Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Jewish and Post-Jewish Vote

Last Shabbat I sat at a table in my local synagogue while a group of men argued over the election. They weren't arguing over who they should vote for, they were arguing over just how bad Obama was, their voices rising and falling as they named one detail after another. They weren't necessarily Republicans, but they were politically conservative, as my community and as almost all of the traditional Jewish communities in America are.

This is how I grew up, and while for many, the Liberal Jew is the norm, for me he remains a strange creature, a shipwrecked sailor marooned on a liberal desert island for a century who no longer knows who he is anymore.

There is a great deal of talk about the Jewish vote in this and every election. Probably more talk than it merits. But let us clarify what we are talking about when we talk about the Jewish vote. As with the Catholic vote and the vote of every religious group, there are the votes of those who believe in the religion and the votes of those who do not. With the Jews, who are not only a religion, but a race and an ethnicity, there is the Jewish vote and the post-Jewish vote.

Or to put it another way; there are Jews and there are shipwrecked Jews.

American Jews can be broken down roughly into the products of three periods of immigration. The first began with Columbus' Jewish crew members and continued down to the mid 19th Century bringing primarily Spanish Jews and then German Jews to the American Colonies and later the United States.

This is the immigration that produced famous American Jews like Asser Levy, the first Jew to win the right to bear arms in defense of the place that would later become New York, Uriah P. Levy, a Navy Commodore who helped preserve Monticello,Judah P. Benjamin, the Secretary of State for the Confederacy and Emma Lazarus, whose famous poem has become synonymous with the Statue of Liberty.

This group was roughly split between Republicans and Democrats; though at the time those party identifiers didn't have the same conservative and liberal signifiers that they do today.

The next wave of immigration was primarily made up of Jewish refugees from Russia and Eastern Europe escaping the meltdown of Czarism. They arrived mostly after the Civil War, in time for the Unionist experiment that created centralized educational systems and the "melting pot" that was meant to efficiently transform the United States of America into a modern republic.

This second wave turned rigidly Democratic under the rough tutelage of the urban political machine and the gentler tutelage of an educational system meant to turn Jewish, Irish and Italian immigrants into proper Americans-- and to the people running the melting pot machine, Americanism meant Liberalism. They didn't always succeed, but they succeeded well enough to build an immigrant electorate for the Democratic Party.

The Liberal Jew was a product of that melting pot which stripped him of his cultural identity and his religion, leaving behind a hole that he filled with the messianism of liberal politics. The graduates of the melting pot were economically successful and well educated, but they had lost their sense of self. Looking for that sense of self, they became devout attendees of progressive politics, filling the hole with bitter greenie humor that poked fun at everything, especially themselves.

American Jewish identity became liberal identity, and the massive cultural hole was filled with humor which has found its natural end in the degraded vaudeville of Woody Allen and Larry David or the bitter frustrations of a Philip Roth. The trinity of FDR, JFK and Obama became their faith and their identity became a series of in-jokes about eating Chinese food on Christmas. Like the Spanish Jewish Conversos, they had a secret identity but they no longer knew what the secret was.

This second wave of immigration would define American Jewish identity. It is the invariable focus of American Jewish literature and the PBS specials on the American Jewish journey that run before major Jewish holidays. It is also on the way out for the simple reason that such an identity is in no shape to be passed on to the next generation. The copying errors of cultural DNA in such bad shape mean that each generation ends up knowing less about who it is than the last one. And that means each generation is also less likely to be Jewish and more likely to be liberal.

The second wave's DNA copying errors has produced a lot of abortion and gay rights activists, it hasn't produced a lot of children. Like all cultural mistakes, Liberal Judaism is wiping itself out. It leaves behind a lot of jokes, some inventive pop products that defined 20th Century Americana and some Unitarians with Jewish roots who fast for Gaza and denounce Israel.

Second wave liberal Jews had become Post-Jews within a Post-American ideology. And though they still identify as Jewish, what they mostly are is an echo, a faint snatch of song now rendered illegible, a lost people slipping away into the shadows.

The third wave of Jewish immigration began shortly before World War II and continues into the present day. It consists of the Jewish communities of Europe who fled Nazi persecution, Russian Jews who fled Communist persecution and Jews from the Middle East who fled Muslim persecution.

This third wave is largely conservative, and while the same could have been said of the second wave  arriving in 1882 or 1914, the third wave came as communities, and have largely been able to transplant their culture and religion to the United States.

