I'm not mistaken, thought that Christian prayer in public school was preferable to G-dless schools. (And from my experiences at non-Jewish camp, Christian prayer, if nothing else, reminds us we are different -- not such a bad thing to be reminded in an open society like ours.) School vouchers -- differening opinions, but public schools can be a powerful vehicle for assimilation and intermarriage.


As far as the education/intelligence argument, after seeing how many places it has failed, how can any educated intelligent person believe that it is good for society if the government takes money away from people who earn it and give it to people who don't care to or who earn less?
9.17.2009 12:38pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
I agree with DangerMouse that this is simply bigotry. If you heard the same fact-free theorizing about Jews and Jewish dogma from Evangelicals, the ADL would surely call it out. To be sure, Jews have suffered a lamentable history of persecution from the Church in the past, yet now some of them wish apparently to indulge the same fantasies in the present, strangely just as that kind of ugliness abated.
9.17.2009 12:39pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
Notice the difference between "more" and "any" as categorical qualifiers.
9.17.2009 12:41pm
zuch (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:
Also, I didn't think it was satire to say that libs think they can buy the world a Coke.
Oh. My misteak. Mea culpa, and I take back what I said.

Cheers,
9.17.2009 12:41pm
c.gray (mail):

On the other hand, the anti-semitism of Bill Buckley was foundational to his conservative worldview of WASP supremacy.


A devaout Catholic who started his rhetorical career bashing conservative anti-semites was actually an anti-semite in search of White Protestant supremacy?

If you say so.
9.17.2009 12:42pm
yankev (mail):

As a result, when I am with a group of Christians it is often assumed I am one of them. I therefore often hear the casual slurs - "he tried to Jew me down" and "those Jews sure do stick together" - as well as the more vicious attacks. Its rare that I hear those type of comments when I'm with a group of Lutherans or Catholics.
Non-evangelicals who might blanch at hearing "jew him down" are perfectly comfortable with using "talmudic" or "pharisee" as an insult.
9.17.2009 12:43pm
Jiffy:

I agree with DangerMouse that this is simply bigotry. If you heard the same fact-free theorizing about Jews and Jewish dogma from Evangelicals, the ADL would surely call it out.


You mean, if someone said something like:

One factor that may explain why American Jews are libs is because as a group, they are more self-selecting and self-isolating from the rest of the populace. This inherent isolation does a lot to explain how liberal fantasies about the world can foster in the mind, free from the harsh truths of reality.
9.17.2009 12:43pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I don't really follow why commenters are attacking me for not raising issues they think I should raise. I prefaced by writing, "I may make a more detailed contribution to the debate soon," so obviously I don't think that I was discussing very possible facet of the issue, just making a few salient points. Also, it would be helpful if commenters would actually read the post and the links before commenting. That will avoid commenters writing that Jews are liberal because they support the economic underdog, when the data shows that they are not economically liberal compared to other Americans.
9.17.2009 12:47pm
DangerMouse:
How is that bigoted, Jiffy? If, in fact, American Jews are largely concentrated in the urban areas of America, then like it or not they're isolated from much of the country. You've gotta get out of the Upper West Side eventually, you know. There are things like NASCAR races and rodeos and stuff out there that happen in flyover country.
9.17.2009 12:50pm
Patent Lawyer (mail):
I'll share something I was told by the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, back when I interned for them in high school:

"The first rule of Jewish politics is: Jews only really care about two issues - abortion, and Israel. When the major issue is abortion, we lose; when the major issue is Israel, we win."

The more influence the pro-lifers have on the Republican side, the more Jews will stick with the Dems.
9.17.2009 12:50pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Bernstein, as usual, misses the point that most American Jews don't view the advancement of Bernstein's agenda for Israel as identical with their own self-interest.
Before I delete your post, I'll give you an opportunity to show where I said anything remotely similar to that.
9.17.2009 12:50pm
Jiffy:
Dangermouse: Actually, I intended it as an example of "fact-free theorizing."
9.17.2009 12:54pm
Guesto12:
Or we have commenters like Danger Mouse who are radioactively inflammatory, imbecilic and ignorant.
9.17.2009 12:54pm
DangerMouse:
The more influence the pro-lifers have on the Republican side, the more Jews will stick with the Dems.

If that's true, that's terrible. Why would they be so devoted to the sacrament of abortion? Is it something abortion abortion, per se, or do they just use it as a substitute for the dredded Christian right which is to be despised?
9.17.2009 12:55pm
DangerMouse:
Grr.. I meant to say "is it something ABOUT abortion, per se..." That is, do most American Jews really like abortion, or do they just use it as a stand-in for something else that they're concerned about?
9.17.2009 12:56pm
DonBoy (mail) (www):
If, in fact, American Jews are largely concentrated in the urban areas of America, then like it or not they're isolated from much of the country.
Hey, guess what? Most of the people in the United States live in urban areas.
9.17.2009 1:01pm
LN (mail):
Nobody lives in the city anymore, it's too crowded.
9.17.2009 1:06pm
richard1 (mail):
DangerMouse said:
Nevertheless, you are essentially admitting that you're a bigot who sterotypes evangelical Christians, against the face of data showing that such sterotypes don't apply. It's like saying blacks are stupid when the data shows that they're just as intelligent as anyone else.

Get over your bigotry.

Probably shouldn't respond to such nonsense but here goes. I made no such admission. I said that in my personal experience a greater percentage of evangelical Christians than non-evangelical Christians express anti-Semitic views. Not all evangelical Christians express those views, of course, and I never said otherwise. But based on personal experience, the percentage who do is not insubstantial.
And by the way, a poll showing otherwise would not be very convincing to me since most bigots (evangelicals, non-evangelicals, Jews, etc) don't admit their bigotry.
9.17.2009 1:06pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
So the theory is that evangelical bigots are less likely to admit their bigotry than are non-evangelical bigots?
9.17.2009 1:07pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Someone posted in yesterday's thread that Jews are more mother-centric in terms of nurturing their children, whereas other Americans are more father-centric in providing an authority figure in the family. I think that that kind of difference has a lot more to do with why Jews are libs than anything else. That sort of upbringing, which frankly I think is ridiculous, probably explains liberal pathologies not just among Jews but among many in America

Oh great. Let's see: it's the feminization of Jewish families that leads so many [American] Jews to vote with the liberal party? And this, of course, is because REAL MEN vote Republican; only women and their victim nanny-boys are liberal?

How many groups can DangerMouse offend in one thread?
9.17.2009 1:08pm
Seamus (mail):


From my experience, anti-christian (not anti-religious, but specifically anti-christian) sentiment among jews is far more prevalent than anti-semitism among christians.


I haven't encountered this at all, and I've spent the last decade of my life at schools where at least 25-50% of the students are Jewish.


My experience is that I've encountered exactly zero hostility toward Christianity from Jews that I've known personally (including roommates in undergraduate and law school), but have encountered a certain amount of such hostility in print. (Of course, I admit there's a measure of self-selection involved when you're talking about Jews who are willing to room with me.) All of which tells us exactly bubkes about whether such hostility is "prevalent" or "more prevalent than anti-semitism among christians." What we really need is not a bunch of people spinning tales about what they've encountered personally, but data comparable to the ADL study that richard1 dismisses so cavalierly.
9.17.2009 1:09pm
Seamus (mail):

So the theory is that evangelical bigots are less likely to admit their bigotry than are non-evangelical bigots?



Well, it would fit in well with a theory that evangelicals are too stupid to know when they should hide their true views.
9.17.2009 1:12pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
I find that alot of people lie or selectively spin the truth when talking about discrimination, in amenable settings where such stories can be related. It would be like asking men their "conquest counts" in front of peers or co-workers -- not a very good idea.
9.17.2009 1:14pm
Pragmaticist:
What's fascinating, (sort of like gawking at a car wreck), is that most Jews have no problem with a political party that seeks to enforce racial discrimination against whites which impacts negatively on Jews. Then again, Jews like to feel morally superior by acting against their own self-interests. Witness the Jewish leftists who have a special animus against the Jewish state.
9.17.2009 1:15pm
pot meet kettle (mail):

I don't really follow why commenters are attacking me for not raising issues they think I should raise.


Really? Commenters shouldn't fault you for making incomplete arguments, or arguments that omit facts that they think are crucial?
9.17.2009 1:15pm
Tim Nuccio (mail) (www):
I feel tremendously underqualified to question someone named "Bernstein" on anything to do with Jewish issues.
9.17.2009 1:17pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
gray:

A devaout Catholic [Buckley] who started his rhetorical career bashing conservative anti-semites was actually an anti-semite in search of White Protestant supremacy?

If you say so.


I think you haven't seen this.

Some other examples of GOP antisemitism are here. Obviously there are examples on both sides. This list includes certain examples that are regularly overlooked.
9.17.2009 1:17pm
ChrisTS (mail):
I think others have suggested the point I would make in response to DB:

You assume there is a problem - ignorance - that explains why a group of people who are conservative [really, classically liberal] on economic issues but liberal on other issues have a pattern of voting with all-around liberals.
Of course, one could stipulate that it is only political ignorance that makes them side with the conservatives on economic matters. But the more obvious answer is that these voters prioritize one set of issues over another, in the face of our national parties schizoid platforms, and vote on the basis of those issues.
The same could be said of working class whites who vote for social conservatives, despite what some others might see as contrary-to-self-interest results economically.

