Monday, June 23, 2008

Why American Jews are Democrats. An Answer? Perhaps.

Originally posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

I somewhat frequently ask why American Jews vote Democrat. It has been a puzzle for years, and after 9/11, there seemed to be some hope that the Jewish vote would lean to the conservative side. It was a shortsighted, and perhaps naive hope.

I was perusing the posts over at Instapundit last night and found a piece by Ellen W. Horowitz - Justifying and Deconstructing Hagee and Ourselves. Ms. Horowitz characterizes Pastor John Hagee's recent and controversial "rhetoric" as the

...magnanimous political, humanitarian, and even theological support that the Jewish state is receiving from Pastor Hagee and the American evangelical community.
as well as attributing Hagee as "a well-intentioned, very generous and determined philo-Semite," but goes on to say:
That being said, we Jews need to remain vigilant because it is an historic truism that philo-Semitism can be a mere hair away from anti-Semitism, and when the church and Christians make sweeping and bold moves towards reconciliation – and Jews reciprocate in turn - sometimes things can go terribly wrong. So the Talmudic formula of “respecting and suspecting” would seem to be the wise approach.
I must admit that I Googled around for the definition of "philo-semite." Wikipedia says:
Philo-Semitism or Philosemitism, is an interest in, respect for, and appreciation of the Jewish people, their historical significance and the positive impacts of Judaism in the history of the western world, in particular. Within the Jewish community it also includes the significance of Jewish culture and the love of everything Jewish. The word is not new, but it has recently (ca. 2000) become a significantly growing phenomenon in the modern world. It is characterized (among other things) by an interest in Jewish culture and history, as well as increasing university enrollment by non-Jews in courses relating to Judaism (including Judaism, Hebrew and Jewish languages)[citation needed]. A Philosemite is one who substantially subscribes to, or practices, any of the above.

Philo-Semitism has been the subject of a series of books and journal articles (see partial listing below). The rise of philo-Semitism has been met by a mixed response among world Jewry. Some warmly welcome it and argue that it must lead Jews to reconsider their identity. This viewpoint has been expressed by the leading liberal Jewish publication The Forward (Editorial, 10 November 2000):

Others reject philo-Semitism, as they feel it (like its apparent opposite anti-Semitism) implicitly gives a special status to Jews. This contradicts the traditional goal of Zionism to make Jewry "a nation among nations." Daniel Goldhagen, Harvard scholar and author of the controversial Hitler's Willing Executioners, argues that philo-Semites are often closet anti-Semites. His detractor Norman Finkelstein agrees. The thesis is that Jew haters feel a need to talk about Jews, and with anti-Semitism no longer being socially acceptable they must instead make exaggerated positive statements. understanding that supporting Israel can be either a good thing or a bad thing (???), what really caught my attention was the back-and-forth bantering of two commenters - two Jewish gentlemen - regarding Christian proselytizing or "missionizing," and the monies that may flow to the Holyland from Christian organizations, specifically John Hagee's Christians United for Israel (CUFI). One of the commenters views this as "Zionist Christian support" and wants no part of it:
...we can live without their donations some of which I am convinced go towards missionizing, directly or indirectly.
This commenter (the one not wanting Christian support) mentions a book written by "a sort of relation," A Match Made in Heaven by Zev Chafets. In reading through an interesting review of this book, there's this:
“Jews are Democrats, Israelis are Republicans.”
Okay. Now I'm beginning to "get it." American Jews vote Democrat because their American friends (or not) attempt to bring their Jewish friends to Jesus. It makes more sense than the explanation I usually get: American Jews vote Democrat because "American Jews have ALWAYS voted Democrat and ALWAYS will." That's not much of an answer considering today's ever-present Islamic threat to annihilate Israel. Most of us could, rather quickly, get-over an old and harmful habit, when faced with extinction, but perhaps it is just easier to spite Christian "persecution" and pull the lever for a Democrat.

After a long, long time digesting this Instapundit post, I'm wondering if it is actually possible, in this day and time, that American Jews are simply frustrated at, or angry about, Christians attempting to convert them? And so they vote Democrat?

If this still isn't making a point with you, voting Democrat supports Islam. Voting Democrat supports Hamas, voting Democrat supports Syria, voting Democrat supports Iran (Speaker Pelosi claims that some of the success of the Iraq surge "is the goodwill of the Iranians - they decided when the fighting in Basra would end..."), voting Democrat supports the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision granting Constitutional rights to terrorists (in this case, Islamic terrorists) - who may have been complicit in bringing down the World Trade Towers, and if not complicit, would have been if they could have been. Voting Democrat demands that America remain tied to middle-eastern oil ($$$ flowing to Islamic countries - not comforting to those Republican-thinking Israeli's, I think). Did I mention that voting Democrat supports Hamas?

Do Jews ever attempt to tell their Christian friends that the Messiah has not yet come? Of course they do. I'm not angry about it, though.

The Horowitz piece, and the comments, are far more intricate than my focus in this post. To be clear, one commenter points out: "Jews and Israel need help now and Christian evangelicals are giving that help now. Jews should be embracing these Christian evangelicals. That does not mean embracing Christianity." Author and commenters: well-worth the read - please do read them.

Note: It's my opinion that ALL of Israel's land, should be Israel's land - no land for peace.

Others talking about the Jewish view of John Hagee and Christians United for Israel:
Daniel Pipes: John Hagee, the Holocaust and Me: Thinking About Allies
Anglicans for Israel - The Rise of CUFI,
Jews on First: Leader of Reform Judiasm Discourages Cooperation with Christians United for Israel