In 1892, Jews came to the United States as cheap labor. In 1946 they came with the remnants of communities that they were determined to rebuild. While the second wave fled to the suburbs, they stuck it out in the cities building up integrated communities that remained true to their culture and their religion. These communities were primarily concerned with the education of their children.

This is not true of the entire third wave, just as not everything that I have said is true of the entire second wave. But largely the second wave operated on a progressive impulse, while the third wave operated on a traditionalist impulse. The second wave was concerned with leaving behind the old ways, while the third wave tried to preserve them, reconstructing the ashes of the thriving Jewish communities of Russia, Poland, Syria, Egypt and Iran in the United States.

The second wave adapted, and lost their identity. The third wave adapted and kept their identity. The second wave had few children and even fewer Jewish children. The third wave had a great many children and viewed having children as a cultural and religious duty. And through the force of simple demographics, theirs is the future. 74 percent of Jewish children in New York are Orthodox. Ten years from now, the New York Jewish vote will be as reliably Republican as it was once Democrat.

The third wave is innately conservative. Orthodox Jews from Eastern Europe and Syria are as reliably conservative, as second wave Jewish college educated suburbanites were liberal, and Russian refugees from Communism are as conservative as Cubans refugees from Communism. All three groups have an instinctive distaste and distrust for the rhetoric of progressivism. They have lost too much not to be traditionalists. Their identity is all that they have.

Second wave liberal Jews is what most people think of when they think of American Jews, but the relevance and demographic sway of that group is dimming. The new American Jew can be found in the working class sections of New York and he is an Orthodox small businessman poring over boxes of t-shirts or toasters in a hole in the wall in Brooklyn, he is a Syrian Jew clearing land on a new lot and an Israeli getting another moving company off the ground and a Russian immigrant driving a cab.

This is the new face of the American Jew and it will be the definitive one for some time to come. The Post-Jewish vote of the Liberal Post-American Post-Jew is on the way out and the Jewish vote is already coming into play in Brooklyn where Republicans are beginning to win Jewish districts.

The new American Jew is not overly committed to political parties, but to values. He believes that small business should be able to operate without government interference, he believes that families raise children, not governments, and he distrusts government in general. The messianic impulse of progressivism holds little appeal for him. He does not feel guilt over race relations and is not moved by appeals to abortion. He has no use for gay marriage and while, like a lot of working class people, he feels some sympathy for unions, he does not like public sector unions who seem to have it made.

Unlike his liberal second wave predecessors, he believes in G-d, not as some abstract inspiration, but as an actual reality. Values to him are objective, right and wrong is black and white, and family is all that matters. Government to him exists to crack down on criminals and on foreign invaders, he does believe that the country can kill its way to a solution and dismisses politicians who think it can't.

He is a man or woman of common sense and what his common sense tells him is to distrust glibness and to trust results. He doesn't want to lower the oceans or worship at the feet of a political messiah. He isn't looking for a religion to replace his religion, he doesn't want a savior, he wants a future for his family. He is the new American Jew and his vote, the vote of the third wave is the vote of the Jewish future.


Noah David Simon said...

The first wave of Jews (the Separdics) were a lot more liberal then the second wave of Ashkenazis, but it is a little hard to prove because most of us completely integrated and are no longer Jews.

lemon lime moon said...

Interesting post.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

some were, though that far back, the definitions warp

Anonymous said...

You are very young and have a very narrow view. How can a true traditional Jew support a Republican party that wants to dictate morality from a evangelical Christian pulpit? And even that "morality", if you can call it that, is twisted to meet the needs of the robber barons who run the Republican party. It is not a Torah ethic, or even a Christian ethic, to take from the poor and give to the rich. To turn your back on the elderly, disabled, or sick. To cut people off from healthcare. To the Jews, life is precious. When an uninsured woman is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in a hospital emergency room because she had no health insurance to be diagnosed in time to save her life, how can you possibly say this is a Jewish ethic? Healthcare for all was one of the first priorities of Ben-Gurion when he established the State of Israel. Maybe you should consider the notion that you are more a product of runaway American capitalism then traditional Judaism, which is dictated by a Torah of ethics through compassion.

Will48 said...

@Anonymous, Israel didn't have healthcare for all until 1994. And it steadily goes downhill ever since. Just two facts for you.

Bb said...

