Why Jews Vote the Way They Do

Posted: May 12, 2008 12:01 AM
Why Jews Vote the Way They Do

If I am asked one question by my readers far more frequently than any other, it’s why do so many American Jews insist on aligning themselves with the far left. Believe me, being Jewish myself, it’s the question I most frequently ask myself.

It’s certainly not because Jews are stupid, evil, unpatriotic or dependent on government handouts for their survival, four reasons that certainly explain why millions of my fellow Americans will eagerly line up to vote for any political crackpot so long as he or she is running as a Democrat.

Having given it a great deal of thought, I believe the explanation is to be found in the way we tend to be raised. It’s not so strange if you think about it. After all, most people are Catholics or Protestants, Mormons or Muslims, because that was the religion practiced in their homes. Well, for most Jews, liberal politics played an essential role in their upbringing. It’s why a much higher percentage of us vote for Democrats than attend synagogue regularly or keep kosher.

Furthermore, we are raised to think of ourselves as victims or at least potential victims. Considering the fact that we are often among the best-educated and most successful members of American society, it must seem odd to non-Jews to even imagine such a thing. What is easily overlooked, however, is that when a group of people have been oppressed for thousands of years, the sense of impending doom almost becomes a part of their DNA. No matter how well things are going today, tomorrow you and your friends and all of your relatives could be on your way out. And the only question is whether it’s merely out of the country or into the ovens.

As a result, Jews have an inclination to identify -- some might say over-identify -- with those they see as fellow underdogs. In America, those people would more often than not be blacks, Hispanics and even criminals, which helps explain the large Jewish presence and financial stake in the ACLU. The pathetic irony is that those are three groups that are among the most virulently anti-Semitic in America. But it also explains why a great many Jews -- particularly those who are young, secular and on college campuses -- are such vocal partisans of the Palestinians.

At times, it seems as if we exist in some surrealistic universe in which, with the notable exception of Jimmy Carter, American Christians are often more devoted to Israel’s survival than American Jews are. At the same time, many Jews feel they have more to fear from fundamentalist Christians than from fundamentalist Islamics!

I know what you’re thinking, ladies and gentlemen, but keep in mind I only said I’d try to explain it. I never said it would make sense.