The Jews’ Liberalism Addiction

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FP: And how does the support for Israel play into this?

Byron: Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, American Jews have advocated strongly for its security and its support. A growing hostility to Israel on the American political left has been matched by an expanding support for Israel on the American political right, especially among Evangelicals. Yet, it would seem that the majority of American Jews, who refuse to abandon their liberal principles even where their own self-interests are concerned, prefer the anti-Israel proclivities of the left to the pro-Israel position of the right. The stated commitment against prejudice by liberal Jews, does not seem to extend to those whose conservative political views they do not share. Among liberal American Jews, one strong prejudice, rooted in the immigrant experience, continues to manifest itself: fear, mistrust and prejudice against many Christian institutions and their spokespersons.

Liberal American Jews’ fear of religion, including their own, so poignantly described by Elliot Abrams in his book “Faith or Fear,” is at the roots of the liberal Jewish advocacy of an absolute separation of church and state, and of the confinement of religion to the private personal sphere rather than to the “public square.” It is ironic that on issues of public policy, liberals preclude religious intrusion, except where it endorses their own agenda, such as was the case with the civil rights movement. Liberal Jews would probably have considered the views of George Washington as un-American when he said: “And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. . .  reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Studies have shown that Jewish religious and ethnic identity is immeasurably strengthened among students who attend Jewish “Day Schools.” But, the dogma of church-state separation, as interpreted by liberal Jews, has led to persistent opposition to tuition voucher programs and other forms of aid for Jewish and non-Jewish private schools. With the current economic downturn, many such schools are on the verge of closing or already have closed for economic reasons. Though liberal synagogues today quietly accept funds from Homeland Security, these same congregations oppose any governmental funds going toward Jewish education.

In short, Jamie, to return to your original question: despite what one might reasonably expect, the enormous changes in American Jewish life of the past few decades, have basically left Jewish political affiliations and activities unaffected.

FP: For 40 years or more pundits have predicted a shift to conservativism and away from the Democratic Party by American Jews. You have helped us understand why it hasn’t occurred.

Now, do you think it will?

Sherwin: More than 40 years ago, Chales Liebman described the future of Jewish liberalism in America as “bleak.” Liebman believed that once American Jews realized that liberalism rejected “intrinsic Jewish values” and threatened the continuity of the Jewish people as Jews, they would reject liberalism. Liebman further opined that once American Jews perceived anti-Semitism as coming from the left, sometimes in more virulent forms than from the right; once American Jews began to see themselves as part of the “in-group” and no longer as an “out-group,” Jews would abandon liberalism. However, Liebman was wrong.

In the early 1970s, a growing number of observers of American Jewry predicted a gradual but inevitable shift toward conservatism and away from the Democratic Party by American Jews. They believed that positive changes in American Jewish life that escalated after World War II, such as a decline in anti-Semitism and discrimination, greater social acceptance of Jews, enhanced educational and professional opportunity, greater economic prosperity, and the transition of American Jews from an “out-group” to an “in-group,” would precipitate a shift of perception in American Jewish self-interest from a liberal perspective identified with the realities of the pre-war immigrant population to a conservative perspective more in line with the current interests and socio-economic conditions of American Jewry. But, they, too, were wrong.

There were those who interpreted the occasional dips in Jewish voting patterns from the 90 percent received by Roosevelt during his last two terms to the 60 percent received by Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, as the initiation of a new trend toward conservatism and an easing of the Democratic hold upon Jews. But, the 80 percent of the Jewish vote received by Kennedy and the 90 percent received by Johnson allayed those expectations. The dip below 50 percent received by Carter in 1980 and the 40 percent received by Reagan in 1980, was also perceived as the beginning of a trend. But, when the Democratic presidential candidate in the five elections between 1992 and 2008 garnered at least 75 percent of the Jewish vote with Bush 41 in 1992 receiving only 11 percent and Bush 43 in 2000 receiving only 19 percent, such predictions again waned.

After the 2008 presidential election, where the liberal policies of Obama and the Democratic Party received a higher percentage of Jewish votes than it did from any other white ethnic group, the expectation for a surge in Jewish conservatism seemed a moot point. Nonetheless, in recent months, disaffection with many of the policies and of the performance of liberal democratic policies, and especially of the Obama’s administration’s Middle East policies, have led to a “buyers remorse” among many American Jews. As a result, pundits are once more predicting a seismic shift in American Jewry toward conservatism and the Republican Party. However, about this I have strong doubts.