Anon. Care to give sources? I would say that a country is not obligated to commit national financial suicide to pay for healthcare that would diagnose everyone early. That might be more ''Jewish". I think you missed an important point Daniel was making. Religious Jews are not commited to a party but to principles and those principles are dictates not by changing social norms but by an unchanged objective moral code. They will vote the the party most aligned with these principles. There may be some truth to the "Republucan Barons" argument but you are sadly naive if you think the same is not true of the Democratic party. It is not a Jewish value to take from the poor and give to the rich but neither is it a republican value. I invite you to show where the republican party wishes to do this. Moreover, could you please show where it is a Jewish value to take from the rich to give to the poor, a strong democratic value. Sadly modern Anerican Jews have taken their own liberal Greco-roman version of ethics and decided that these are Jewish when in reality they have no concept of Jewish values to begin with. You claim that life is previous to Judaism, and this is true, but when orthodox Jews employ the same principle to argue against triage according to age and prognosis (for example admission to ICUover a certain age) then these laws are antiquated and not in touch with the needs of a modern society. Anon, you ate entitled to believe the a republican conservative worldview is wrong but please, firstly grow up and realize that the democrats are politicians too and secondly do not transpose what you believe to be Jewish law onto modern liberal ethic

Shaun said...

Interesting read. Agree with most of you points although the fist wave of Jews has all but disappeared. Much like the second wave will.
The comment by anonymous only goes to prove you point.

Ex-Dissident said...

Daniel, I am part of that 3rd wave and I can give some perspectives not found in your article. The Russian emigrants don't trust Communism but also brought with them many socialist expectations, having been indoctrinated into Communist mythology while young. They are fiercely pro-Israel and that I believe was the main reason they turned off to liberals and Democrats. Their children who grew up here, remember the damage done by Carter and therefore have a more positive view of Republicans. Furthermore, as their children went into the business community, they developed more conservative views as compared to the 2nd wave you described. Therefore it is a combination of distrust of Communism, being turned off by anti-Israel liberal viewpoints, and running a small business.

ikaika said...

... a Republican party that wants to dictate morality from a evangelical Christian pulpit?
As a Roman Catholic, I laugh when liberals hurl out the "evangelical" epithet.
It's an Alinsky tactic to target a fringe message and to claim that "all Republicans are Southern Baptist Evangelicals!"
What is more frightening when Liberals minimise humanity, individiduality and cultural identity for the sake of politics. Hardly the message of the Republican party, but more akin to the design of totalitarian regimes.
You went there, anonymous - I didn't.

Back to the post:
I believe when Joe Lieberman went independent, it was more telling that the Democrat Party wasn't willing to make peace with him prior to the split. The new Hard Left that is now the voice of the Democrat party and took offense that Lieberman had an ounce of piety and integrity by comparison.
It was particularly galling to Clinttonites that Lieberman dare speak his mind as well as take pride in his religion.
I was never a Lieberman fan, but I felt that he was unfairly castigated by the new left as he left the party.
Will Dov Hikind go independent? Probably not, but I can't see a voice of conservatism being nurtured within the current stricture of the 21st Century DNC.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

The second wave of immigrants became Jewish, as Einstein's bagels became bread.

Boil then bake makes conservative bagels.

Anonymous said...

***The second wave of immigrants became Jewish, as Einstein's bagels became bread.

Boil then bake makes conservative bagels.***

Some of these metaphors are a bit obscure for a gentile. Could someone enlighten me?


Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Anonymous, how can a traditional Jew support a Democratic Party that wants to dictate total immortality from a radical anti-religious perspective?

The Torah ethic is for people to give to the sick, not for people to turn the government into a middle man so that they can ignore the sick.

ikaika, the left is driven to engage in successive purges to achieve ideological purity. Any Democrat will eventually be purged if he lives long enough

Adam Greenfield said...

Much of my family’s heritage is a mystery that is dying off with the generation before my own. Not sure which wave, I know I was always told that we were of Russian and Polish decent. The more I learn of the overall history of our people as a whole, I realize to consider myself a Jew of Russian or Polish decent is silly. I doubt my ancestors where in Russia saying they were "Russian Israeli" or "Polish Middle Eastern".

Today I consider myself a Jew, or Israeli American as Israel is the land given to our people and most Jews if you go back far enough lived in Israel.

I think the Jewish community as a whole, if they value this beautiful heritage needs to do a better job here in America of educating our children properly about the heritage. When I grew up my Jewish education was almost non existent. It took until my mid 20's to reconnect and I know many of my childhood friends who were raised in a similar way have still not reconnected with God.