That you think American Jews should also side with conservatives because of a pro-Israeli interest is a complicating factor. But is it not possible that these people do not think a blind support for all Israeli policies is desirable? Perhaps they even think some of those policies are not good for Israel or the U.S. or the world. More broadly, maybe they just do not agree with you that the Republican Party is the best guarantor of Israel's safety.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with them other than that they do not agree with you on all issues.
9.17.2009 1:18pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Really? Commenters shouldn't fault you for making incomplete arguments, or arguments that omit facts that they think are crucial?
Absolutely, when I preface by saying my argument isn't complete. There's nothing wrong with saying, "another fact Bernstein omits," or "Bernstein acknowledges that his argument is incomplete, but I think it's just wrong because." But, arguments along the lines of "what an idiot, how could you leave out..." when I never purported to be addressing the issue comprehensively bespeaks mere irrational hostility.
9.17.2009 1:21pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
As far as the education/intelligence argument, after seeing how many places it has failed, how can any educated intelligent person believe that it is good for society if the government takes money away from people who earn it and give it to people who don't care to or who earn less?
Why would an educated person prefer Haïti to Sweden? My immigrant grandparents (one of whom was observant) got a lot from the New Deal.

Say, which political party was it that ran a Creationist sympathizer for Vice President in 2008? Biblical-literalist Creationism doesn't come from the Jewish (or Roman Catholic) way of reading Genesis and bringing it into the public schools is about as clear an example of propagandizing evangelical belief where it doesn't belong as you could ask for. After that, I don't think many Jews (even conservatives) care much whether an individual Creationist likes wildcat settlements in the West Bank and eschews vulgar epithets for Jews.
9.17.2009 1:23pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Then again, Jews like to feel morally superior by acting against their own self-interests.

Wow. What else do you know about 'Jews'?
9.17.2009 1:24pm
DangerMouse:
Let's see: it's the feminization of Jewish families that leads so many [American] Jews to vote with the liberal party? And this, of course, is because REAL MEN vote Republican; only women and their victim nanny-boys are liberal?

It's probably one factor among many. I think that for many American Jews, they're in the "perfect storm" of liberalism: living in close-knit urban centers, a focus on mother-centric rearing, a history of supporting top-down government policies, self-hatrid of their own success and thus an accompanying white guilt, increasing secularization and antipathy towards practicing Christians, and now the younger generation's commitment to the sacrament of abortion and sexual hedonism.

Do many American Jews go to NASCAR races? Rodeos? Are they familiar at all with the midwestern lifestyle? Do they go camping? Are they rugged individualists? Has anyone done any surveys on whether Jews, as well as other groups, do those sort of things on a regular basis? Do they join the military in the same percentages as other American groups? I think all of that would be interesting to know, to see if they can break free from their liberal pathologies.
9.17.2009 1:27pm
LN (mail):
Yes, nothing can free you from horrible mental illness like watching cars go around in a circle. Or watching someone ride a bull. Yeehaw! Rugged individualism!

Is Dangermouse a real person or an elaborate parody?
9.17.2009 1:31pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Prof. Bernstein:
[cbyler]: Bernstein, as usual, misses the point that most American Jews don't view the advancement of Bernstein's agenda for Israel as identical with their own self-interest.
[Prof. Bernstein]: Before I delete your post, I'll give you an opportunity to show where I said anything remotely similar to that.
In all fairness, I don't think that cbyler said you said that. As I read it, it's more fairly a complaint that you didn't say that.

Cheers,
9.17.2009 1:32pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Do many American Jews go to NASCAR races? Rodeos? Are they familiar at all with the midwestern lifestyle? Do they go camping? Are they rugged individualists? Has anyone done any surveys on whether Jews, as well as other groups, do those sort of things on a regular basis? Do they join the military in the same percentages as other American groups? I think all of that would be interesting to know, to see if they can break free from their liberal pathologies.
I'm starting to think DangerMouse is an agent provocateur.

I saw someone (Ta-Nehisi Coates??) writing this week about Obama as our first truly urban president. Unlike, say, GWB who at least felt a need to present a faux-rancher facade. And the elderly, rural, white, Southern core of the tea-baggers are having a hard time dealing with that. So is DangerMouse, who posts oblivious to the fact that only a small fraction of America now lives outside metropolitan areas. Why should rural America be the True America, DangerMouse? It isn't population? Is it that, being overwhelmingly white and Christian, it somehow looks like America should?

And as it happens, I do go camping.
9.17.2009 1:37pm
zuch (mail) (www):
Pragmaticist:
Then again, Jews like to feel morally superior by acting against their own self-interests. Witness the Jewish leftists who have a special animus against the Jewish state.
Wow. Trying to surpass DangerMouse? But tell me more about why it is in the self-interest of American Jews to support "the Jewish state" (or more pertinently, the policies of the present Israeli government, which IIRC is a "coalition" government, not even an outright majority government).

Cheers,
9.17.2009 1:38pm
pot meet kettle (mail):

Is Dangermouse a real person or an elaborate parody?


I think that, as with Sarah Palin, this question can only be answered with "yes".
9.17.2009 1:41pm
DangerMouse:
Yes, nothing can free you from horrible mental illness like watching cars go around in a circle. Or watching someone ride a bull. Yeehaw! Rugged individualism!

I'm not saying that liking NASCAR means you're conservative. But if they don't participate in certain activities that other groups do, it says something. Military activity, outdoor activities like camping, rock climbing, hunting, etc, all speak to the cultural values.

Or do they just sit around Manhattan and suck coffee? I'll take a walk over to the East Side this weekend and let you know.
9.17.2009 1:43pm
ChrisTS (mail):
NASCAR and camping as markers of rugged individualism? Rugged individualism as a marker of ...what?

But, really, "the sacrament of abortion." No one, no one, treats abortion as a sacrament. I should think it generally sacreligious to suggest than any medical procedure is a sacrament.
9.17.2009 1:45pm
richard1 (mail):
Bernstein:
So the theory is that evangelical bigots are less likely to admit their bigotry than are non-evangelical bigots

No, the theory is that all polls on the extent of bigotry are unreliable because bigots don't admit their own prejudices in this day and age. I can think of several reasons why evangelical bigots are less likely to admit their bigotry than non-evangelical bigots but that would be speculation on my part. All I can say is that I would not take at face value a statement from anyone, in a poll or otherwise, that he has no prejudices or is not prejudiced against blacks or not prejudiced against Jews. I judge people by their actions and their words, not by their affirmations of their own goodness.
9.17.2009 1:47pm
DangerMouse:
Why should rural America be the True America, DangerMouse?

I live in New York City. I love it. But frankly, it is lacking in it's so-called cultural sophistication. I think the people here need to get out more, and I don't mean just going to the Hamptons. They need to see America. Some of them would be better off if they visited the House of Mud like Clark W. Griswold.

If American Jews are more self-absorbed in that fake "cultural sophistication" of the cities, that's to their detriment. You'd think that libs would be able to see the wisdom in that. I guess not.

I could be wrong, though. Maybe American Jews do participate in those activites and are familiar with rural America. Maybe they love those things. But they're still liberal because they're fantastically wedded to the sacrament of abortion? I don't know. Do Jews who vote pro-life have other liberal values?
9.17.2009 1:49pm
LN (mail):

No one, no one, treats abortion as a sacrament.


Uh, what do you think people in Manhattan do all day? Do you think they have jobs? Do you think they socialize, they go out to the park, go to museums, go away for the weekend, spend time at home with their families? Do you think they exercise? Do you think they follow sports?

Of course not. They sit around sipping lattes and treating abortion as a sacrament. That's why they're so liberal, you know. They're not really human.
9.17.2009 1:52pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I judge people by their actions and their words, not by their affirmations of their own goodness.
No offense, but I think what you are really doing is judging large groups by personal anecdotes involving experiences with a handful of individuals, in preference to statistical data gathered by specialists in the field.
9.17.2009 1:59pm
rj (mail):
Some points, quickly:

1) The whole "America is a Christian Nation" thing is the fastest way to get Jews to vote for someone else. Inquisition-era Spain was very focused on being a "Christian nation" as well. Not to say that James Inhofe is bringing back the rack, but the phrase causes gut-level discomfort.

2) War on Christmas. A lot of conservative Republicans think that if you don't say "Merry Christmas" or have a nativity scene in front of City Hall, it's some sort of godless commie conspiracy. Not that most Jews get all worked up by one little manger, but the language tends toward extreme paranoia.

3) Even in second and third-generation American Jews, the immigrant narrative is very strong and cherished. All this talk of aliens and invaders sounds incredibly callous who are often reminded of that first cold water flat on the Lower East Side with 10 people to a room.

4) Jews aren't just Jews, they're citizens. Citizens who disproportionately live in cities or inner ring suburbs, have advanced degrees and travel internationally. All these things make someone more likely to be a Democrat. Of course, the numbers are much higher for Jews, but it's less of a deviation from the mean if you account for other demographic factors.