FP: Why the doubts?

Sherwin: Though Jews may eventually abandon Obama, they cannot be expected to abandon either liberalism or the Democratic Party. Though some shift may be discernible in the 2010 and 2012 elections, I do not expect any substantial change—though I would be delighted were one to finally occur.

The indoctrination of American Jews to believe that both Judaism and Jewish identity are socially and politically linked in nature and essence, is a stranglehold that remains too formidable to break at present. I therefore believe that like those of earlier decades, those who now predict an imminent massive shift of American Jews toward conservatism and toward the Republican Party will be disappointed.

Nonetheless, all hope is not lost. Members of a new and upcoming generation of American Jews, who see the experiences and ideologies of an immigrant generation only as distant memory, who see themselves as being very much part of the in-group, who perceive liberal policies as mortgaging their future, may eventually turn toward a more conservative political agenda.

Finally, any movement of Jews toward conservatism or toward the Republican Party in the coming elections will be influenced by how conservatives and Republicans present their message. Though past obstacles to why Jews should affiliate with conservatism may have been removed, compelling reasons as to why they should have not yet been clearly articulated. Throughout modern history, Jews have endorsed political movements aimed at furthering individual liberty and opportunity, committed to ending discrimination, enhancing Jewish security, and both protecting and furthering Jewish interests. Only if the conservative and Republican message can clearly reflect these concerns, is there a chance for increasing numbers of American Jews, especially young American Jews, to drift away from liberalism and from their overwhelming Jewish allegiance to the Democratic Party.

FP: Rabbi Sherwin, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

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  • char

    It's the same old rejection of G-d, assimilation in Babylon, choosing the golden calf instead of the Commandments. Sociological/psychologial/political or just plain rebellion?

    • PFJ

      It's macabre and tragic: Jews cling to the Left, whose godless philosophy validates their self-righteous, cynical, immoral ways. Repeating history, it will be this same godless Left that drags the Jews into the next Holocaust.
      "Oh, my people, how often would I have taken you under my [protective] wing like a hen her chicks, BUT YOU WOULD NOT ……."

  • BS77

    It's either stupidity or a mental disorder. Michael Savage said, LIberalism is a Mental Disorder….

    • ed4

      You are mentioning one of my favorite radio talk show hosts! He is passionate, courageous and very outspoken.

  • Helen


    According to the Torah, to be a Jew is to look out for other Jews and to be destructive of non-Jews. That's really it. Pick up the Torah and read it again. This article attempts to explain why 'White Jews' who have made it big in America should care about social justice anymore? It is 'Right' vs. 'Left', liberal vs. conservative. It is good to keep in mind that those who are truly on the Left operate from the basis of principle and caring for humanity whereas those on the right would like to see some multi-billionaires and the rest of society be damned. Those on the Right do no like Jews, never have and never will. For now, it is only a marriage of convenience.

    • ed4

      You seem, in my opinion, to be very judgmental, very Left wing, and very condemning, excessively so, of Right wing Judaism.

    • Ahamd Yaqiin

      Sorry Helen you are absolutely wrong! The right represents more personal autonomy- less government- ( government is not a good vehicle to manage most things)!
      There is a time and place for every type of government policy- there was once a time for the liberal or left- today liberalism is the achilles heel of the west- you see there are those who use so called "rights" as a weapon to be used against America when in fact they represent an extremist intolerant ideology that will eventually take the rights away from the "liberals" themselves.
      Here for you: This is America!

    • ziontruth

      "According to the Torah, to be a Jew is to look out for other Jews and to be destructive of non-Jews."

      To be destructive of non-Jews? Nope. Looks like you're confusing Judaism with Islam. The only thing Jews really want is to worship HaShem undisturbed, in the land HaShem gave us.

    • Judahlevi

      Helen, whoever she is, has this all wrong and like most of those on the left, has a minimal understanding of Judaism.

      Rabbi Hillel once said about the essence of Judaism, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor." The rest he said is commentary and advised further study.

      It is not at all surprising that one who has so little comprehension of Judaism is on the left.

    • MixMike

      "According to the Torah, to be a Jew is to look out for other Jews and to be destructive of non-Jews."

      Nowhere is that in the Torah, but nice try anyhow. Judaism does not maintain that Jews are better than non-Jews. To be Jewish means that Jews have to follow all of g's 600+ in the Torah. There is the Jewish practice of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, which means coming to the aid and helping everyone Jews and non-Jews alike.

