Featured Article: The Jewish Democrat

The Jewish Democrat

This guest post was written by K. Nani, who has a social worker degree and is planning on extending her education by using the resources at onlineclasses.net.

In the 2008 presidential election, 75% of Jewish Americans voted for the liberal candidate, Barack Obama. Aside from African-Americans, 95% of whom voted Democratic, Jews were the ethnic group most fervently supporting the liberal candidate. The high number should have come as no shock. Historically, Jewish Americans have zealously voted democratic, and they’ve done so at similar to the ones from the past presidential election.

But what was surprising about this particular election is that it seemed they were voting against their best interests, more so than ever. Republican candidate John McCain long had a history of supporting Israel, an endeavor Obama does not back so emphatically. Also, Jews are one of the more financially prosperous minority groups in the United States, yet they voted against their own financial interests, choosing the liberal who wanted to repeal the Bush administration’s tax-cuts for the wealthy.

The 2008 election is certainly not the first time Jews have voted against their best interests by voting democratic. Some critics point out that it is as if Jews equate “Judaism” with “liberalism.” How they got there is far more complex.

In the controversial, compelling novel Why Are Jews Liberals?, neoconservative author Norman Podhoretz traces the roots of Jewish liberalness all the way back to the Crusades. All the atrocities of medieval times as the result of persecution — the Crusades, disenfranchisment, the Inquisition, exile — were conducted out of an intolerance for the Jewish religion by devoutly Christian authorities. Couple that with the Dreyfus Affair and Nazism and it’s no wonder Jews are wary of conservatives, particularly Christian ones.

But to point to events hundreds of years old as the root of modern Jewish liberalism would be too far-sighted. The post-World War II wave of Jewish immigration has more to do with it I think. Jewish immigrants aligned themselves with the Democratic party because of its similarity to the progressive parties they supported in Europe. Many Jews were budding socialists and saw, through the New Deal and other post-depression measures, a party more in line with those aims. They went with what was familiar, and what had served their best interests in the past. Also, Democrat President Harry Truman helped immensely in the creation of the Israeli State. His was the party that supported Israel first, even if their support has waned over the years.

During the Civil Rights movement, the Democratic party stood up for the oppressed minorities of the nation. An end was put to legal discrimination and harassment. This was most certainly a cause dear to any Jew’s heart. Rather than a government party encouraging and even running persecution based on ethnic grounds, this time, the liberals actively worked to start to put an end to it. On a historical level, the effort resonated with the American Jewish community.

Though one of the generally wealthier sectors of the population, Jews continue to vote against their pocketbooks. One large reason for this: Jewish families insist on higher education for their children. Following the widespread trend, those who are more educated overwhelmingly have liberal tendencies and vote for progressive candidates. More Jews attend college than in other ethnic groups, and so vote Democratic.

Lastly, it is only normal for children to have the same political views as their parents. Having been taught progressive tendencies since a young age, this doctrine is ingrained in their political conscience. Today, Jewish Americans follow the views — and teachings — of those who came generations before them. Jewish liberalness is influenced by factors stemming from mere decades ago, but also just as much by events that took place over the last several hundred years.

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February 25, 2011   Posted in: Affirmative Action News, AIPAC, Anne Frank, Anti Racism, Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism News, Ashkenazi, B'nai B'rith, Christian, Discrimination News, Egypt, Gaza, Golan Heights, Holocaust, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Revisionism, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Heritage, Jewish History, Jews, Judaism, Leo Frank, Multicultural News, Palestine, Race Relations, Racism News, Racist News, Republic of Turkey, Sephardic, Syria, Tel Aviv, West Bank, White Nationalism, White Supremacism, Zionism |

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