5) Jews of the right. Podhoretz and crew love to find so-called "self-loathing Jews" whose main sin is disagreeing about what Israel ought to do with regard to its security and what America ought to do about it. Take away the ANSWER nutters and you have an awful lot of American Jews who resent the accusation. Besides, nobody likes being told that they should vote a certain way because they belong to a certain group because it demeans individuals and denies that there are any other valid policy concerns besides those supposedly shared by said group.
9.17.2009 2:02pm
eyesay:
Patent Lawyer wrote, "'The first rule of Jewish politics is: Jews only really care about two issues - abortion, and Israel. When the major issue is abortion, we [Republicans] lose; when the major issue is Israel, we win.'"

Issues and events other than abortion Israel where I believe American Jews tend to sympathize with the Democratic position:

Lilly Ledbetter (I'd bet that over 70% of American Jews would consider the Supreme Court majority decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire &Rubber Co. to be pathological and ridiculous.)

Terri Schiavo (I'd bet that over 70% of American Jews were appalled by the repeated Republican efforts to interfere in the private family matter.)

Global warming (I'd bet that over 70% of American Jews agree that it is happening, that it is caused by greenhouse gases emitted by human activities, that it is a threat, among other things, to the world's populations in low coastal areas, and that we have a moral obligation to turn it around.)

Guns (I'd bet that over half of American Jews agree that there should be some reasonable restrictions on the possession of handguns and the "right" to carry them in public places, concealed or otherwise.)

Foreign policy (I'd bet that well over half of American Jews agree that the United States should not attempt to be the world's police force.)

Size of government (I'd bet that well over half of American Jews recognize Republican hypocrisy in bleating endlessly over the size of government while fighting for increased military expenditures and increased spending on futile wars on drugs and trying to get the government involved in limitations of private behavior.)

As for Israel, I'd bet that a majority of American Jews agree that support for Israel is strong in Congress among both Democrats and Republicans, and that for the United States to support the policies and practices of the Israeli government even more strongly that the Israeli population is not necessarily in Israel's best interest.
9.17.2009 2:03pm
DangerMouse:
I should think it generally sacreligious to suggest than any medical procedure is a sacrament.

Ok, I'll call them Molech-worshippers then. Either way, the child is killed. If they burned their babies like they did of old, it'd be no less evil.
9.17.2009 2:06pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Always interesting to see these discussions.

Following some of the previous posters, one part of this indeed could be because Jews tend to congregate in urban areas in this country, that are run almost entirely by Democrats. The best way to power then in those areas is through the Democratic party.

There are somewhere around a dozen Jews in the Senate right now, and almost all of them hail from solidly "blue" states. Of course, if the Senate were subject to Affirmative Action, almost all of those Jewish Senate seats would have to be given to African Americans. (and this may be part of why there is so much antisemitism in the African-American community).
9.17.2009 2:22pm
jerry (mail):
I am a liberal Jew who is more and more frustrated with the idiocy, dogma, prejudice, and lack of tolerance I see in the Democratic Party.

I should be very amenable to your arguments, but none of you folks are convincing me of anything other than a pox on both houses.

What's fun is that I've seen similar discussions at liberal websites where Jewish support is both taken for granted, and where when at times Jewish support may diverge, those divergent Jews are called racists, or just old, or out of touch with reality. Since no facts/data/survey are presented, who knows? Example: at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, I pointed out that Jews were against the Bakke decision then, and probably still are. I was told by a younger, Jewish, tenured, psych professor a) that wasn't true then, b) it was even less true now, and c) I was a racist for suggesting it. (Okay that last wasn't explicitly said, just merely implied.)

But I think Bakke and the evolution of the Jewish demographics surrounding Bakke are an illuminating point here.

I myself am turned off by Jews for Jesus because they seek through lies and misrepresentation to evangelize young impressionable Jews. They are Intelligent Designers suggesting evolution and religion are somehow compatible in ways they are not.

I am turned off by evangelicals because my friends are usually gathering the popcorn to watch me and my family die in the holy war.

I am for legal abortion (within limits) because I dislike ANY government telling me what I can do with my body, a dangerous slippery slope. I am for legal abortion because of coat hanger stories. Safe, legal, rare.

I am against abortion in many cases after a certain period of time, because it's a baby, and I think science will side more on more on the pain and cognitive thoughts that baby is capable of. (Similarly, when I hear "scientists" tell me how various animals feel no pain, or can't think, I have a big wonder about them....)

I think that those anti-abortion people who consider RU-486 or the morning after pill to be an abortion are nutjobs, why would I associate with them?

And keeping a baby in the face of rape? Or when it will be severely deformed? If that's what you want, you have my blessing, but I'm not associating with you.

I am goddamned proud of the Jews involved in the civil rights movement. And the ACLU defending Nazis. I do wonder about the modern day ACLU, and about modern day feminists who can't support a rebuttable presumption of joint shared custody. But then again, we've got over 2 trillion lawyers reading VC, and none of you SOBs will lift a damn finger to reform custody battles. Instead you all just tut tut tut about how bad the system is, and collect your fees.

Nevertheless, there is large amounts of idiocy and social unjustness in the Democratic Party, but none of you have shown me that the grass is greener, you've mainly convinced me of the opposite.

So a pox on all of you, Dems, Thugs, and Lawyers.
9.17.2009 2:23pm
Connecticut Lawyer (mail):
Someone said upthread that Jews (at least, secular or Reform Jews) care about two issues: abortion and Israel. As I noted above, abortion rights are the driving force for most Jewish women in voting Democratic. This is pathetic, but true.

As for whether abortion is a "sacrament" in Manhattan. Well, let's just say that abortion rights are taken very, very, very seriously there, far more than any religious sacrament. Remember, the most important thing in life is the ability to have sex without consequences.
9.17.2009 2:28pm
DangerMouse:
Or when it will be severely deformed? If that's what you want, you have my blessing, but I'm not associating with you.

It's really sad that you'd treat a mother with a Downs syndrome baby as persona non grata. Despicable, actually. It's a sad thing that some Jews have adopted liberalism's value of modern-day eugenics.
9.17.2009 2:28pm
jerry (mail):
It's really sad that you'd treat a mother with a Downs syndrome baby as persona non grata. Despicable, actually. It's a sad thing that some Jews have adopted liberalism's value of modern-day eugenics.

I'm sorry but I didn't say anything like that. I can't tell if you are stupid or just lying.
9.17.2009 2:30pm
DangerMouse:
What do you mean by severely deformed, then? Do you support aborting Downs syndrome babies, merely because of their Downs afflication? How deformed do you have to be to warrant abortion? What about conjoined twins? Or people born blind, or deaf? And why would you refuse to associate with the mother? What has the mother done wrong, except fail to have an abortion? Is it BAD to not have abortions, now?
9.17.2009 2:35pm
jerry (mail):
And keeping a baby in the face of rape? Or when it will be severely deformed? If that's what you want, you have my blessing, but I'm not associating with you.

It's really sad that you'd treat a mother with a Downs syndrome baby as persona non grata. Despicable, actually. It's a sad thing that some Jews have adopted liberalism's value of modern-day eugenics.


If you're going to attack me, let me be clear so you can attack me on what I say, not on the words you need me to say.

If Sarah Palin has an amniocentesis and knows her baby will be severely deformed and wants to raise it, well that's her personal decision. Depending on the deformity, I think it's questionable ethically and morally, but I won't have the government step between the two of them.

If Sarah Palin thinks my daughter needs to give birth to a product of rape, or even a deformed child, that's exactly the sort of vicious government intervention that I am against, and you apparently, favor *and want to associate with*. I won't associate with that sort of thought or policy.

Now go ahead, and attack away.
9.17.2009 2:35pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Hadur, you're a better man than I. I am an evangelical, and when uh, people of intensity try to convert me to their type of additions to Christian baptism or practice I find it pretty irritating. Of course, that may be a style problem. I don't have that reaction to my traditional Catholic friend who tries to talk me into believing that the Roman Church is the one true one.

Perhaps the objection by Jews to Christian evangelism is at least tinged with that cultural, tribal piece. It is true that Jews do not evangelise (not their religion, anyway - sometimes their politics, like anyone else), but certainly they do not regard their (varied) beliefs about G-d as mere cultural accoutrements. They regard their beliefs as true - that's why people hold beliefs at all. They have a different attitude about whether you should challenge other beliefs and try to talk others out of them. That is not peculiar to Jews, but to many religions. It is Christians that are in the minority as a want-to-convince-you faith.

Yet that itself is double-edged. People may find such desire to convince others irritating, even potentially dangerous, but the belief that all are eligible for salvation, not just any one tribe, was crucial to the settling and founding of America. Enlightenment values alone only get you the French or Bolshevik revolutions. One might go farther, and trace that belief in religious universality as inseparable from the development of Western civilization as a whole. One can accuse Christians of evangelising badly, or evangelising only a convenient subset of their beliefs, or of reverting to the same barbarism of any other peoples, but the American experiment doesn't occur without that universal eligibility part. One might imagine a scenario in which a secular society might arrive at our beliefs, but it strict point of fact, that never happened anywhere else. (Partial credit to other anglospheric countries).

The antipathy of some jews to evangelicals is tribal in both good and bad senses. The cultural differences - regional, urban vs. rural, majority vs. minority experience, hunting, histories of oppression, plus a dozen lesser cultural cues, just leave many Jews far across a cultural divide from many evangelicals. As a New England urbanite who is now evangelical, I can sense the "not our tribe" attitude from within my own feelings when looking at southern fundamentalists, irrespective of whatever commonality of beliefs we have. There are rural American Jews and white Chicago fundamentalists who don't hunt, but there are definite poles of attraction. We are not spread out evenly along all spectra.

