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Jews in Name Only

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

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.


Being truly Jewish requires allegiance to basic Judaic principles; the first and foremost of which is identity with the Jewish people and its enlightened national aspirations. In the Tanach (the Jewish canon, including the Old Testament, the Prophets and the Writings), when Ruth converts to Judaism, she states, "Your people will be my people and your God my God." The connection between Jews and the land of Israel is the running theme of the Old Testament. Any Jew who does not take these principles seriously -- more seriously than global warming or affirmative action, for example -- is a JINO.

And voting for Obama is a violation of those principles. Obama's speech last week implicitly blaming Israel's failure to surrender its security for the radical terrorism of the Islamic world threatens Israel ideologically; his call for Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders as the basis for negotiation endangers Israel's survival on a practical level, cutting the State to 9 miles wide and handing over the strategic high ground to enemy forces; his suggestion that a Palestinian state be "contiguous" by definition slices Israel in half; his failure to recognize the incoherence of the so-called "right of return" destroys Israel demographically.


Obama has backed the Muslim Brotherhood revolts throughout the Middle East and toppled Israeli peace partners in the process; he has appointed advisers who openly call for placing American troops on the ground in Israel to stop Israeli military action; he has allowed the United Nations to castigate Israel routinely while ignoring Palestinian terrorism on a daily basis. Obama is a man who used his Passover message to stump for the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Arab Spring. Seriously.

Simply put, Obama is an enemy of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. And any Jew who votes for him betrays his or her brothers and sisters at home and abroad. By definition, a vote for Obama is a vote against the truly Jewish part of Jewish identity. There is a reason that the observant Jewish community votes overwhelmingly Republican -- they vote on Jewish principle.

Why bother exposing JINOs for what they are? First, it helps non-Jews understand the dynamics of the Jewish community -- it is not monolithic, and much of it is not authentically Jewish. Second, it acts as a shaming mechanism for those Jews who throw away Jewish principle in pursuit of back-slapping from their liberal buddies. And they should be ashamed of what they do. They are the moral equivalent of Jewish Neville Chamberlain voters in 1939. They must understand that their votes have consequences.


Jewish identity is about more than ethnicity. Boiling it down to a propensity for "Seinfeld" cheapens the experience, the history and the bond of Judaism itself. Being Jewish means something. And if it means anything, it means that voting for Barack Obama immediately places you in opposition to the Jewish people.


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