GrassTopsUSA Exclusive CommentaryBy Don Feder 12-01-09
Among lifeâ€™s most perplexing mysteries:
â€¢ Why do most Americans continue to believe Islam is the â€œreligion of peaceâ€ â€“ a growing international death-toll notwithstanding?
â€¢ Why do the French eat snails and think Jerry Lewis is funny?
â€¢ Why are women surprised that many of the men they have sex with have absolutely no interest in marrying them?
â€¢ Why are the Jews so compulsively/tragically liberal?
My friend Ira, a Hasidic Jew who lives in the Boston-area, once told me if he goes to vote and sees two candidates for an office, and he knows nothing about them other than that one has a Jewish name and the other doesnâ€™t, he automatically votes for the non-Jew. He assumes, quite logically, that the gentile is less likely to be mushugana (just plain nuts) than the Jew.
President Obama â€“ the clearest evidence yet that most Jews are delusional on matters political â€“ just appointed Hannah Rosenthal the State Departmentâ€™s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. Apparently, Pat Buchanan was unavailable. Coming soon: Obama appoints â€œDa Vinci Codeâ€ author Dan Brown U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.
Rosenthal sits on the board of J Street, the Soros-funded, Jewish cell-group which wants negotiations with the Hitlerites of Hamas, opposes sanctions on the nuclear-armed Holocaust-deniers of Iran, and believes anti-Semitism is caused mainly by Israel's survival instinct.
Obamaâ€™s policy toward Israel has been exactly what youâ€™d expect from someone who sat in church for 19 years listening to his Afro-centrist preacher spew hatred of America, Israel and Jews, while fawning on Farrakhan. If B.O. canâ€™t rouse Jewish voters from their 80-year coma, nothing can. Nothing can.
An October 3 headline in The National Catholic Register read, â€œPresident Obama Finds Greatest Support Among Atheists and Jews.â€ At least atheists have it right.
The story reported on a September Gallup poll that showed 66% of Jewish voters approve of Obamaâ€™s performance, thatâ€™s 22 percentage points higher than the presidentâ€™s approval rating among the general public at that time, and 27 points higher than his white Protestant support.
Granted, this is considerably lower than Obamaâ€™s 83% Jewish approval rating in January. But the presidentâ€™s ratings from all segments of the electorate have declined proportionally.
Israelis (of necessity more connected to reality) donâ€™t share this euphoria. According to an August Jerusalem Post poll, only 4% believe Obamaâ€™s policies are â€œpro-Israel,â€ versus the 51% who think Barak Hussein is â€œpro-Palestinian.â€
People like Norman Podhoretz (admittedly, a great man) keep writing books with titles like â€œWhy Are Jews Liberals?" Every other talk show that I do begins with the question: â€œMr. Feder, as a practicing Jew, perhaps you can explain why most American Jews are so liberal, when self-interest and common sense dictate the opposite.â€
I can in less than 10 words: â€œLiberalism is the religion of secular Jewsâ€ â€“ as well as the religion of ex-Catholics, Jack Mormon and many evangelicals whoâ€™ve left the fold.
Jews and liberalism go together like bagels and lox, blintzes and sour cream â€“ like ACORN and voter fraud. Podhoretz tells us that since 1928, Democrats have, on average, taken 75% of the Jewish vote in presidential elections.
Despite warning signs the size of billboards (surrounded by blinking electric lights), Obama captured 78% of the Jewish vote last year, compared with 53% of the electorate. Other than black voters, Jews remain the Messiahâ€™s most reliable constituency.
The standard explanations for Jewish leftism are: 1. Like Judaism, liberalism calls for succoring the poor and downtrodden (now known as â€œsocial justiceâ€ â€“ Marxism by another name) 2. In pre-war Europe, anti-Semitism was a phenomenon of the right and 3. Having been persecuted for most of their history, Jews tend to identify with victims.
These rationalizations can almost be dismissed out of hand.
1. Treating the stranger justly and providing for the widow and orphan arenâ€™t the essence of Judaism. Saying Judaism is about charity is like saying Jesus is about love. (BTW, the Torah says you provide for the widow and orphan, not you take the income of others to support them.) If there was an identity between Judaism and liberalism, why are the Jews who are the most ignorant of Jewish law (the most Jewishly illiterate) the most liberal, while those who live, breath and (quite literally) eat Torah values are the most conservative?
2. In pre-war Europe, anti-Semitism was mostly a phenomenon of the right â€“ except for Marxism (look at Marxâ€™s writings and the way the commissars treated Soviet Jews) and National Socialism, another revolutionary movement. Today, anti-Semitism is almost exclusively the domain of the left and radical Islam (on which the left dotes). Wherever the left is strongest â€“ including academia and the mainstream media â€“ there hatred of Israel and hostility toward Jews is most pronounced.