The comments to the effect that Jews are liberal because they're smarter and have these really great values that just happen to line up with progressivism are silly and don't bear refuting. There is a discussion about overlap between historical Jewish and progressive values, but such sweeping generalities about both Jews and progressives are just silly. Life is more complicated than that.
9.17.2009 2:38pm
jerry (mail):
I said, in fact, the mother/parents/child have my blessing.

I will not associate with the school of thought or the party or the government that mandates the behaviors on others.

"Do you support aborting Downs syndrome babies, merely because of their Downs afflication? How deformed do you have to be to warrant abortion? What about conjoined twins? Or people born blind, or deaf?"

I support allowing the parents to decide in consultation with their doctors, medical ethicists, and religious community if they partake in one.

I don't support the automatic mandate of behavior or shaming or questioning of others who have no personal involvement in those lives.

Safe, legal, rare.

If you want to have a fight, there are plenty of putative liberal feminists who hate the phrase, "Safe, legal, rare." I think the argument can and should be made that these feminists hold very little in common with liberal points of view.
9.17.2009 2:40pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
The only group that I have seen my Jewish friends be hostile towards is Jews for Jesus. They seem to really, really, really hate those people in a way that strikes me as irrational and disproportionate.
What about Jews who convert to Christianity? Are those people hated?
My (outside) guess is that Jews who convert to Christianity are not liked by their Jewish brethren, but those who try to retain their Jewishness are reviled. At least that has been my experience with my Jewish friends.

What is interesting is that this may go back almost 2,000 years, to the destruction of the Second Temple, when different sects of Judaism were vying for the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. One sect eventually left, ending up as the Christian religion. Three of the four Gospels make this fairly obvious, that Jesus and his original Disciples were Jewish, thought of themselves as Jewish, and practiced the Judaism of the time. Many believe that it was only when (former?) gentiles became a significant factor in the new Christian Church did they really move away, ditching many of the Jewish rules.

Which is why I have always found the Jewish antipathy for Jews for Jesus so interesting. I see them as Jews who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah and who are trying to live their Judaism like Jesus and his original followers did. But, I view this from a Christian perspective.

My best guess is that it is because they are apostates in the view of their (former) Jewish brethren.
9.17.2009 2:42pm
NowMDJD (mail):

Second, there is the question of whether GOP opinion makers have historically espoused an anti-semitic or exclusionary viewpoint

Republicans were perceived by my family to have been behind the exclusionary immigration laws that kept Jews out of the United States during the 1920's and 1930's. I'm having trouble linking, but it's easy to find links to the Immigration Act of 1924, for example. Yes, many Democrats, especially Southern Democrats supported immigration. So did Samuel Gompers, a Jew. But this was largely a Republican program.

Many in my father's generation loathed those who instigated these restrictions, as they led in large measure to the extermination of the relatives they left behind in Europe.

So there were good substantive reasons for Jews to eschew the Republican party in the past. Many of the children and grandchildren of my father's generation see bigotry in the current Republican enthusiasm for immigration restriction, and have a sense (rightly or wrongly) that some of the bigotry is directed toward them. Whether or not immigration restiction no is, on the whole, advantageous to Jews who are in America, opposition to immigration steps on their corns, so to speak.

BTW, I am Jewish, and a registered Republican who usually votes Republican.
9.17.2009 2:43pm
jerry (mail):
Assistant Village Idiot, I am told that Jews, in a far off distant past, in a far off distant galaxy, used to be evangelical.

Toss in a few centuries of occupiers telling us, "convert or die", and we changed our tune, and grew suspicious of any message about conversion, because we still hear the "or die" part.

(As a friend, I wish to point out that your drool bucket is coming close to overflowing.)
9.17.2009 2:44pm
DangerMouse:
I thought you meant you wouldn't associate with the mother. It wasn't clear that you were against associating with a political policy. Your remarks seemed personally directed at the rape victim or mother of the deformed baby.
9.17.2009 2:46pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Ok, I'll call them Molech-worshippers then. Either way, the child is killed. If they burned their babies like they did of old, it'd be no less evil.

SO, now we really have stepped over into the grossest kind of anti-semitic slander. And, please, do not try to get out of this.

Ok, I'll call them Molech-worshippers then. Either way, the child is killed. If they burned their babies like they did of old, it'd be no less evil
9.17.2009 2:47pm
Seamus (mail):

I could be wrong, though. Maybe American Jews do participate in those activites and are familiar with rural America. Maybe they love those things. But they're still liberal because they're fantastically wedded to the sacrament of abortion? I don't know. Do Jews who vote pro-life have other liberal values?


Not only does Ben Stein vote pro-life, but I think his values are pretty conservative.
9.17.2009 2:48pm
DangerMouse:
SO, now we really have stepped over into the grossest kind of anti-semitic slander. And, please, do not try to get out of this.

Don't be ridiculous. All pro-choicers are molech worshippers. It has nothing to do with Jews at all.
9.17.2009 2:49pm
Seattle Law Student:
pot meet kettle (mail):


Is Dangermouse a real person or an elaborate parody?



I think that, as with Sarah Palin, this question can only be answered with "yes".


********thread win**************
9.17.2009 2:49pm
DangerMouse:
Not only does Ben Stein vote pro-life, but I think his values are pretty conservative.

I guess my question was: are there pro-life Jews that are otherwise liberal? Like Ted Kennedy's sister, and old-style liberal who was very pro-life because she saw it as consistent with her Catholicism and also with liberalism's (supposed) support for the meek and helpless?

Are there Jews who are pro-life like that?
9.17.2009 2:51pm
jerry (mail):
Which is why I have always found the Jewish antipathy for Jews for Jesus so interesting. I see them as Jews who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah and who are trying to live their Judaism like Jesus and his original followers did. But, I view this from a Christian perspective.

Alternatively, consider Jews for Jesus as how scientists might consider Creationists turned Intelligent Designers.

Jews for Jesus are notorious for placing ads in college papers, evangelizing to students away from home, and using the argument that they can believe in both religions. As the Church Lady might say, "Isn't that convenient."

Jews for Jesus are the unknown pod people in your family who are sneakily placing pods underneath your bed and suggesting you take a nap.

They are Tom Cruise, and John Travolta and the celebrity Scientologists who live very different lives than other scientologists but who put an attractive face onto scientology.

Jews who convert are "lost" but a hell of a lot more honest and not nearly as much a threat. And hell, who wasn't a JewBu at some point?
9.17.2009 2:52pm
DangerMouse:
Jews who convert are "lost" but a hell of a lot more honest and not nearly as much a threat.

Threat????? What does that mean? They're converts, for Pete's sake. One of my co-workers converted to Judiasm when she got married, but I never considered that threatening at all. What the heck do you mean by "threat"?
9.17.2009 2:55pm
jerry (mail):
Did you read my comment at 2:52, just above yours?

Dr. Kauffman: Less than a month ago, Santa Mira was like any other town. People with nothing but problems. Then, out of the sky came a solution. Seeds drifting through space for years took root in a farmer's field. From the seeds came pods which had the power to reproduce themselves in the exact likeness of any form of life...Your new bodies are growing in there. They're taking you over cell for cell, atom for atom. There is no pain. Suddenly, while you're asleep, they'll absorb your minds, your memories and you're reborn into an untroubled world...Tomorrow you'll be one of us...
9.17.2009 2:59pm
NowMDJD (mail):

But they're still liberal because they're fantastically wedded to the sacrament of abortion?

Do Jews have more abortions than other people? Do they feel obliged to have this procedure?

What exactly do you mean by that phrase? If you mean support for legal termination of pregnancy, does that mean that Mayor Giuliani, the late Sen. Kennedy, and the last several Democratic candidates for president are "wedded to [this] sacrament?"
9.17.2009 3:02pm
sputnik (mail):
It is mind boggling that any intelligent educated Jew can still vote for the repiblican party of the last 8-10 years even if they were loyal republicans before 2001.

War hysteria and propaganda ,
nasty lies,
racism,
Utopian Ayn Randism for teenagers which almost brought this country down on it's knees economically.

Look at belligerent ignorance espoused and promoted by the GOP.
And many many more reasons.

Nobody said that Democrats are perfect .
But the choice between the idiocy of the GOP of late
and Democrats in the voting booth is no more for me.
And I was Reagan guy - big time , when still residing in USSR and trying to get out.
9.17.2009 3:03pm
jerry (mail):
What the heck do you mean by "threat"?

Jews are 2.2% of the US Population. If you think having a Jewish population is a good thing, than losing members of that population threatens that population.

You can see that as some identity politics/cultural isolation/racist/endangered species kind of thing if you want.

I find it sad, but I understand the pressures.

Christians make up 76% of the US population, on the margin, losing a Christian to Judaism isn't nearly the threat to the population or culture.
9.17.2009 3:06pm
DangerMouse:
If you mean support for legal termination of pregnancy, does that mean that Mayor Giuliani, the late Sen. Kennedy, and the last several Democratic candidates for president are "wedded to [this] sacrament?"

