By Robin of Berkeley
A split is developing among Jewish Democrats. Could it lead to a divorce?
Years ago, there was a popular movie, Kramer vs. Kramer, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. It was heartbreaking flick, as these two spouses, once so in love, duke it out in court.
I was thinking that there's a similar type experience happening today within the Democratic Party. Just like when lovers start sparring, there's a battle going on among American Jews.
The reason is that there are two distinct groups of Democratic Jews, with almost nothing in common. They have coexisted peacefully for many decades, staying together for the sake of their "child," the beloved Democratic Party. But with Obama in office, the differences are starting to become irreconcilable.
One notable example of the coming apart of the once reliable Jewish voting bloc is the recent election in New York. Strangely enough, a Republican won handily for the very first time in almost a century. But even more bizarre, the winner of the Jewish vote is a Catholic and the loser a Jew, in the most heavily Jewish congressional district in America.
To add to the strangeness, the previous occupant of the House seat was also Jewish, that hunk-of-burning love, Anthony Weiner. And former New York Mayor Ed Koch, Jewish, lifelong bachelor, and liberal, endorsed the Catholic, Bob Turner, over the more experienced Jewish Assemblyman, David Weprin.
Clearly this election was about more than a House seat in New York. The Jewish voters were also making a statement about the Democratic Party's throwing Israel under the bus.
Obama's disdain towards Israel has been on full display from the beginning of his term. His first radio address was to the Arab nations. He and the left have whipped up insurrection in the Middle East, which has made once friendly neighbors, such as Egypt, turn hostile.
The fact that Obama dissed the Israeli Prime Minister likely wasn't lost on these New York voters. The constituents also aren't onboard with erecting an Islamic Center/Mosque at Ground Zero (which Turner opposes and Weprin supports).
Perhaps this New York district turned rightward for other reasons as well, such as being sick of politics of usual. Jewish liberals, in particular, may have grown tired of being taken for granted by the Democrats. By electing a Republican for the first time, they are sending a signal loud and clear that they want change, and not the hopey/changy type. And this "September Surprise" in New York could soon be happening all over this nation.
The recent election also illuminates a deep split within the Jewish community. In the days of old, the Democratic Party was garden-variety liberal. But the party has been taken over by radicals who want it to be more Mao than Mondale. And the biggest battle of all is around the fate of Israel.
The progressive wing of the party is an angry group: detesting capitalism, God, and, most particularly, Israel. The left is particularly venomous about this so-called "genocidal" state. They broadcast their contempt, far and wide, from university lecterns, the legislators, and the streets. Simply put, the Jews among them are not their father's Jews.
The question may arise: how on earth can Jews, even leftist ones, despise Israel, a Jewish state. The reason is that leftists sympathize with the Third World, not the First World. They view the US and Israel as the great oppressors of the world's noble peasants, with whom they identify.
Of course, progressives turn a blind's eye to the fact that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Hence, Israeli women are not enshrouded in a burqa, and gays are not stoned to death. But none of this is relevant to the leftists. If you're still scratching your heads to figure them out, don't bother. Progressivism is an inconsistent and illogical ideology.
While there are those noisy leftists, the majority of Jews are mild-mannered liberals. They are the ones holding regular-type jobs as accountants, engineers, physicians, shop owners. They actually make money the old-fashioned way, through earning it, not inciting outrage.
Most liberal Jews are passionate about the survival of Israel. And they are worried sick about the hatred toward Israel spreading like wildfire, which our government is helping to instigate. While most Jewish liberals still support Obama, they are becoming increasingly discouraged by his many anti-Israel signals.
Sadly, while there are more liberals than leftists, the Democratic Party has been seized by the leftists. This is what happens when the most influential leftist Jew on the planet, George Soros, decides to buy the party. But the good news is that liberal Jews are showing their displeasure by not automatically going with the program -- hence, the upset in New York.
Obviously, the Republican Party has a huge opportunity here. Liberal Jews have more in common with conservatives than they do with progressives, and not just regarding Israel.
For instance, progressives revile not just Israel, but the United States as a whole. In contrast, liberals care about this country. While they wish for a "kinder and gentler" America, they do not want it turned into a socialist nightmare.
Historically, liberal Jews have voted Democrat out of loyalty and habit. In addition, they have absorbed the mythology that the Republicans are anti-Semitic. While the Republicans have a huge public relations problem on their hands, they also have a chance to finally set the record straight.
What's happening among the Jews reminds me of what transpired a few short years ago with women. Hillary supporters, feeling burned by the Democratic Party, abandoned the party in droves. Perhaps the same thing is happening today with American Jews. We might be seeing the emergence of not just PUMAs, but JUMAs (as in "Jewish Unity My A__".)
These potential new JUMAs are feeling disrespected by the Democrats, who are forcing unacceptable, anti-Israel policies down their throats. These jilted Jews need to know that they can find respect and safe harbor within the conservative movement.
Because these days, if they want to align with the political movement that will protect Israel, it's not going to be the leftists in the media, at Columbia, or in the White House.
No, if liberal Jews are searching for pro-Israel, pro-America, people to vote for, they are going to have to look outside the Barbara Boxer box. They are going to have to turn rightward, as did the bold people of New York.
Because the truth is that the Democratic Party has abandoned liberals, particularly the Jews. And that's why a majority of fed-up New Yorkers chose a Republican instead.