3. Like liberals generally, Jewish liberals flatter themselves by imagining a bond with the poor and persecuted. Thatâ€™s why they seek to keep them in a dependent state and destroy the bottom-rung jobs that would lift them out of poverty. Who is the real victim anyway â€“ the guy who wonâ€™t work, or the guy with a menial job whose taxes support the drone?
No, we must look elsewhere for the gnarled roots of Jewish liberalism.
Above all, Jews are believers. In fact, they are the original believers. In a world of idols, fertility rites and infant sacrifice â€“ a world where the strong took what they wanted â€“ the Jews came with their belief in an invisible, universal God who demands righteousness and holiness (sacrifices of the heart).
More than any other people, Jews must believe in something. When that something isnâ€™t Torah, itâ€™s something else â€“ scientific determinism, socialism, evolutionism, animal rights, global warming, transcendental meditation or real-estate investment trusts. Of these, liberalism is the most satisfying and most closely resembles traditional religion.
Like Judaism and Christianity, liberalism offers a vision of salvation (the secular liberal state) and damnation (an eternity of being forced to watch FOX News).
It has its roster of saints and sinners. The former include feminists, environmentalists, gay-marriage activists, the ACLU, NOW, Amnesty International and Ted Kennedy. Amongst the latter are gun owners, those who drive SUVs, families with more than four children, oil companies, advocates of intelligent design and Sarah Palin.
Each has its rituals. For the left, itâ€™s recycling, multiculturalism, sex education, Harvey Milk Day, a womanâ€™s â€œright to choose,â€ and an activist judiciary. Liberalism even has its sacred writings â€“ among them â€œThe Population Bomb,â€ â€œThe Earth In Balance,â€ â€œThe Feminine Mystique,â€ â€œDreams of My Father,â€ and the editorial pages of The New York Times.
There is a direct correlation between a lack of involvement with traditional religion and membership in the Church of Liberalism. Voting in the 2000 presidential election precisely paralleled church attendance.
Those who went to church more than once a week voted for Bush over Gore by 68% to 32%. Voters who went weekly favored W. by 58% to 42%. Gore captured the occasional churchgoers (59% to 41%). Seldom went to church voted Democratic by 61% to 39%, and the I-donâ€™t-believe-in-superstitious-mumbo-jumbo backed Gore by 65% to 35%.
Church attendance/religious involvement is a greater indicator of voting patterns than income, education, race or employment.
Jews, who are more secular than any other segment of the American people, fit this pattern perfectly. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 39% of Americans attend religious services weekly, while 56% say religion plays a â€œvery importantâ€ role in their lives. For Jews, those figures are 16% and 31% respectively.
How the Jews became so secular is another story. Depending on the country and era, European Jews were circumscribed socially, segregated, limited professionally, stigmatized, attacked, plundered and murdered en mass.
Leaving their rabbis and great teachers behind in Europe for the most part, many who came here during the great wave of Jewish immigration (1880-1920) were desperately eager to assimilate and take advantage of American openness and opportunity. There are stories of Jewish men throwing their tfillin (phylacteries) overboard as their ship approached these shores.
The exception to Jewish secularism is Orthodox Jews, who attend synagogue religiously and generally vote Republican. Among the Orthodox, affinity for Republicans rises from modern Orthodox to very Orthodox to Hasidic. The latter vote like life-members of the NRA.
Of an American Jewish population of 5.3 million, only 10% are Orthodox. Thatâ€™s changing. Among Jews under 21, 20% are Orthodox.
American Jews generally have a well-below replacement birth rate â€“1.86 children per woman. They not only embrace liberalism, they practice it â€“ in terms of late marriage, no marriage and a desire for small families. In consequence, they are becoming an endangered species.
The Jews who do have large families are overwhelmingly Orthodox. Go to the Crown Heights or Boro Park sections of Brooklyn and youâ€™ll see Jewish mothers with 4 or 5 children in tow, and a few more at home. (The birth rate for Orthodox Jews ranges from 3.3 for the modern Orthodox to 7.9 for Hasidic Jews.) Go to New Yorkâ€™s Upper East Side, and, instead of pushing strollers, youâ€™ll see Jewish women cuddling careers in law or investment banking, with a â€œlife-long partnerâ€ at home.
The problem of Jewish liberalism will correct itself, as the Orthodox become a greater portion of the Jewish population and secular Jews go the way of the dodo bird, which, come to think of it, were non-kosher â€“ like Jewish liberals.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.