Yes, that's what I mean, although with a fervor that probably goes beyond the casual lib. If you're strongly pro-choice, you're wedded to the sacrament of abortion. Like Connecticut Lawyer said, it's when abortion rights are taken very, very, VERY seriously, like it's holy.
9.17.2009 3:06pm
Seamus (mail):

I guess my question was: are there pro-life Jews that are otherwise liberal?



Nat Hentoff?
9.17.2009 3:10pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
On the other hand, the anti-semitism of Bill Buckley was foundational to his conservative worldview of WASP supremacy. Of course, I am not suggesting that Dems are innocent of anti-semitism or of troglodyte worldviews, but Republicans, even as recently as Nixon, have been specifically contemptuous of Jews.
As have Democrats, even as recently as Carter.
9.17.2009 3:12pm
jerry (mail):
I guess my question was: are there pro-life Jews that are otherwise liberal?

Nat Hentoff?


I think it depends on what you mean by "pro-life".

To the extent that the Wikipedia can be believed, I would say that none of the three major schools of Judaism take the modern, pro-choice, modern feminist, view of abortion, supporting abortion in the Clintonian sense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism_and_abortion
9.17.2009 3:20pm
ArthurKirkland:
The suggestion that Jews vote for Democrats because they are ignorant sparked a thought. We all know that can't be right, the part about ignorant Jews, because Jews are smart. Too smart to vote for Democrats. So maybe the answer is that they lie. The Jews vote for Republicans but say they vote for Democrats. We all know they lie. That must be it.
9.17.2009 3:22pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
jerry, were you referring to the length of my post, or some other fault.

BTW - I occasionally agree with Dangermouse, but mostly he seems to just type whatever occurs to him at the moment. I hate to see the good arguers against me that I might have being drawn off into exchanges with DM.
9.17.2009 3:25pm
DangerMouse:
Nat Hentoff?

I guess so. It seems, though, that such a position of being pro-life but otherwise liberal, is as rare for Jews as it was for Ted Kennedy's Catholic sister.
9.17.2009 3:25pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Which is why I have always found the Jewish antipathy for Jews for Jesus so interesting. I see them as Jews who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah and who are trying to live their Judaism like Jesus and his original followers did. But, I view this from a Christian perspective.

My best guess is that it is because they are apostates in the view of their (former) Jewish brethren.
Actually, it has more to do with them being frauds. Think of it the way that a liberal might think of, say, Ken Lay. Jews for Jesus has virtually no actual Jewish membership; it's a bunch of evangelicals pretending to be Jews in order to trick other Jews into converting.

Plus, of course, their whole message is ridiculous.
9.17.2009 3:26pm
jerry (mail):
jerry, were you referring to the length of my post, or some other fault.

I was referring ONLY to a favorite Monty Python sketch.
9.17.2009 3:28pm
ArthurKirkland:
The anti-Semitism angle is interesting, too. Why would Jews consider evangelical Christians to be anything other than big fans?

I know, I know, some will argue that just because the evangelicals believe (or at least claim to believe) that all Jews are damned to eternal hell for failure to accept the story of Jesus Christ as the exclusive path to salvation, and therefore believe that Jews' religious beliefs will damn them forever (with a side of 'we'll nonetheless support you temporarily because that will mean it's time for the Rapture that will condemn Jews to perpetual suffering'), that just because of that, some Jews perceive anti-Semitism in evangelical thought.
9.17.2009 3:30pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The suggestion that Jews vote for Democrats because they are ignorant sparked a thought.
One can easily be politically ignorant in the sense used in my post without being generally "ignorant."
9.17.2009 3:32pm
Dave N (mail):
Assistant Village Idiot has the most cogent comment on the thread.

On the other hand, many others are engaging in a typical VC food fight.
9.17.2009 3:39pm
EMG:
Bernstein, it's beyond hilarious that you tell us we're overestimating anti-Semitism, then end up with a thread like this. Pull your head out of the sand, man. You've got philosophical arguments for conservatism as such, let's see those. But FFS don't try to tell us it's good for the Jews. Almost no-one, Jew or Gentile, is actually that stupid.
9.17.2009 3:53pm
anon522 (mail):
I know, I know, some will argue that just because the evangelicals believe (or at least claim to believe) that all Jews are damned to eternal hell for failure to accept the story of Jesus Christ as the exclusive path to salvation.
You left out all Buddhists, Muslims, Wiccans, Catholics, most non-evangelical Christians, etc. Why should Jews take particular offense at the fact that evangelicals treat them theologically the same way as everyone else? Maybe this made some sense when Jews were the only major non-Christian minority in the U.S., but it doesn't now.
9.17.2009 3:53pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Bernstein, it's beyond hilarious that you tell us we're overestimating anti-Semitism, then end up with a thread like this.
I see far worse on left-wing sites--Kos, Huffington Post, Yglesias; and even worse than that on explicitly anti-Zionist lefty sites like Mondoweiss--all the time. But then, I don't privilege random comments from anonymous blog commentators over careful social science data. And a side point: saying that Jews overestimate anti-Semitism among Dems and underestimate among GOPers neither suggests that there isn't any anti-Semitism among the latters, nor that it's a huge problem among the former.
9.17.2009 3:58pm
jerry (mail):
And a side point: saying that Jews overestimate anti-Semitism among Dems and underestimate among GOPers

Kinsley faux pax?
Freudian slip?

Fingers ahead of brain?
9.17.2009 4:05pm
rj (mail):
Day to day, there's a big difference between anti-Israel sentiment, however nasty, and the sort of antisemitism one might see in your daily life. In terms of the latter, I have a whole lot less to fear from Matt Yglesias (Jewish) or Kos than from some guy who thinks we're living in a "Christian Nation" and wants my kid to recite their prayers in schools I pay for in part.

If only we could live in a world where we could talk about Israel without one side calling the other antisemites or self-loathers.

That's the main problem with the neocon mindset (not to say all neocons are Jews, but you are responding from a neocon perspective). It's a hero narrative where it's always 1939, they're cast in the role of Churchill and everyone who disagrees is Chamberlain.

Sure makes you feel good, but it's out of touch with reality and alienating to people who you should be convincing instead of insulting.
9.17.2009 4:07pm
rj (mail):
To clarify, I was responding to Bernstein's 3:58 post.
9.17.2009 4:10pm
wm13:
Jews for Jesus . . . are Tom Cruise, and John Travolta and the celebrity Scientologists who live very different lives than other scientologists but who put an attractive face onto scientology.

This is actually what I find strange. Perfectly normal, law-abiding lawyers and bankers of my acquaintance start talking about how they would like to "kill" the members of Jews for Jesus. In contrast, no one I know ever expresses anything but mild disdain for Scientologists, or Hare Krishna members, or whatever. It's really weird for a group to arouse such hostility among otherwise cultured, urbane, pacific people.
9.17.2009 4:21pm
EMG:

I don't privilege random comments from anonymous blog commentators over careful social science data.


It's not "careful social science data" that'll come knocking on your door in the middle of the night.

But then, I doubt the ability of any pollster to fully account for the tendency to tell questioners what they want to hear; let alone the ability of an organization like the ADL to account for the self-deception and sugar-coating that takes place within a Christian who must find a way to square "Jews killed Jesus and will burn in hell eternally for rejecting him" with a strong theological norm of "universal love" and gentleness.


I see far worse on left-wing sites...


Right right. But it's OK, because you (unlike the rest of us baby-killing, NASCAR-avoiding, never-been-camping Jews) are a tough-minded contrarian, a rugged individualist who doesn't need the false shelter of group solidarity. (Unless there's some Arabs that need killing.)

What you don't have is an argument for why I should care less about DangerMouse (let alone the real live Christian anti-Semites in my neighborhood) than you do about Jesse Jackson, anti-Zionists on Yglesias's blog, or whoever. Except that it doesn't suit your politics. But what's that to me? You're begging the question.
9.17.2009 4:28pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Remember, the most important thing in life is the ability to have sex without consequences.

Having sex without consequences = impossible.

Having sex without the specific consequence of a pregnancy = extremely important.

In any event, I love every time a pro-lifer makes this argument. Because the desire to attach "consequences" to sex, though quite a big part of the actual pro-life agenda, has nothing to do with protecting life. Sort of gives away the entire enterprise.
9.17.2009 4:29pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Don't be ridiculous. All pro-choicers are molech worshippers. It has nothing to do with Jews at all.

You are kidding right? You know absolutely nothing about Molech/Moloch that would make raising that image in this dicussion at all problematic except to pro-choicers in general? And, of course, that you were talking about Jewish pro-choicers was beside the point?

Fine. Troll away.
9.17.2009 4:33pm
EMG:

This is actually what I find strange. Perfectly normal, law-abiding lawyers and bankers of my acquaintance start talking about how they would like to "kill" the members of Jews for Jesus.


Historically, Jews who convert have been at the forefront of turning back around and literally killing those who don't. Often armed with the theological claim that Christianity is the true fulfillment of Judaism, making the rest of us "false Jews." The foundations for this go back to the New Testament and it keeps leading to Jewish bloodshed one way or another.