Adam Greenfield said...

" How can a true traditional Jew support a Republican party that wants to dictate morality from a evangelical Christian pulpit? "

How can a traditional Jew not appreciate another person's convictions that emulate their own, and are actually just a different branch of the same tree?

"It is not a Torah ethic, or even a Christian ethic, to take from the poor and give to the rich."

ISAIAH 65:22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

" To turn your back on the elderly, disabled, or sick."

Untrue propaganda. You too must be "very young and have a very narrow view." Before the Welfare state these were functions of the church or synagogue.

"To the Jews, life is precious." Yet Democrats support abortion, Dr assisted suicide, and lately the genocide of Jews in Israel.

"When an uninsured woman is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in a hospital emergency room because she had no health insurance to be diagnosed in time to save her life, how can you possibly say this is a Jewish ethic? "

This is a commonly read story of the Healthcare systems of Canada, UK, France, etc. This is not an American attribute. We have had laws on the books for generations now that no one is turned away for lack of insurance. Sure, the US system has problems, but it is far from needing a complete overhall.

Anonymous said...

The Debbie Wasserman Schultz type of Jew is dying out or should I say so assimilated that they are strictly Jewish by birth. Too many liberal Jews think they are good Jews because they fast on Yom Kippur and worship at the altar of F.D.R. or have seen the movie "Gandhi" or "The Color Purple" twice.

Anonymous said...

*** and are actually just a different branch of the same tree?***

Adam, heartwarming.


DodgerUSA said...

Anonymous –

You fit the description of the liberal, unthinking American secular Jew who none of us can stand. You are threatened by Evangelical morality, yet secular morality doesn’t bother you. Islam doesn’t seem to bother you either. We look across the pond in Europe and see Jews under physical attack from Muslim populations while the secular natives offer us no defense and themselves go after basic tenets of Judaism (like Kosher laws and Circumcision). But you’re concerned about Evangelicals. And let me tell you something else: much of Evangelical morality IS taken from the Tanakh. Not all of it, but much of it. America was founded by Christians who revered the Tanakh and the Evangelicals are the proud continuation of that tradition. That’s why religious American Jews and Israelis get along well with Evangelicals. Because we both get our morality and values from the Tanakh.

Now, you raise many economic issues that you try to cast as moral issues because you clearly have no economic background. But where do Republicans take from the poor to give to the rich? Are you talking about marginal tax rates? Is taking earned income from the productive what you mean? If so, why are ‘the poor’ so much better off in the historically low tax, capitalist US versus say, the middle class in historically high tax Europe? Why are the poor in the United States richer than 99% of the globe? Here’s why: because capitalism is based on individual responsibility (which happens to be a basic tenet of Judaism). We don’t believe in ‘social justice.’ We believe in justice based on how each individual acts. And healthcare? You confuse health insurance with health care. Better healthcare will come from more competition and rising incomes, not from the government forcing providers to provide everything for everyone, leading to inevitable shortages and declining quality for all. No one is turned away here in the ER. No one. And Israel, need I remind you, has 7 million people, versus 300 million people in the US. What is feasible in Israel is not feasible here. It is not compassionate to make everyone equally miserable based on utopian ideals that have proved time and time again to have not worked. I would encourage you to go back and read your Tanakh, although I doubt you believe any of it. You are the shame of our community. Go protest in favor of abortion and for gay marriage. Sicko.

jenna said...

This post will be sent to all my perplexed non-Jewish Conservative friends who agonize over why most American Jews seem to vote liberal no matter what.

Also, please, please, please get yourself a good proofreader!! You write quickly and brilliantly, but not necessarily accurately. Too many typos spoil the meaning. For example:

"This is how I grew up, and while for many, the Liberal Jew in the norm," Don't you mean "is" the norm? Or do you mean "in the main"? See what I mean?

Anonymous said...

Where both parties effectively take from the poor, or at least from those that work to earn a wage, and give to the rich is through their support of mass immigration. As inflation robs one of their savings, flooding the labor market devalues the worth of one's labor. As a native Californian born before 1965, Adam's quote of Isaiah 65:22 lays bare how insidious are our post-1965 immigration policies. The collective wealth of a State or Nation, reflected in its institutions, infrastructure, communities, built up over generations, is not passed free and clear to the succeeding generation, but instead is given to a population of strangers.


Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Adam, "Today I consider myself a Jew, or Israeli American as Israel is the land given to our people and most Jews if you go back far enough lived in Israel."

That's a great way to put it.

Anon, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not in a Jewish marriage so that's already over.

Jenna, I proofread when I have time. Often articles go up first draft and the readers either point out mistakes or accept them as they are.

jenna said...

Okay, I'll continue to point out mistakes, but only if they appear to cloud the meaning. In the main, your posts are absolutely great!

Anonymous said...

As a non-Jew i am always amazed by Jews voting counter self-interest and am convinced that Jews in the US would vote for Hitler if he ran on the democrat ticket.

DodgerUSA said...

Kevin - on 1965 immigration, you are 100% correct. That disaster changed the course of our nation for the worse. That was a disaster that has harmed everyone.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Jenna, thank you

Anon, they did vote for Hitler. His name was FDR

Empress Trudy said...

One needs to read "IBM and the Holocaust". Tom Watson was the most honored and esteemed businessman in America at the time. A close personal friend, confidant and adviser to FDR and semi openly doing massive business with the Nazis throughout the war all the time helping them, specifically helping them, with carrying out the Holocaust. Watson knew what was going on, FDR knew what was going on. Hell the New York Goddamn Times printed stories about the Holocaust as early as the end of 1941 a few weeks before Pearl Harbor.

Adam Greenfield said...

Trudy, it is well known FDR and actually more so his wife were vicious anti-Semites. Boats of Jewish refugees were turned awy by order of FDR. Joe Kennedy Sr was a big time supporter of Hitler and even spent time in Germany with the Nazis. Pearl Harbor was the only reason we got involved in WWII. It was part of the package to fight the Japanese you had to fight their ally Germany too. It wasn't until the Liberation of the Camps when pictures of the actual horrors hitting home did popular opinion sway, and even as the populous changed, FDR never appologized for sending boat loads of Jews back to Europe to essentially be exterminated.

This is why Israel is so vital to Jews. Its existance means no matter what, we will always have some where to go if we need one again.

mephilopalous said...

Anonymous asked How can a true traditional Jew support a Republican party that wants to take from the poor and give to the rich. That is an inversion of the fact that Democrats want to take more and more from wage earners to give to those who don't earn or who earn less. That is stealing. Stealing is against Jewish ethics. In fact one of the ten commandments is thou shalt not steal. Jewish law does require charity be given to the poor. The Torah commands us to give 10 percent of our earnings to people in need, based on Leviticus 25:35 and Deut. 15:7-8. This is called Ma'aser, literally "one tenth". That is much less than is stolen by the government from the wealthy and even the middle class.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

more to the point that money doesn't go to the poor, it goes to the government

George Brighling said...

Quoting Mr. Greenfield: "Anon, they did vote for Hitler. His name was FDR"
The post is pretty decent, but when you compare FDR to Hitler you are going way over the edge. You also belittle the horrors done by Hitler when you allow yourself to do this sort of thing.

Me Again said...

Thank you Daniel for explaining something that had me puzzled for a long time. At the same time, you really described my father, whose parents came over on the spaghetti boat in that same time frame as the Ashkenazi Jews. He was nominally Catholic, but was totally enamored with liberal democrats. Now I can see why. It took me a long time to find out the hard way that the so-called liberalism carried to the ultimate conclusion was Stalinism.
By the way, the liberal wealth redistribution plans are simply vote buying gimmicks. The illegal alien amnesty is another vote-buying gimmick. Buy enough votes, and there will be only one party. The Republicans need to get off the Bush/McCain amnesty kick as it will backfire, as the amnestees will vote for the party giving away the most vote-buying gimmicks. But I digress.
Also for the anonymous #1, the UK, NZ, and Australia have socialized medicine of one form or another. There is a parallel system in each for people that can afford US style health insurance and can go to private healthcare. These 3 countries are in the middle of adopting US style healthcare innovations to make the socialized system function.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Yes it's not just Jews. A lot of it applies to Catholic immigrants who arrived in a similar time frame.

mindRider said...

Daniel, what percentage of your readers is Jewish, any idea? As I read the comments, not only on this article I figure very high, probably because in general the percentage of intellectually engaged lists large numbers of Jews, not that this matters much but of course we all have a tendency to prefer to be preached to by our own church.

mephilopalous said...