    • Nina

      A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. You don't know what you are talking about, and we are not allowed much space here. I tried. Let's leave it at that.

  • Helen


    The article mentions how the 'left' is anti-Semitic which is a silly statement because the left by its nature cannot be 'anti-Semitic' which is the wrong expression to begin with since European Jewry are not Semitic and 95% of Jews in North America are descendants of a European people who used to be called 'Khazars'. What is classified as 'anti-Semitic' by the left is simply the 'Left's indignation at the bestiality meted out the Palestinian Arabs by the cousins of American-Anglo Jewry. 'The Jews' and 'The Right' are never meant to mingle and converge without causing discomfort and even outright fist fights. Case in point is when Jews attended a white supremacist meeting and David Duke objected to the presence of Jews. See link below at to how it end up.

    • Ageofreason

      "The article mentions how the 'left' is anti-Semitic which is a silly statement because the left by its nature cannot be 'anti-Semitic'…." Do you realize how bizarre this statement seems to an "outsider." It defines reality on the basis of the self-definition:I am righteous, therefore all that I do or think is righteous. It displays an outright rejection of objective reality. Is this at the core of "liberalism (a misnomer if ever there was one), socialism, Marxism, and radicalism? I feel like a light has gone on. Finally one can understand why no amount of rational debate, facts, or truth can convince the socialists and radicals of mistakes in their thinking, values, or beliefs. Objective reality, for them, is at the beck and call of whim and whimper. The monster is finally creeping out of the radical/socialist box.

    • ziontruth

      Oh, stop this typical anti-Zionist disingenuousness. You probably know all too well that "anti-Semitism" is a 19th-century coinage for "Jew-hatred." Leftist can and today very frequently are Jew-haters, even if disguising it under anti-Zionism.

      The Khazaria Hypothesis has been debunked from numerous points of view–historical research, genetics, linguistics, to name just three–but wouldn't matter even if it were true. Jewishness isn't based on race–a "ger tzedek" (convert of sincere motive) is as good as a Jew born to a Jewish mother. You mention David Duke; you should know that the Khazaria Hypothesis is trotted out by the likes of him. So disreputable is the Khazaria Hypothesis that even Daily Kos (the forum for at least one Israel-demonizing diary a day) bans it, putting it in the same category as 9/11 conspiracy theories.

      • polipath

        It's a medical fact that Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews are each uniquely susceptible to specific and different diseases. For example, Tay-Sachs is peculiar to Askenazim as Beta-Thalassemia is to Sephardim (*). This factor is a genetic difference. The Ashkenazi (eastern) Jews are those with the alleged Khazar connection and the ones at the heart of the Russian Revolution. Most American Jews are descended from them also.

        • Judahlevi

          And your point is…

          Genetics does not create opinion. Who cares which group gets which disease?

          • polipath

            "Genetics does not create opinion."
            How do you know? There's growing evidence that political bias relates to differences in dopamine neurotransmitter systems in the prefrontal cortex.

            " Who cares which group gets which disease?"

            You miss the point. Different disease proclivities indicates different genetics indicating different ancestries. Did that ancestral difference arise from Khazar interaction with the Eastern (Ashkenazi) Jews?
            If you can't offer anything besides sarcasm and ignorance go away.

      • To the ignorant

        Thank you ziontruth, for stating so well what I wanted to say!

        The likes of Helen are not Jews, I really do not know anymore, what are they except that they are righteous, hypocritical self hating fools!

        I am just ashamed when I am asked the question why are jews so leftist and why so many of them.

        This article explained it well but it is too long of an answer to give to the WHY question!

    • Nina

      Again, all I can say is that you are an ignoramous, and parroting exactly the leftist propoganda. Study a little history.

  • ed4

    Norman Podhoretz goes into this question quite extensively in his book. Why Are Jews Liberals?

  • blotto

    "Throughout modern history, Jews have endorsed political movements aimed at furthering individual liberty and opportunity…" This statement is contradictory to what was explained about jews seeking out socialism, unions, etc. Individual liberty and socialism are diametrically opposed.

    "… committed to ending discrimination, enhancing Jewish security, and both protecting and furthering Jewish interests." And what would be jewish interests? Are jewish interests different from, say, my Irish interests or American interests? As long as jews think they are different from regular Americans, like myself, and want to change America to suit themselves, they will never be at peace with America. America is not here just for jews…that is sheer arrogance.