Aside from their personal beliefs, Jews for Jesus inability/unwillingness to face up to this history is damn annoying, even if not actually kill-worthy. And history suggests that the main reason they're not actively trying to kill us has to do with the secular and democratic nature of the society we're living in (which conservatives, btw, decry and wish to turn back), and not any specific virtue of their own.
9.17.2009 4:41pm
Seamus (mail):

You are kidding right? You know absolutely nothing about Molech/Moloch that would make raising that image in this dicussion at all problematic except to pro-choicers in general? And, of course, that you were talking about Jewish pro-choicers was beside the point?


I seem to recall that Moloch worship was characteristic of Phoenician religion, not of Judaism. But if you think it's anti-Semitic to tell anyone, Jew or gentile, that killing their offspring is a bad thing, and ought to be reprobated the way we reprobate the sacrifice of babies to Moloch, then you ought to take up that beef with a few folks like Josiah and Jeremiah. (Or maybe you think the only wrong with sacrificing to Moloch is the idolatry, and that it has nothing to do with the baby-killing.)
9.17.2009 4:51pm
Connecticut Lawyer (mail):
Dilian,

I'm not "pro-life" for what that's worth nor do I have any opinion about what motivates them.

I'm just observing why it's so important to so many Jewish girls and women that they be able to get abortions on demand.
9.17.2009 4:53pm
Seamus (mail):

I'm just observing why it's so important to so many Jewish girls and women that they be able to get abortions on demand.



Are you saying that Jewish girls and women are more concerned about the availability of abortion that shiksas? If so, how do you account for that? (And simply saying that they want to be able to have consequence-free sex doesn't answer the question so much as to push it back. You need to explain why they are more likely to want that that gentile girls and women, if you think that's in fact the case.)
9.17.2009 4:57pm
jerry (mail):
Someone said upthread that Jews (at least, secular or Reform Jews) care about two issues: abortion and Israel. As I noted above, abortion rights are the driving force for most Jewish women in voting Democratic. This is pathetic, but true.

Connecticut Lawyer, do you have a citation for that? It smells like it needs one.
9.17.2009 5:00pm
LN (mail):

They value abortion rights because they think it's important that women should be able to have sex free from consequences
...
Remember, the most important thing in life is the ability to have sex without consequences.
...
I'm just observing why it's so important to so many Jewish girls and women that they be able to get abortions on demand.


Oohh, sex without consequences, how transgressive. Just like haughtiness without comeuppance. The Joker without Batman. Or a sandwich without bread.
9.17.2009 5:00pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I guess so. It seems, though, that such a position of being pro-life but otherwise liberal, is as rare for Jews as it was for Ted Kennedy's Catholic sister.

Well, it depends on how one defines "pro-life".

I suspect there are a lot of religious liberals who support various efforts to reduce the number of or discourage abortions because they think the procedure to be immoral but who think that banning it would be counterproductive and harsh.

Indeed, one of the things that is buried by the abortion debate is the issue of whether an abortion ban is actually the best way to reduce abortions. A lot of people who might otherwise identify as pro-life think it is not, and a lot of people who do identify as pro-life prefer the symbolic confirmation that it is illegal even if that is not the most effective way to reduce abortion.
9.17.2009 5:03pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I'm just observing why it's so important to so many Jewish girls and women that they be able to get abortions on demand.

I don't know what abortion "on demand" means in this context. I suppose one can demand an abortion, but whether one can get one depends on whether there is a clinic available, whether one can afford it or has insurance for it, what stage of the pregnancy one is in, and what the state's laws provide.

But as far as "Jewish girls", I suspect many young urban women, whether or not Jewish, are quite concerned with the ability to have a fulfilling sex life while delaying or avoiding childbearing, and that this influences their pro-choice position. And you know what, they are quite correct about the importance of that.

But note, their sexual activities still have "consequences" to them. Just not this particular one.
9.17.2009 5:07pm
eyesay:
I think there are three types of Jews for Jesus.

1A. Christians who pretend to be Jews, are ignorant about Judaism, and not very knowledgeable about the events of Judea in the 30s CE decade, for that matter.

1B. Jews who were brought up without education about Judaism and Jewish history, and are young and ignorant and gullible enough to believe what the 1A's tell them.

2. Christians who mastermind the whole thing and create those stupid three-fold all-caps handwritten brochures, and know that "Jews for Jesus" is not an organization of Jews for Jesus.

Jews for Jesus is not what it pretends to be. It is a not even remotely Jewish. It is a Christian proselytizing organization, full stop.
9.17.2009 5:07pm
yankee (mail):
I live in New York City. I love it. But frankly, it is lacking in it's so-called cultural sophistication. I think the people here need to get out more, and I don't mean just going to the Hamptons. They need to see America. Some of them would be better off if they visited the House of Mud like Clark W. Griswold.

The last time I checked, New York City still part of the United States. Even the Hamptons are part of the United States. Has there been a civil war I didn't notice?

I do agree that New Yorkers are some of the most provincial people in the world, but the Palinesque idea that some parts of the country are "real America" and others aren't is just absurd.
9.17.2009 5:32pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Seamus:

I seem to recall that Moloch worship was characteristic of Phoenician religion, not of Judaism. But if you think it's anti-Semitic to tell anyone, Jew or gentile, that killing their offspring is a bad thing, and ought to be reprobated the way we reprobate the sacrifice of babies to Moloch, then you ought to take up that beef with a few folks like Josiah and Jeremiah. (Or maybe you think the only wrong with sacrificing to Moloch is the idolatry, and that it has nothing to do with the baby-killing.)

Exactly who did practice this worship, and the sacrificing of children, is unclear. It was rather popular to claim one's enemies did this. That slander was, has been, applied to Jews, as well. Indeed, I think that it is unlikely that nayone much cares whtether the Phoenicians or Carthaginians did this, anymore. Now, it's a meme for anti-semites.

geokstr was not simply telling anyone that killing children is wrong. If you read the thread - tiresome, I know - I think you will see that his reference came up in a discussion of Jews and their purported attitude towards abortion.
9.17.2009 5:33pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Seamus:
(Or maybe you think the only wrong with sacrificing to Moloch is the idolatry, and that it has nothing to do with the baby-killing.)

Right. Clearly what anyone objecting to geokstr's use of that meme in this thread would be thinking.

You seem to be on my case for some reason. I do not know what it is, but this is just beyond silly.
9.17.2009 5:35pm
ChrisTS (mail):
I should note that it is quite possible that geokstr is just ignorant.
9.17.2009 5:36pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Dilan:
I suspect many young urban women, whether or not Jewish, are quite concerned with the ability to have a fulfilling sex life while delaying or avoiding childbearing

I suspect any number of young men have the same concern. :-)
9.17.2009 5:38pm
yankee (mail):
I suspect many young urban women, whether or not Jewish, are quite concerned with the ability to have a fulfilling sex life while delaying or avoiding childbearing

I suspect any number of young men have the same concern. :-)

I actually suspect there are very few young men who are concerned with delaying or avoiding childbearing.
9.17.2009 5:44pm
ArthurKirkland:

I suspect many young urban women, whether or not Jewish, are quite concerned with the ability to have a fulfilling sex life while delaying or avoiding childbearing

I see no reason to single out Jewish women in this manner.

As five-term fraternity president, I report with confidence that Catholic girls outpaced every other group with respect to reliability, lack of preparation and failure to require precautions. No one else was even on the lead lap.

I will spare the feelings of Catholic parents by refraining from identifying the form of "precaution" popular among Catholic female party guests.

I have no current information, and I don't remember evangelicals being much of a factor in my day, but I suspect evangelicals' daughters have done some catching up in recent years.
9.17.2009 5:58pm
ChrisTS (mail):
yankee:

LOL. I was thinking of the 'sex without consequence of reproduction' idea. No doubt you are correct both literally and figuratively: they won't get pregnant, and they are less concerned about pregenancy as a consequence of their activities than they should be.
9.17.2009 6:25pm
ChrisTS (mail):
yankee:

The last time I checked, New York City still part of the United States. Even the Hamptons are part of the United States. Has there been a civil war I didn't notice?

You did not get the email?
9.17.2009 6:26pm
Seamus (mail):

Indeed, I think that it is unlikely that nayone much cares whtether the Phoenicians or Carthaginians did this, anymore. Now, it's a meme for anti-semites.



Really? And here I thought that it was one that "refer[red] derivatively to any person or thing which demands or requires costly sacrifices." I had no idea that Fritz Lang was being anti-Semitic when he referred to the factory in Metropolis as being Moloch-like. Since he had a Jewish mother, I guess he was a self-hating Jew.
9.17.2009 6:27pm
richard1 (mail):
No offense, but I think what you are really doing is judging large groups by personal anecdotes involving experiences with a handful of individuals, in preference to statistical data gathered by specialists in the field.

And no offense but I think you are trying to do in this post what you do in most of your posts - imply that people who have any criticism of Israel or are, in general, liberals can't be real Jews and that real Jews should be blind supporters of Israel, dyed in the woool conservatives and friends of the Christian Right. (And you still have failed to link to the "statistical data garnered by specialists in the field" - just a reference to some ADL survey that may or may not support your contention).
9.17.2009 6:49pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Seamus:

Wikipedia? Really? Even at that, you might have read the entire article.

