When a friend of mine converted to Judaism, he told the rabbi that he understood the ethics, the laws, and all that was required of him. But there was one thing that he said that he refused to do. He refused to become a Democrat.
The bond between the Jews and the Democrat Party is so strong that, except for blacks, Jews, more than any other group, overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates. In his seminal work, Beyond the Melting Pot, on the impact of American immigration on society, sociologist Nathan Glazer observed, along with co-author Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that Jews in America have achieved the socioeconomic status of Episcopalians, but they continued to vote like Puerto Ricans.
The lopsided alignment of Jews with the Democrats was showcased in two infamous quotes. The first, arguably attributed to James Baker, was "f--- the Jews, they don't vote for us." The more recent version characterizes the Biden administration's pressure on Israel to accept a premature ceasefire in the recent battle with Hamas: "f--- the Jews, they'll vote for us anyhow."
Jews, like most urban immigrants, were Republicans until the Democrats in 1928 nominated New York governor Al Smith. This realigning election shifted urban America away from the Republicans, who had successfully used the "bloody shirt" of the Civil War to tarnish Democrats. Smith, a Catholic, from America's largest immigrant stronghold, New York City, changed the configuration of partisanship. Smith lost the election but reconfigured the electorate.
The election of Franklin D. Roosevelt cemented what Smith had started, and Jews were forever bonded to the Democrat party.
Even President Donald J. Trump's strong support of Israel made no difference. One would have thought Jewish ardor for President Joseph R. Biden would have fallen, given his scandalous attack on Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, his pressure to push Israel into a premature ceasefire with Hamas that ensured the next conflict, and his opening of a consulate in East Jerusalem that has all the earmarks of giving legitimacy to the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem, a place that did not exist until the Jordanian occupation of 1948.
And then there is the rabid anti-Semitism of congresswomen Alexandra Octavio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, all of whom rose to important positions based on the success of the Democrats. This too did not matter, for Jews were quick to rationalize that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had them under control.
Jews live in a partisan bubble — so much so that they will go to great lengths to defend the indefensible. Admittedly, I live in one of the most leftist areas of the country, the San Francisco Bay Area. So when J. The Jewish News of Northern California took it upon itself to defend Biden's disastrous and chaotic retreat from Afghanistan, I should not have been surprised. But the statement was, nonetheless, shocking. Here is what the opinion editors said: "Turning to the tragedy in Afghanistan, it's too late, and not helpful, to complain about whether the exit and evacuation could have been handled better. That's over now."
Let's consider how out of touch with reality you must be to write that. Let's apply this trenchant reasoning to other events. "Turning to the tragedy in Europe known as the Holocaust, it's too late, and not helpful to complain about whether the Western powers should have come to the aid of the Jews. That's over now." Or how about, "Turning to the tragedy of trans-Atlantic slavery, it's too late, and not helpful to complain about whether the institution could have been handled better or to ask for reparations. That's over now."
What should be over now is the mindless allegiance of Jews to a party that does not have to compete for their vote.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.
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