In 2008, Obama grabbed 78 percent of the Jewish vote. Even the most wildly optimistic polling today shows that Obama's support remains high among Jews. It's a result that Republicans simply can't understand -- why do so many Jews continue to support a president who has shown time and again that he stands against the State of Israel? Why the reflexive lever-pulling on behalf of a man who appoints anti-Semites to positions of high power, attends a virulently anti-Semitic church for 20 years, and sees Israel as the cause of the West's conflict with the Muslim world?
The answer is deceptively simple: the Jews who vote for Obama are, by and large, Jews In Name Only (JINOs). They eat bagels and lox; they watch "Schindler's List"; they visit temple on Yom Kippur -- sometimes. But they do not care about Israel. Or if they do, they care about it less than abortion, gay marriage and global warming.
That prioritization is critical in understanding the Jewish vote. The same polls that report high levels of support for President Obama show that 94 percent of American Jews said that if Israel "no longer existed tomorrow," it would be a tragedy (this means, by the way, that 6 percent of Jews should be automatically discounted as self-hating or insane) and that 77 percent of Jews believe that Israel should refuse to negotiate with a Hamas-backed Palestinian Arab government. The only way to reconcile that high level of support for Israel with a high level of support for an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic administration lies in the fact that all voters have priorities, and that Israel is not these voters' highest priority.
Which is why they are known as JINOs.
Being Jewish is not like being black or Asian or Hispanic. It comes with certain attendant ideological responsibilities. There is no logical or inherent connection between skin color and liberalism or conservatism -- melanin has no political playbook. Jewish identity, however, does. There is more to being truly Jewish than being born into a Jewish family, just as there is more to being Christian than being baptized.