Try this:


this working paper attempts to examine analogously three of the most important anti-Jewish images which are intertwined with one another: Ahasver, Moloch, and Mammon.
(emphasis added)
9.17.2009 7:12pm
richard1 (mail):
Mr. Bernstein.

I just looked up the latest (2007) ADL survey on anti-Semitism in America. It doesn't have anything on evangelical Christian v. Christian levels oof anti-Semitism. Is there another survey which addresses this or is it not an ADL survey which you are relying on to support you contention?
9.17.2009 7:34pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
And no offense but I think you are trying to do in this post what you do in most of your posts - imply that people who have any criticism of Israel or are, in general, liberals can't be real Jews and that real Jews should be blind supporters of Israel, dyed in the woool conservatives and friends of the Christian Right.
Well, given that I don't believe any of those things, and am not myself (a) free from criticism of Israel; (b) a dyed in the wool conservative; or (c) a friend of the Christian right, I think it's highly unlikely that I was trying to imply any of that, because it would mean that I was severely criticizing myself.
9.17.2009 8:52pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
As for evangelical anti-Semitism, there's more than one survey, but I'll just repeat Abe Foxman's summary: "ADL polls on anti-Semitism in America show no greater inclination of Evangelical Christians to harbor hateful views of Jews than other groups in American society."
9.17.2009 8:54pm
pot meet kettle (mail):

As have Democrats, even as recently as Carter.


Being anti Israel's behavior is not anti-semitic.
9.17.2009 9:20pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
I would like to thank Mr. Bernstein and all the commenters here to do for Liberalism what a couple of young Conservative students did for ACORN.

American Jews, Liberalism, and … hatred of Christians


In line with the ACORN videos, I thought that I would go to a "respected" website and encourage its commenters to reveal themselves. Instead, I found a thread at the Volokh conspiracy that needs no incitement of disdain and hatred. All comments are cut and pasted, not edited in any way. Please note that these a comments appended to a single essay in a highly respected blog hosted by law professors.

A more telling combination of moral preening and bigotry will be hard to find outside of the Liberal blogosphere. This one is Libertarian.

For the comments, scroll up or go to the link.
9.17.2009 9:37pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Being anti Israel's behavior is not anti-semitic.
No, but it's usually a good indicator. (A lot better indicator than criticizing Obamacare making one a racist.) I didn't say anything about him criticizing Israel's behavior, though.
9.17.2009 9:53pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
No, but it's usually a good indicator. (A lot better indicator than criticizing Obamacare making one a racist.)

No, it's not a good indicator. The vast majority of people who criticize Israel are not anti-Semites, and the vast majority of people who criticize Obama are not racists.

In both instances, however, there are some very vocal people who do qualify, and legitimate questions about how much distancing people need to do.
9.17.2009 10:07pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
FWIW: Modern anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli attitudes.

Cohen, Florette; Jussim, Lee; Harber, Kent D.; Bhasin, Gautam

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 97(2), 2009, 290-306.


Abstract: Anti-Semitism is resurgent throughout much of the world. A new theoretical model of anti-Semitism is presented and tested in 3 experiments. The model proposes that mortality salience increases anti-Semitism and that anti-Semitism often manifests as hostility toward Israel. Study 1 showed that mortality salience led to greater levels of anti-Semitism and lowered support for Israel. This effect occurred only in a bogus pipeline condition, indicating that social desirability masks hostility toward Jews and Israel. Study 2 showed that mortality salience caused Israel, but no other country, to perceptually loom large. Study 3 showed that mortality salience increased punitiveness toward Israel's human rights violations more than it increased hostility toward the identical human rights violations committed by Russia or India. Collectively, results suggest that Jews constitute a unique cultural threat to many people's worldviews, that anti-Semitism causes hostility to Israel, and that hostility to Israel may feed back to increase anti-Semitism.
9.17.2009 10:22pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Andrew J. Lazarus:

And as it happens, I do go camping.

Fascist.


+++++++++++++++++


ChrisTS:

NASCAR and camping as markers of rugged individualism? Rugged individualism as a marker of ...what?

But, really, "the sacrament of abortion." No one, no one, treats abortion as a sacrament. I should think it generally sacreligious to suggest than any medical procedure is a sacrament.

That's because you're a hopeless lib. Ask a rugged Republican man what he thinks of breast implants.


++++++++++++++++


Connecticut Lawyer:

Someone said upthread that Jews (at least, secular or Reform Jews) care about two issues: abortion and Israel. As I noted above, abortion rights are the driving force for most Jewish women in voting Democratic.

Not just the women. Abortion is central to our Jewish identity. As my grandfather once said, "Leo, to be Jewish is to have lots of abortions on demand." The part of the Passover ritual I'm shocked doesn't get more attention is that before we slaughter the Gentile virgins for their blood, we give them all abortions.
9.17.2009 10:31pm
southerner:
I grew up in the rural south, attended a Southern Baptist church, and not once did I hear a statement we might consider anti-semitic. I did on a few rare occasions hear anti-Catholic bunkum ("they're going to hell for worshiping the saints" etc). Nor am I carrying water for evangelicals here, I've long since abandoned religion and become an atheist.

To the extent I thought of Jews as a kid at all, they were people in the Bible, more important than the Egyptians to a Christian, but not a very big part of the concern of preachers or theologians. To the extent there was discussion of Jews or Israel, there was never detailed discussion of modern policy; leading preachers or church members viewed Israel and the Jews as the "home team," and their enemies as dangerous radicals bent on martyrdom.

Jews live overwhelmingly in big cities, where there are very few evangelicals. It's little surprise they do not understand each other all that well.

That said, gaudy displays of Christian religiosity probably strike Jews as a tad hypocritical, and simultaneously remind them of ugly history where they were attacked by people wrapping themselves in similar symbolism. Add to that, the vile antisemitism that sometimes oozes out of the world's Grahams, Robertsons, and Falwells, and I can see where someone who was Jewish would be distinctly unimpressed with evangelicals.
9.17.2009 10:59pm
Teller:

A new theoretical model of anti-Semitism . . . The model proposes that mortality salience increases anti-Semitism and that anti-Semitism often manifests as hostility toward Israel."


While, they found a link between thier new model of anti-Semetism and hostility toward Israel, they, evidently, could not establish the link between hostility toward Israel and anti-Semetism: "hostility to Israel may feed back to increase anti-Semitism."
9.17.2009 11:12pm
pot meet kettle (mail):

No, but it's usually a good indicator.


I've mostly seen it be an excellent indicator of the kinds of people who make like Godwin-analogous allegations of anti-semitism in debated about Israel.
9.17.2009 11:15pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
bernstein, 8:54 pm, citing ADL:

ADL polls on anti-Semitism in America show no greater inclination of Evangelical Christians to harbor hateful views of Jews than other groups in American society


bernstein, 10:22 pm, citing a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

Study 1 showed that mortality salience led to greater levels of anti-Semitism and lowered support for Israel. This effect occurred only in a bogus pipeline condition, indicating that social desirability masks hostility toward Jews and Israel.


That juxtaposition is ironic and helpful.

A "bogus pipeline" is "a fake polygraph used to get participants to truthfully respond to emotional/affective questions." Why is this needed? Because "social desirability masks hostility toward Jews and Israel." Which is a fancy way of saying that if you want to find out if someone is bigoted, you have to do something more clever than simply ask them if they're bigoted. Because if you do it that way, you will probably not get an honest answer. Did the ADL "polls" produce honest answers? Probably not.

In a related matter, it turns out that "racial prejudice predicts voting," and that "Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks." The studies which demonstrate this did not rely on simply asking people whether or not they are racist.

So "polls" are not a reliable way to measure prejudice. I respect ADL and Foxman, but they did not claim to do a proper study. They did "polls."

Also, the study you cited claims only that antisemites are likely to be hostile to Israel. Duh. But it does not claim the reverse (as teller pointed out), which is what's relevant.

In another related matter, it's interesting to notice this claim you once made:

polling data [shows that] Democrats are, as a group, substantially more anti-Semitic than Republicans


What's interesting is that even though your current post is on this exact subject, you refrained from making this claim in your current post. Maybe that's because it was shown that your prior claim was contradicted by ADL, a source you obviously consider reliable for such things. But the open question is why you ever made that claim to begin with (since you were obviously familiar with the ADL report which contradicted your claim), and why you have never retracted that claim.

PS: for anyone wondering about the term "mortality salience," it basically means fear of death. The study claims that when people feel threatened, they become more bigoted.
9.18.2009 9:05am
Seamus (mail):
ChrisTS:

So *some* people have anti-semitic intent when they refer to Moloch. Big deal. The point is whether DangerMouse did. The fact that some people use the image for anti-semitic effect says exactly nothing about whether he did.

That link, by the way, contained the following: "Later [Moloch] served also as an expression of modern life, in particular of urban life.[53] Machines, too, were often called 'Moloch' in a derogatory way, Moloch was cast pejoratively as a symbol of an anonymous, devouring power.[54] Today there are internet sites which agitate explicitly against the autobahn as a 'Moloch,'[55] publicists stir up readers against the 'Moloch USA'[56] in their books." I don't think those uses of the Moloch image are anti-semitic; while the citations aren't to Fritz Lang, it appears that the sources that Heni cites are using the moloch image the same way he did.