    "Only if the conservative and Republican message can clearly reflect these concerns… to drift away from liberalism and from their overwhelming Jewish allegiance to the Democratic Party." I could care less if they vote ideology over what is best for them as a group. If they, along with black Americans, cannot see how the left has played them and the Dem party uses them, then it is a pathology which guides them and I don't want them on my team.

  • FBastiat

    From Brussels — anti-Semitism in the Low Countries:

  • Rose Fell

    The post above that says the Torah says Jews should be destructive of non-Jews flies in the face of my own family history. I had a grandfather who fought valiantly for Germany in WWI, along with many other religious Jews. There was actually a survey done later by a German who thought the Jews were shirkers (he was an anti-semite), and he found that the Jews were disproportionately represented as fighters for the fatherland.
    Of course fighting for that particular fatherland makes me want to vomit, given what happened next. Fortunately, I can console myself that I have a relative who won a medal fighting for Britain in the same war.
    In the past, and in some cases the Europeans called "conservatives" and the Marxist left, all could get together on one thing, and that was opposing Jews. But AMERICAN conservativism, and the conservatism in countries like Holland and Britain, is based on what used to be very radical notions, and it tries to conserve, in the case of the U.S., what is good about America. Sure, there are anti-semites on the right. But there are also philo-semites.

    • oreoexpo

      "Of course fighting for that particular fatherland makes me want to vomit, given what happened next."

      He couldn't have known during WWI. Nobody did.

  • Ahmad Yaqiin

    This is what Liberalism brings to America: The end of American rights to freedom of speech!

  • Ahmad Yaqiin

    On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, and killed nearly 3,000 people. On September 24, 2001, only 13 days after the attacks, California artists R.J. Waldron, Eric Noda, and Thomas Hanley, as a tribute to those who lost their lives, painted a 35-foot American flag on a concrete wall near Interstate 680 in Sunol, about 40 miles southeast of San Francisco.

    For nearly nine years, passing motorists could view the mural — that is, until the California Department of Transportation, known as “Caltrans,” destroyed the artwork by covering it over with paint. California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, found the cover-up disturbing, particularly the timing.
    According to news reports, Caltrans considered the American flag mural to be “graffiti.”

    • kwg1

      To be fair, it was graffiti, since it was not approved by Caltrans. In the article Caltrans spokesperson said they would consider a replacement if the artists filed for approval with Caltrans, which would likely be approved. Somehow using other peoples property without their permission cannot be judged right even if we agree with the use applied to the taking of that property. Caltrans was guilty of poor timing of its removal for sure and could have solicited from the artist's that they file an application for approval before removal, but that is not possible now!

  • USMCSniper

    There is a pattern, going back to Spinoza in the 1600s, of Jewish intellectuals seeking out the leading edge of certain kinds of reform movements. Broadly speaking, if you look at any social movement of the last 300 years that was secular, rationalist, and communitarian, somewhere in it you would find nonobservant Jews providing a lot of the intellectual firepower and organizational skills. Often a disproportionate share relative to other population groups. It is impossible to study the history of Marxism, Socialism, and Communism without noticing how many Jewish names crop up among the leading intellectuals. It is equally impossible not to notice how many of the Old Left families in the U.S. were (and still are) Jewish — and, more specifically, Ashkenazim of German or Eastern European extraction. But that is all changing – as David Horowitz changed his political beliefs himself.

  • Marty

    American Jews rarely do what is in their self-interest. Four out of five vote for democratic candidates who are antagonistic toward Israel and want to "engage" horrific and genocidal regimes such as those in iran and saudi arabia. It may be genetic: their grandparents thought the nazis would calm down and the communists were really good people who made a few mistakes (that resulted in the loss of 50 million lives).

  • Andres de Alamaya

    Jews lean toward intellectualism and intellectuals have a gift for rationalizing to the point of divorcing reality. Pseudo-intellectualism finds people totally divorced from reality. I met a British music publisher in New York who in the 1930s had worked for some Jewish music publishers in London. These people had relatives in Germany and feared for their safety so they sent the British Gentile to get the German relatives out of Germany. This would have been 1938, a year before the Holocaust got into full gear. The Jewish relatives in Germany said to the Brit, "What? Leave Germany? But we are Germans, we don't leave our country!" They perished in the Holocaust. Too many Jews have trouble identifying their enemies. Liberalism comes with a set of blinders.

