The Death of Democrat Jewish Innocence

Jewish conservatives, while considered a bit of an oddity despite growing numbers, are commonly asked Why are so many Jews liberals?

From conservative luminaries like Norman Podhoretz and Dennis Prager to B-team influencers like me, Jewish conservatives have struggled to provide a satisfactory answer. Like any other group, we do not march in lockstep, certainly not when it comes to our religion and definitely not politically. Still, Jewish conservatives readily acknowledge that, like Black Americans, most of us tend to be liberal if not downright progressive and, regrettably, sometimes Marxist.

Books and articles have been written, and theories abound as to why this is, including, among others, the idea that Jews are liberal out of residual devotion to FDR and his pro-unionism; as pushback against the brutality they suffered under right-wing totalitarians like Hitler; and because, when Jews became secular, they replaced their religion with progressivism.

None of these quite hits the sweet spot, but they all resonate to some extent.

Image: Jews for Palestine by Alisdare Hickson. CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED.

I long ago abandoned any hope of uncovering the definitive reason for this phenomenon but, in thinking about the strong reaction that many liberals and Jewish liberals had to the October 7th Hamas Pogrom, I had a revelation. Bear with me.

In Konstantin Kisin’s must-read article The Day the Delusions Died, he notes that some Americans woke up as liberals on October 7th and went to bed that night as conservatives.

In A Political Reawakening?, Bari Weiss and Oliver Wiseman explain that this change can be attributed to the “sheer depravity of Hamas’s terrorism” as well as “the sense of how thin the line is between civilization and barbarism. And how the West, which so many take for granted, is more vulnerable than we ever imagined.” According to Weiss, “[t]he contradictions and moral bankruptcy of a worldview that spends years worrying about microaggressions and tone policing, but can’t decide what side it is on after the beheading of babies, aren’t exactly difficult to spot.”

Liberals who went to bed conservatives sincerely believed they were making some grand gesture by supporting Israel’s right to exist while recognizing the plight of the Palestinians until the reality of October 7th exploded their worldview. They are scared sh**less and rethinking the politicians, party, and policies they’ve long supported.

Protesters might feverishly burn Israeli flags in Istanbul, but threatening Jewish students barricaded in a university library in New York City and announcing your exhilaration from your Cornell ivory tower does not win hearts and minds among American liberals suffering from an identity crisis due to what Melanie Phillips, a British journalist and author of Londonistan, has coined a “civilizational crisis.”

This all got me thinking about the “Jewish liberals” question.

American Jews collectively want to be the good guys with big hearts who are devoted to public service and champion the world’s underdogs. After all, who better than the Jews to understand what it feels like to be an underdog?

And, having made lemonade out of Diaspora lemons, we have a strong commitment to giving back.

This “feel goodism” political alignment between Jews and liberalism is deeply rooted in Jewish biblical teachings and tradition. We were “chosen” to spread the concept of one G-d and to follow His commandments and laws. We were supposed to heal and bring peace to the world (tikkun olam), spread the words of “love thy neighbor” and “do unto others,” be charitable (tzedakah), do good deeds (mitzvot), etc. One can see why many Jews find the liberal path consistent with their Jewish roots and upbringing.

(Whether it’s liberalism or conservativism that actually accomplishes these virtuous things is not the subject of this article.)

Furthermore, there is a modified Stockholm Syndrome at play here for many Jews who, after centuries of being told how dirty, cheap, conniving, greedy, and horrible they are, may have either come to believe that about themselves or cannot cope with the reality that others perceive them that way. They have chosen to do everything they can to change that perception as a kind of expiation for their guilt. They seek absolution by doing good, which is quintessentially Jewish: on our Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), we say that repentance, prayer, and charity temper the severity of G-d’s decree for our sins.

What better way to prove you are not any of those things than by living a life you believe others will view as epitomizing the exact opposite? You will be upright, magnanimous, altruistic, philanthropic, and wonderful.

Related are the scars Jews collectively bear from centuries of anti-Semitism and the underlying fear that, no matter what we do, we will always be perceived negatively. Despite our contributions and assimilation throughout Europe, we were reviled as an infestation so pernicious and alien that we had to be exterminated. Whether as slaves in Egypt, auto-da-fé victims in Spain for failing to renounce our Judaism in Spain, essentially imprisoned residents of shtetls throughout the Pale of Settlement, shunned and marginalized citizens of the USSR, or outcasts from schools and jobs throughout the Anglosphere … the consistent messaging has been that Jews are subhuman, lesser than, the Other.

For many, the solution was to embrace political parties, policies, and ideologies that reflected positively on them by demonstrating how good, caring, and involved they were, especially with people who were also of different ethnicities and races—including the Palestinians.

Then, out of the blue one day in October 2023, they were gob-smacked by Palestinian brutality and antipathy towards Jews and their joy in annihilating the Chosen People. American liberals were forced to acknowledge that the very politicians, policies, and institutions they have supported have undermined not only Israeli safety but, now, their own, as they witness Jews threatened on university campuses and in major cities throughout the world; are barricaded by protesters in university libraries; and are being targeted with hate crimes in their neighborhoods—up 1,350% in London and 400% in the US.

They cannot help but wonder what awaits Jews everywhere as Hamas’s Reign of Terror is brazenly feted by a crazed, irrational mob.

As Kisin comments (with my modifications in brackets): the “events of the last two weeks have shattered the illusion [held by Liberals, in general, and Jewish Liberals, in particular,] that wokeness [born of liberalism] is about protecting victims and standing up for persecuted minorities.”

Liberals who went to bed on October 7th as conservatives understand that (a) if you believe that the Palestinians got a raw deal in 1948 when Israel was established, or after the 1967 war when Israel gained the West Bank and Gaza, or after the failed Oslo Accords in 1993, and (b) if this viewpoint trumps the horrors of the October 7th Pogrom such that you aren’t revolted, and (c) if you were exhilarated by the executions, beheadings, immolation, and kidnappings such that you lack any remorse for the victims, then you are every bit as psychopathic as this Hamas murderer, who used the phone of one of his victims to call his “proud” parents and boast:

“I killed her and I killed her husband. I killed ten with my own hands! Dad, ten with my own hands!”

The father replied: ‘Oh my son, God bless you!’

“I swear, ten with my own hands. I killed ten with my own hands. Mom, your son is a hero! Kill, kill, kill!”

For Judeo-Christian brains, this is otherworldly. We don’t think like this. We derive no pleasure from killing. It’s just not part of our ethos. We only kill out of absolute necessity and are guided by principles of necessity, proportionality, and justifiable self-defense, among others. We mourn the death tolls we cause to such an extent our soldiers routinely suffer from PTSD.

Israelis have long understood that to survive, they must think like Arabs and Muslims but, in recent years, they forgot that. No one need forget now, though, because we have pro-Palestinian supporters like this guy at a London protest with 100,000 attendees to remind us:

The difference between us [the Muslims] and them [the Jews]

Is that for them, they think life begins

For us, we believe that death begins!

We believe that life begins at death.

We don’t care about death.

We love death.

Takbir! Allahu Akbar!

This is the poetry of Islam—a death cult that rejoices in killing Jews who, they readily admit, have the chutzpah to embrace life.

If you aren’t already gob-smacked, this should do it.

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