As a Jew, I'm often asked why my fellow tribesmen are so predictably left-wing. And because we Jews are in constant telepathic contact, I can answer the question. For Jews, liberalism isn't an ideological choice; it's a spiritual stand-in. The religion of the average American Jew is) liberalism.
So when we talk about the "Jewish community," we mean a rock-ribbed flank of the Democratic Party. When a spokesman from a national organization lectures us about "core Jewish values," he is referring to secular left-wing orthodoxy.
But rest assured that even though I'm a lapsed Jew (in both the traditional and political senses), having attended an orthodox yeshiva for years, I can state safely that today's Jewish "values" have as much to do with Talmudic teachings as Lady Gaga has to do with Beethoven.
Here's an example: In Denver, Larry Mizel, a nationally known millionaire, funds and underwrites cultural Judaism across the city. He is a moderate Chamber of Commerce Republican who is known to raise funds for Democrats when it suits his interests. Mizel is also, not surprisingly, a champion of Israel. Thus, at his annual Men's Event charity, he tends to invite speakers who gravitate to the right.
Though I'm not a regular at local Jewish "community" functions (I believe I attended one Men's Event about six years ago), I recall the grousing and pressure from the champions of Judaic tolerance whenever an unacceptable speaker -- conservatives Cliff May and Dennis Prager come to mind -- was scheduled to appear.
This year, Mizel invited crackpot Pastor John Hagee, who happens to be an exemplary friend of Israel. As an evangelical who loves Old Testament lingo, Hagee is antithetical to the "community," so many decided to boycott the charity and succeeded in having Hagee booted.
"My values are not just words. This thing has shaken me to the core of those values," Gary Yourtz, an extraordinarily dramatic former Jewish Federation board member told The Denver Post's Susan Greene. Gregg Drinkwater, deputy director of Keshet, a national group of Jewish gay men and lesbians, said, "Hagee's positions on a very large number of issues are in direct opposition to core Jewish values of inclusion, diversity and respect for all people."
Yeah, tell that to the Amalekites.
Now, I wouldn't have much problem with boycotts or ignoring Bible thumpers, but philosophical diversity and consistent indignation are evidently not Jewish "values."
Where, for instance, are complaints from the 80 percent of American Jews who support a president who actively pressures Israel into agreements that threaten its existence and, at the same time, bows to robed princes and pleads for the friendship of the most illiberal nations in the world?
Where were calls for boycotts of the Democratic National Convention, where -- among other Jew-friendly participants, such as Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson -- the gregarious Al Sharpton mingled with the Jewish core values crowd, or, as the good reverend might call them, "diamond merchants"?
Hagee can offend me, as well. But he's raised awareness among evangelicals about Israel's struggles and the Iranian regime's genocidal daydreams -- you know, real religious fanatics. Elie Wiesel, Joe Lieberman and Alan Dershowitz recently joined Hagee in a video spot produced by Christians United for Israel regarding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "incitement to genocide." But the indignant Denver Jewish "community" can't have its ideals compromised by listening to the guy for an hour?
Because shutting down a speech is now a core Jewish value.
Boy, Hillel would be proud.
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