My comment was incomplete. The government takes the money not only from those who earn but also, by borrowing, from our children. When the government prints money it takes money from everyone, rich and poor by inflating it. Likewise our children who have to pay back the debt will be rich and poor. Also we will have to start paying back the debt before our children do. So when anonymous is upset about how the Republicans take money from the poor, he should be upset how the Democrats take money from the poor and from all of us.

Jewish supporter said...

Daniel, I'm not sure that your analysis of the Jewish community, or Jewish characteristics/ politics features among your best work. I have recently pursued an interest in Jewish history by reading books written about and by Jews, and by following Jewish blogs. What strikes me is how little penetrating self-analysis is carried out by Jewish intellectuals. It is far easier to find material by Jews critiquing outside communities, than to see that same level of self-reflection.

Your community would benefit from more open discussion. Too often politics stands in for a sense of Jewish identity or "Jewish interests". As the anonymous blogger above shows, this often leads Jews to overlook sources of natural allies. It also causes them to often see themselves only as the "other" and to embrace politics that reflect this identity.

Anonymous said...

*** As the anonymous blogger above shows, this often leads Jews to overlook sources of natural allies.***

I think this is telling. Jews may already know this but it bears repeating: Christians are very fond of Jews. As Adam Greenfield said above, our religions are branches of the same tree.

Affection may not be the thing you're looking for, and I hope it doesn't sound patronizing, but don't dismiss it.

Moses gave us our law and Christians and Jews try to obey it. Psalm 23 is one of the poetic glories of The King James Bible:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;"

Would anyone on this blog doubt that, united against our common enemy, Islam is as nothing.


Anonymous said...

A while ago somewhere in the internet I read about JINO's (Jews in Name Only),a very accurate term that defines the majority of secular American Jews today, which in turn (still but not for much too long) account for the majority of US Jews. The article talked about JINO's religion being liberalism, not Judaism. About their god being the dollar, not the Almighty. About their values being self-indulgence and instant retribution, not the precepts laid down in the Torah. About their morality giving way to consumerism. About education being just the means to achieve wealth or status, rather than a goal.

That's how Jews can have a Noam Chomsky or a Wasserman-Schultz or a Henry Kissinger amongst their ranks. But these should actually be tagged as JINOS, and then the proper perspective is achieved.

Although the same would apply to a big chunk of goyim as well, Jews are still expected to be on a higher standard. But then, modern American Jews have not made it to that standard.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

mindRider, I don't know. I suspect from a third to half.

Jewish supporter, most analysis are colored by beliefs and objectives, mine is no different than that. But due to the amount of 'engagement' with the Jewish question, by Jews and non-Jews, an objective analysis is going to be nearly impossible.

churchill, not to minimize what you're saying, but some Christians. Christians are not a single group, just as Jews are not a single group.

Anonymous, JINO is a useful definition.

Their god though is the progressive ideology, their values are building a progressive kingdom of heaven on earth, because they don't believe in one in heaven and their morality is driven by that same perspective.

Essentially this is liberal theology, and not just limited to Jews.

Adam Greenfield said...

"Jewish supporter" and "Anonymous" two up. Yes, Christians and Jews to those who are involved and informed are strong allies. As Daniel points out though just as there are different sects of Jews whose opinions don't always align, there are different sects of Christians as well. Southern Christians and Catholics do not tend to be big fans.

There are two Theological factions this stems from. Replacement Theology and Continuation Theology. Most Christian (non Catholic) sects point to Jesus being raised Jewish (he never converted or denounced his Judaism) showing a continuation of Judaism. While some believe Christianity replaced Judaisim. This is also the Theology suscribed to by Islam. Dr Mark Drurie is one of the most profound investigators I know of for this contrast.

If you subscribe to Continuation Theology I would reccomend the following activist groups;

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews


Christians and Jews United for Israel

Both noble groups who need as much help as they can get to strengthen the relationship.

Anonymous said...


Curiously, in all that I've read, I've gained the impression that Southern (US) Christians - the Evangelical variety - are the most supportive. You will know better, so I stand to be corrected.

Likewise, I've never detected any hostility from Catholics. Again, your experience may be different.

Daniel, I take your point. My best fiend at school was Jewish and I used regularly to spend Friday evenings at his house since only gentiles could do the travelling. I grew to like the various culinary offerings on the table and the observance of the candles (I seem to remember Menorah candles but it may have been a different festival), so maybe I'm a little romantic about these things.