    • v.o.t.

      Mantra of a Jewish liberal: "I'm so broad-minded I won't even take my own side in a fight." I've actually seen it in action and called them on it. After a few moments of reflection, they laughingly agreed. I simply can't understand it. Didn't some great Jewish sage say "If I'm not for myself, then who will be?"

      • MixMike

        I believe it was Rabbi Hillel.

      • To the ignorant

        yes I can tell you that in Hebrow and it goes on to finish saying;

        "If I am not for myself, then who will be, if not now then when?"

  • Judahlevi

    Liberalism is a utopian worldview which is divorced from reality therefore they cannot really see the real world clearly (or maybe more accurately 'refuse' to see it clearly).

    It is "utopian" only to other liberals/progressives since this utopia does not include any room for dissent from their point of view. This is where liberalism's utopia becomes totalitarian.

    There is no way I would ever want to live in the liberals' utopia.

    • To the ignorant

      You will not get to LIVE with them, they will make sure of that!

      We have history to tell us what these liberals/totalitarians do to the ones that disagree with them!!!!!!!!!!

      Needless to say, just kill them.

    • Jim C.

      That's fine–I sure don't want to live in conservative's warped vision for America, either.

  • Dean from Ohio

    If, God forbid, physical persecution ever ramps up against the Jews in America, evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics and individual members of other such Christian groups will be at the forefront of helping and sheltering Jews. They will do this because they love God and God's chosen people, even if they never convert to Christianity. Taking that risk will prove to be the mark of a true Christian individual or people (see Matthew 25's sheep and goats), and that is what it will take to turn Jewish attitudes away from liberalism.

    • Jim C.

      You'd have to be a real paranoid idiot to think the Jews are going to be persecuted here.

      But please–continue to pat yourself on the back for what a "stand up guy" you'll be when the 'Great American Jew Roundup' goes down! LOL

  • frabul slomn

    I quote: "I therefore believe that like those of earlier decades, those who now predict an imminent massive shift of American Jews toward conservatism and toward the Republican Party will be disappointed". Yes l'm disappointed, the vast majority of Jews are poor allies of we who fight lslam, its quite sickening. Not only do the vast majority of Jews fall into the liberal camp but many actively advocate for and support lslam, doubly sickening. Pamela Geller says Jews are their own worst enemy, she is right.

  • AntiFascist18

    Jews for Obama are really Jews for Hitler.


    • Jim C.

      Nope–they're Jreally ews for Jesus


    • oreoexpo

      Let's keep a little perspective here.

  • Ex-Liberal

    The Rabbi interviewee's analysis and observations are fine and have the ring of truth; however, a greater wealth of understanding of the Left, not just Jewish democrats and leftists, can be gleaned by reading the towering work of David Horowitz in his book, RADICAL SON. Without the revelatory truth in that book, we are skirting around the pathologies that litter Jewish revolutionaries, radical environmentalists, Code Pink fellow travelers, and other destructive, professionally unhappy activists. I am ex-Liberal whose childhood was steeped in the romance of socialism, am only part Jewish, and believe that this subject should be pursued by anyone who loves freedom. Read David Horowitz!

  • BravoBilly

    On a Displaced Persons Ship, A little Boy breaks free from his US Army family and runs off to check out the ship. He sits down beside a skinny bearded man. He notices the numbers tattooed onto his arm and asked if that is like his dog tags and brings out his dog tags that have his ID info. The bearded man shows the little boy his arm and says as loud as he can with everybody passing, "Tell the world what you saw! Tell the world what you saw!" The younger skinny people come attend to the bearded man and shoo the little boy away.
    At Ellis Island these People dance in a circle as the little boy watches…And he remembers today. I TELL THE WORLD WHAT I SAW!!!!

  • Reason_For_Life

    Individual liberty can only be rationally based on individualism – the concept that it is the life of the individual that is the standard of morality.

    Why are people surprised that a group whose religion does not even recognize the existence of individuals should tend towards a leftist/collectivist world view? Should it be another surprise that the nation founded by Jews is socialist? No matter where you find Jews, you find supporters of socialism. At some point the question must be asked "Do Judaic principles support a collectivist social order or an individualist social order?

    People whose primary identity is tribal are most comfortable in a tribal environment and will support some form of collectivism.