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View Diary: Jewish Family Flees, 'Stop The ACLU' Director 'PLEASED'- what you can do (241 comments)

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  •  It's a fair question (30+ / 0-)

    And if you read the Jewish magazines in this country you can see the heartrending that is going on.

    First off, the Jewish bloc is currently about 75/25 Democrat.  Jews vote Democratic for many reasons - caring for the community is very big in the faith.  Even when Jews were dirt poor (which was most of the time) there was almost always someone in the Jewish community poorer than any given family, and charity was very big.  (Note - Jews were typically very poor in Europe - you may have heard that they were bankers, and that was true because they were allowed to charge interest unlike Christians.  However, Jews were not allowed to foreclose, so banking wasn't but so profitable).  If you look at Israel it's a left-leaning country - the Kibbutzim are socialist communes, the culture is largely western european (which is pretty liberal compared to the US) and if it weren't for the Palestinian situation I doubt the right-wing would ever win an election.  Third, on the big issues of the day, Jews tend to identify with the Democratic party - Social Security, Medicare (caring for the less fortunate), Labor Unions (rights of the lower classes), and then religious issues like prayer in public schools, etc.

    However - there is one big issue where the left wing and the Jews don't get along so well - and that's the issue of what to do with Israel.  There was a recommended diary with 300+ comments and the posters were pretty evenly divided between supporting/opposing Israel.  Anti-Israel comments make Jews, in general, uncomfortable.  While Jews see as plain as day the Arab world failing to help the Palestinians and keeping them as refugees in order to pressure Israel - which counters what has happened with almost every other refugee population in modern times - Anti-Israel folks just look at the plight of the Palestinians, say that they were entitled to the land, and want Israel to give it back/go away/whatever.  Yes, I'm vastly oversimplifying but fill in the normal arguments against Israel and it will make sense.

    The right-wing in this country is 100% pro-Israel - however there's a problem even in that.  The evangelicals support Israel because the Jews are supposed to take over, and then the rapture will come - Jews will either convert to Christianity or go to hell.  So even the people who back us on the short-term political issue still believe that God will turn his back on us unless we change who we are.  

    For some portion of the population - Israel is the #1 voting issue - no different than people who won't support Casey in PA because he's anti-abortion, or people who won't support a Democrat who supports the hate gay amendment, or whatever.  

    Then (and this is personal bias) - I think that there are some Jews who got wealthy and let it go to their heads and forgot their roots, and vote for Republicans for personal tax cuts.  Those folks are the ones who truly bother me - you've been well off for a generation or two and suddenly forget where you came from?  (This applies to many non-Jews too - I've seen this too often - people get rich and suddenly "become Republican" because of the estate tax or some such).

    But even with those, it's still 75/25 Democrat.  Jews are one of the more reliable voting blocks for Democrats - and although our numbers are small we have very high voter participation rates and we donate.  The donations are a problem for some who are opposed to Israel because there is a feeling that the Democratic party apparatus won't oppose Israel for fear of alienating the Jews - similar to how the Republicans are totally backwards on Cuba because the Cuban population (also small but high-participation) is very Republican.  Shrug.  I say it's listening to your constituents - if a candidate pissed off the netroots and we stopped giving that might hurt, no?  But anyway, this is too long a comment as it is.


    Democrats *do* have a plan for Social Security - it's called Social Security. -- Ed Schultz
    -3.13 -6.05

    by FredFred on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 09:41:48 AM PDT

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    •  Jews and Charity (9+ / 0-)

      Two points about Jews and "Charity" --

      • I was taught in Hebrew School that the word in the old testament that is usually translated as "charity" would be more accurately translated as "justice".
      • I also learned a story, I believe it was about Rabbi ben Hillel, where a follower tried to ask a question: "There are two men, and one gives to charity and the other doesn't...". The Rabbi interrupted and said, "No, here you have one man and an animal".
      •  More on Jews and charity (14+ / 0-)

        Man is worthy of being called man only if he is charitable.

        and a story

        A guy dies and is standing by the pearly gates.  The angel asks why he should be let into heaven.

        "Well, I prayed every day.  I kept kosher.  I observed the sabbath.....

        God interrupts.

        "Wait a minute.  Down on Earth, you became wealthy, didn't you?"

        "well, um, yes"

        "Did you ever give money to charity?"

        the guy is stumped.  Thinks and thinks.  Finally

        "yes!  Once I gave 10 cents to a blind man on the street"

        God gives the angel a dime and says

        "Give this fellow his dime back, and tell him to go to hell".

        And to close, a famous quote from Hillel

        If I am not for myself, who is for me?
        If I am for myself alone, what am I?
        If not now, when?

        great comment fredfred

        Republicans worry about our souls and their bellies. Democrats worry about their souls and our bellies

        by plf515 on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 10:48:03 AM PDT

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    •  FredFred, well said. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
    •  yes, lots of Jewish money in politics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      last I heard, something like 50% of Democratic money, and 20% of Republican money, comes from Jewish donors.

      somehow I imagine most of that Republican-bound money came from a certain Abramoff... what an embarrassment to the tribe. For shame.

      "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home." -Edward R. Murrow

      by adamschloss on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 11:25:45 AM PDT

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    •  I think it suprises people how divided we are (4+ / 0-)
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      shpilk, TiaRachel, Los Diablo, XStryker

      over Israel.  I've known quite a few people that automatically assume that I can't see the Palestinian point of view/am a defender of Israel's actions based on my being Jewish, but what's worse are those who make comments against the Jews to me because they don't yet know I'm Jewish. :)

      One thing though that I've had a hard time finding is people in America that have lived in Israel and don't have very harsh feelings towards the Palestinians.

      Sometimes people come around though once they've been in the states for a few years, so it seems.

      It's been commented on a lot, the difference between Israeli Jews and American Jews.  A complexity that very few people acknowledge exists.

      -5.75, -4.51 "While my eyes go looking for flying saucers in the sky." - Caetano Veloso

      by lostinbrasil on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 01:32:13 PM PDT

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      •  The Whacked Religious Right and Theocons (1+ / 0-)
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        hate the Jewish people and the people from Palestine.   They also seem to be good at manipulating both sides when it is to their advantage. I have no idea how any Jew or Muslim can align themselves with those crazies.

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