P.S. No-one has enlightened me about the bagel thing yet.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Adam, while those are good points, replacement theology doesn't necessarily indicate unfriendliness and its absence doesn't always indicate friendliness. There's a danger in oversimplifying this or trying to classify Christians by theology which is far more complicated than Jewish theology and ignores the human factor.

Churchill, We all have our own history and that shapes who we are. That's my larger point. People are more than theology.

A sizable number of American Christians who support Israel have very little experience with Jews.

I have no idea how bagels are made, so it'll have to be someone else. Anything more complicated than can be done by a bread machine is out of my league.

Rita said...

Thanks for this article. It goes a long way towards explaining what I (German born, catholic raised and politically conservative)considered as an inexplicable tendancy to mass suicide/homicide by those anti semites who call themselves Jews, eg those demonisers of Israel who belong to the Judenhass promoting BDS mob. I hope that you are right in suggesting that this "wave" is on the way out, although - looking around the net and at media like BBC, ABC & SBS (in Australia) etc. I cannot completely share your optimism.

Psst, is Adam your brother?

tpaull said...


Thanks Daniel, for another very insightful and, to me, optimistic article. Optimistic in the sense that you've revealed that the political leanings of American Jews is moving away from the Democratic party. A move in the right direction! This topic has certainly struck a nerve as its generated more comments than usual.

I wanted to respond to some of the comments by the first 'Anonymous', as many others have already done. His remarks were condescending and ill-informed, and essentially parroting the typical (il)liberal world view as expressed regularly in 'Media Matters' or 'Move On' talking points. He can only see the world through these distorted filters and cannot comprehend that a credible but different world view can exist. So, he calls you young and narrow-viewed.

Well, I am old and broad-viewed. I am a very low serial number baby boomer, born just after WWII, and now a 'senior citizen'. My grandparents were Second Wave immigrants and refugees from the pogroms in Eastern Europe in the early part of the 20th c. We were raised in the Orthodox Jewish tradition. My parents, who were themselves not well educated, devoted themselves to the goal of educating their children. I went to Hebrew schools and have a deep knowledge of Torah and Talmud, as well as several E.E. degrees. While never rejecting Judaism, but in order to illuminate Judaic wisdom teachings, I spent over 40 years studying western and eastern philosophy, psychology, and other religious traditions, in particular Tibetan Buddhism, in which I have extensive teachings from many great Tibetan teachers. My wife is Christian, raised by two Salvation Army ministers, whose lives were devoted to helping the sick and the poor, mostly in Third World countries.

I consider myself quite knowledgeable about at least 3 major religions, and have familiarity as well with several others, including Islam and Hinduism. As well, as a young graduate student in Seattle, during the late 60's, I became somewhat active in the anti-war movement, and very well versed in leftist political thought and rhetoric. In those days, Alinsky and Chomsky were all the rage, SDS, Black Panthers, CORE, and various Liberation Fronts were getting daily attention in the underground press. Bill Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn were well known agitators. One of the dudes I 'palled around' with was Michael Lerner, head of the Seattle Liberation Front. Michael was indicted for stirring up a riot in which government buildings were trashed, and was eventually found guilty and sentenced to serve a number of months in prison. He later re-emerged and re-invented himself in the guise of 'Rabbi' Michael Lerner, of the New Age Jewish Renewal movement (cult?, and founded the magazine Tikkun and website, a favourite haunt of all the blame America First, Israel bashing, J-Streeters, neo-feminists, marxists, and various other splinter ideologues who find a common cause on the outer fringes of the far left, where facts don't count, only ideology. They are wolves in sheep clothing, Anonymous would feel right at home there.

tpaull said...


During a long career, I worked at very high level, in the world of high tech, business, academia, private sector, government, the cultural industries. I've started several businesses, and have traveled widely around the world. With deepening experience and understanding, my world view changed, from the naive idealism and seductive lure of leftist thought to a more balanced, mature and workable world view, which corresponds much more closely with conservative ideas. Meanwhile, the Democratic party has moved inexorably to the left, to the current dangerous extremist positions of the Obama regime. I have been studying Obama closely right from the moment I heard that he was a disciple of Alinsky and a friend of Bill Ayres. Obama is a master of Alinsky philosophy techniques, the Cloward-Piven strategy, a master of deception, a well trained community organizer (rabble rouser), a competent teleprompter reader and a perpetual campaigner, but a lazy incompetent fraud and a disaster as President. He has to go!

tpaull said...