And what's your beef with Wikipedia in this case? Do you actually dispute the statement that "In modern English usage, 'Moloch' can refer derivatively to any person or thing which demands or requires costly sacrifices"?

Perhaps you don't spend a lot of time with pro-lifers, but I can assure you that the reference to Moloch is one they commonly use with reference to abortion--not because it has something particularly to do with Jews, but because it has to do with killing babies. (And here's something else you might want to file away: pace Heni, when Christians refer to Mammon, they're generally just talking about money, and aren't thinking of Jews, as Jews, at all.)
9.18.2009 10:26am
ChrisatOffice (mail):
Leo Marvin:

Should I thank you for the near tea through the nose moment? :-)
9.18.2009 12:32pm
ChrisatOffice (mail):
So *some* people have anti-semitic intent when they refer to Moloch. Big deal. The point is whether DangerMouse did. The fact that some people use the image for anti-semitic effect says exactly nothing about whether he did.

I stand corrected: "I should note that it is quite possible that geokstr DangerMouse is just ignorant."
Apologies to geokstr.
9.18.2009 12:35pm
ChrisatOffice (mail):
Seamus:

FWIW, the wiki article also includes this (further down, yet): Elizabeth Dilling's husband, Jeremiah Stokes wrote an anti-Semitic book The Plot Against Christianity, re-released under the title The Jewish Religion: Its Influence Today (with Talmudic writings annotated by Dilling), which quoted Flaubert's description as if it were historically accurate. Information from the novel and film still finds its way into serious writing about Moloch, Melqart, Carthage, and Ba'al Hammon.

As I said, twice now, DangerMouse brought up Molech in the context of a discussion of Jewish women and Jewish support for abortion rights. Maybe he is simply a pro-lifer repeating one of their memes. If so, then I return to the 'just ignorant' description.

Look, I think you have got a bee in your bonnet, and I am not going to be able to do anything about it. If DM thinks I have been unfair to him, I imagine he can let me know on his own.
9.18.2009 12:50pm
c.gray (mail):

The suggestion that Jews vote for Democrats because they are ignorant sparked a thought. We all know that can't be right, the part about ignorant Jews, because Jews are smart.


This reminds me of a conversation I had with a Jewish friend back in college. He explained to me that Jews were going to vote against Reagan in the upcoming '84 election because "Jews don't vote for stupidity."
9.18.2009 1:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Should I thank you for the near tea through the nose moment?


He does that to me all the time.

DangerMouse brought up Molech in the context of a discussion of Jewish women and Jewish support for abortion rights


Indeed. Which suggests he was expressing exactly the same view expressed here: that "the abortion industry" is proof that "present-day Jews sacrifice children to Moloch."
9.18.2009 2:04pm
Guy:
For the record, data shows that, contrary to common belief, men are actually more likely to be pro-choice than women are. Can't point to the original source off hand, but first read about that result from Morris Fiorina's Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America
9.18.2009 2:08pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Collectively, results suggest that Jews constitute a unique cultural threat to many people's worldviews, that anti-Semitism causes hostility to Israel, and that hostility to Israel may feed back to increase anti-Semitism.

I suspect that is completely true. However, it doesn't mean that you can really say that anti-Israel views are "a good indicator" of anti-semitism. Plenty of people who are clearly NOT anti-semites also oppose Israel's policies, because Israel's policies are quite controversial in their own right.

It really is the same as Obama. There are some folks out there who clearly want to go after Obama because of his race. And some of that feeds back into arguments about how Obama is some sort of socialist interloper, etc., which results in additional criticism of Obama's policies.

But that doesn't mean that opposition to Obama is a "good indicator" of racism, because at the same time there are plenty of non-racist critics of Obama.
9.18.2009 2:21pm
ChrisatOffice (mail):
JBG:

Ugh. I appreciate the link; I just wish I had not followed it.
9.18.2009 3:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Fair enough. The words I cited are a clue that it's offensive material, but maybe they don't make it clear just how offensive.
9.18.2009 3:33pm
c.gray (mail):

Plenty of people who are clearly NOT anti-semites also oppose Israel's policies, because Israel's policies are quite controversial in their own right.


I dunno.

As someone with no particular positive feelings for Israel, it often seems to me that Israel's critics are very upset that Israel in particular follows certain policies. Other countries that follow similar, or even worse, policies seem to get ignored or even apologized for by the same voices.

Now anti-Semitism may not be the only plausible explanation for this, but it sure would explain it.
9.18.2009 5:07pm
cbyler (mail):
Also, the study you cited claims only that antisemites are likely to be hostile to Israel. Duh. But it does not claim the reverse (as teller pointed out), which is what's relevant.


This is a very important point. However, many people, which may or may not include Bernstein, have a history of claiming the reverse inference, or making statements that upon examination rely on implicit assumption of the reverse inference.

Bernstein's puzzlement that Jews are liberal appears to rest on the following common, but rarely explicitly expressed, argument:

1. Liberals want policies that are bad for Israel.

2. American Jews care, or should care, more about the well-being of Israel than about most/all other issues.

3. Therefore, it's strange (or even self-hating) for American Jews to be liberal.

But once this argument is explicitly expressed it should become obvious that many American Jews will simply disagree with premises 1 and/or 2, and therefore there's nothing remarkable about them being liberal (especially since they tend to live in liberal parts of the country, and be well educated, and wary of culture wars/"Real Americans" rhetoric, and all the other reasons advanced on this thread).

I do, however, apologize for the excessive curtness of the first sentence/paragraph of my previous post. This particular smear (i.e. misinterpreting differences of opinion on Middle East policy as "hostility" to Israel and then conflating that with anti-Semitism) touches a nerve, and I overreacted.

Particularly since I may have been misinterpreting Bernstein in the first place - his post at 8:52 pm seems to be denying adherence to somewhat similar (though caricatured) reasoning. I do wonder, though, what he means by "the hostility to Israel shown by various left-wing groups with influence in Democratic politics" if it isn't what I thought he meant. (Note particularly that if person A advocates a policy that person B thinks will be bad for Israel, this is not an indicator of hostility if person A *disagrees* as to the likely consequences of that policy. There is a lot of substantive disagreement on the possible outcomes of different possible Middle East policies.)
9.18.2009 5:28pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
As someone with no particular positive feelings for Israel, it often seems to me that Israel's critics are very upset that Israel in particular follows certain policies. Other countries that follow similar, or even worse, policies seem to get ignored or even apologized for by the same voices. Now anti-Semitism may not be the only plausible explanation for this, but it sure would explain it.

It does explain some of it. It is also the case that many people feel strongly that the Palestinians were really victimized by the events in the Middle East in the last century, and therefore care particularly about their plight. And some people probably assume that Israel, because of its aspirations to be a modern democratic state, may listen to reason whereas, say, the North Koreans will not.

But I don't deny, and would never deny, that anti-Semitism is some of the story. What I object to is the idea that if someone is criticizing Israel, that is a "pretty good indicator" of anti-semitism.

Heck, Professor Bernstein himsself criticizes Israel. I've seen him do it on this blog.
9.18.2009 6:56pm
ChrisTS (mail):
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Fair enough. The words I cited are a clue that it's offensive material, but maybe they don't make it clear just how offensive.

On the other hand, how could you have prepared me without saying the really awful stuff? Not your fault at all.
9.18.2009 7:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
gray:

it often seems to me that Israel's critics are very upset that Israel in particular follows certain policies. Other countries that follow similar, or even worse, policies seem to get ignored or even apologized for by the same voices.

Now anti-Semitism may not be the only plausible explanation for this, but it sure would explain it.


In recent times, no other president has been challenged to document his place of birth, even though those other presidents were allegedly born in places that are much closer to foreign land than the place where Obama was born.

Now racism may not be the only plausible explanation for this, but it sure would explain it. On second thought, I can't think of any explanation other than racism. Which is striking when we realize that most Republicans don't understand that he has shown proof of his birth in Hawaii.

Yes, Israel gets lots of attention, but there are several legitimate reasons for that. I won't insult your intelligence by spelling them out. Dilan mentioned a couple of them.
9.18.2009 7:37pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
Chris and jbg, blushing emoticon.
9.18.2009 11:10pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Bernstein's puzzlement that Jews are liberal appears to rest on the following common, but rarely explicitly expressed, argument:

1. Liberals want policies that are bad for Israel.

2. American Jews care, or should care, more about the well-being of Israel than about most/all other issues.

3. Therefore, it's strange (or even self-hating) for American Jews to be liberal.
If you substitute the word "Jews" for Israel in items 1 and 2, perhaps you'd understand the puzzlement better.
9.18.2009 11:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
If you substitute the word "Jews" for Israel in items 1 and 2, perhaps you'd understand the puzzlement better.


If I follow your suggestion, one of the statements I end up with is this: 'American Jews care, or should care, more about the well-being of Jews than about most/all other issues.'

Really? Is this what you think American Jews think, or should think? Why would this be true, unless they think their identity as Jews is more important than their identity as Americans? Please consider these two statements:

A: American Jews care, or should care, more about the well-being of Jews than about most/all other issues.

B: American Jews care, or should care, more about the well-being of Americans than about most/all other issues.

You seem to prefer A to B. I don't know why.

On the other hand, I realize the word "most" is in there, so maybe you have certain exceptions in mind. I just don't know what they are.
9.19.2009 2:08am

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