But back to Anonymous: Like most (il)liberals he gets his most of his info and 'big ideas' from the corrupt Media Party, where facts and truth don't matter. I would be willing to bet that he knows little or nothing about Alinsky, Cloward-Piven, knows not the identity or ideas of Obama's unelected Czars, know nothing of Rashid Khalidi, etc. He asks how a traditional Jew can support Republicans who 'want to dictate morality from an 'evangelical Christian pulpit'? Apart from the obvious bigotry of the remark, he ignores the fact that the left and Obama want to dictate (im)morality, in the form of restricted abortion including live birth abortion (ie killing babies), suppression of religious expression in public, particularly Christianity, but special status for Islam (i.e. he views criticism of Islam as 'hate speech'), stomping on 2nd Amendment rights, etc. etc. I ask, how can any traditional Jew vote for a man who has shown such contempt for Israel and Netanyahu, who gets advice on the ME from Rashid Khalidi, who's spiritual counselor was Jeremiah Wright, who shows such clear bias toward Muslims, who 'apologized' to the Muslim world, who converted NASA into a Muslim outreach agency, who didn't protect his own Ambassador and Consulate in Libya ("I have Israel's back" - yeah, sure!), and on and on. He has no answer!

Keep up the great work Daniel. There will always be trolls like 'Anon' to attack and insult you. Just know that you are right and have a lot of support from people who are older and with 'broader viewpoint'. The Anons of this world have good intentions (as in 'the road to hell is paved with....') but they are programmed and deluded. Still, they do get the Comments conversation going!

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

P.S. Has anyone received this article in their email list>?

Rita, no. Green fields is one of the more common German/Jewish last names around. A lot of people chose it at some point.

tpaull, indeed

Anonymous said...

dittos from this litvak...i have seen with my own eyes the slow but sure, often tragic, meltdown of the liberal Jewish black soon as they blink, they're gone (even those still living). i have been eyeing this tendency in some communities in the frum world as well, among weak-minded members who ultimately look to goyim for their "culture." you can detect the breakdown by their use of terms such as "left" and "right" with regard to kehilos/rebbeim.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

we may unfortunately lose between a third and a quarter of MO

Anonymous said...

Has anyone explained about the bagel?

To make bagels, you take a high gluten yeast dough, form it into rings, let them rise, and then drop the rings of dough into boiling water. This gets rid of some of the starch and increases the proportion of gluten. That is why bagels are so tough and chewy. Only after they are boiled are they baked.

However, Einstein's bagels are not made that way. They are more like ring-shaped challah than like real bagels. They are popular because real bagels are an an acquired taste. People accustomed to ordinary supermarket white bread want their bread products soft and cakelilke, and Einstein's bagels compromise with that preference.

Perhaps the point was that, just as Einstein's bagels have assimilated and thereby lost their true bagel quality, the second wave of Jewish immigrants lost their authentic Jewish quality.

Speaking as one born in Texas, just before Pearl Harbor, to two parents each arrived as immigrants from Eastern Europe, I regard the proper Jewish position on abortion to be that the government should stay out of it. An orthodox Jewish woman would ask her rabbi whether her situation warranted an abortion and would behave accordingly. If her rabbi said (as occasionally does occur) that the situation required an abortion, to preserve the life of the mother for example, then the government is interfering with freedom of religion if it forbids it. And if the rabbi says the abortion is not warranted, and the mother wants to keep her baby, the government is also interfering if it were to require to abortion, which it unfortunately is all too apt to do if the mother is anything other than a white Protestant. I hear all too often of Latino women who go in for pregnancy care and are aborted and sterilized without their knowledge and consent.

The proper policy of the government should be to allow (but not require) each pregnant woman to consult her OWN religious authorities as to when and whether she needs an abortion, or needs to carry her child to term. My own rabbi would insist that if the unborn threatens the life of the mother, the mother's life must be preserved at all costs. She is very likely the mother of other children who need their mother more than they need a new sibling.

james wilson said...

I had come to regard the expenditure of hope for a change in the suicidal Jewish political custom as being pointless, and even delusional. After a century or more, we must make distinctions or volunteer to be the fool. Your blog has raised my expectations once again. Still, I will await events to prove you right. May it be so.

lemon lime moon said...

Bagels are made like soft pretzels.
You boil the formed dough in water with baking soda until they rise to the surface, then they are baked.

Chicagosnyder said...

Bravo dodger. My sentiments exactly. The liberal Jew and liberal American have both been poisoned by an overwhelming sense of guilt

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