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Ron Radosh

Michelle Goldberg’s Jewish Problem, and Ours

July 29th, 2011 - 10:04 am

What if  the ban on circumcision introduced as legislation in San Francisco had passed? (Yesterday the Appeals Court removed it from the ballot) Would turning Jews into criminals because they had their children circumcised get Goldberg  to accept the very real  threat to Jews that comes from the precincts of the Left?

When, she asks, did Jews ever vote in a significant amount for a Republican? She answers that the largest percentage of Jews did so in 1920, when Warren G. Harding won the presidential race in a landslide. But even then, she writes, while 42 percent of American Jews voted for Harding, a significant 38 percent voted for the Socialist Party candidate, Eugene V. Debs.

That figure tells us something significant about Jews and the Left, although she does not realize it. Goldberg does not break down which Jews in which states voted for Harding. I suspect that it was already settled German Jews from earlier periods of immigration who were voting Republican. Most likely recent immigrants from Eastern Europe and Russia, living in the Jewish ghetto in the Lower East Side of New York, most of them readers of the Yiddish socialist daily The Forward, are the ones who voted for Debs. They came to America finding only poverty and lack of work outside of the sweatshops in the garment trade, and they came to the new country with their anarchist and socialist ideologies intact.  Now, their ancestors are generations removed—either in the middle or upper middle class, or among the very rich. Yet, the legacy of those first years of their grandparents’ life in America motivates their vote, no matter what their own situation.

Goldberg continues to complain about the support of Israel by Christian Evangelicals. She is worried that their desire is to destroy Judaism and gain converts to Christianity, and hence she believes what most American Jews worry about over everything else is Evangelical support for Israel. She writes:

That fact is, many American Jews might consider voting for “someone else,” but only a fraction would consider voting for the type of person that the GOP is likely to nominate. American Jews have shown, again and again, that they care more about social justice and a defense of American pluralism than a zealous defense of Israeli maximalism. They might get anxious about liberal criticism of Israel, but this anxiety tends to pale beside their abhorrence of the Christian right.

One problem is Goldberg’s concept of “maximalism.” Anyone who heard Reverend Hagee at AIPAC’s convention a few years ago found that he received a huge ovation from the entire audience, many of them undoubtedly liberals and Democrats. They did not find his reasons for support of Israel maximalist; nor did they seem upset that they had CUFI actively lobbying Congress in support of Israel. Indeed, the AIPAC delegates seem pleased that more Christians were coming to Israel’s defense.

Of course, I suspect that Goldberg considers Obama’s views on Israel as pro-Israel, and subscribes herself to the phony J-Street mantra of being pro-Israel and pro-peace. And as one would expect, her proof of the Jewish vote staying with Obama is the emergence of Michele Bachmann, whom at this point, is more than unlikely to be the Republican nominee for President. Hence, she hopes for a Romney-Bachmann ticket, which as she knows, would make it certain that urban secular Jewish voters would not vote the Republican ticket.

As long as liberal American Jews read and take the advice of someone like Michelle Goldberg, who shows that her dislike for conservatives motivates her far more than any fear that Islamic radicalism and the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb gives very real cause for concern to Jews all over the world, those Jews should not be surprised when a candidate they vote for, like Barack Obama, moves to “throw Israel under the bus.” The only way that situation will change is if American Jews take the advice of the old 1940s Zionist leader Abba Hillel Silver, who argued that Jews should be independent, not tied to one political party, and if a Republican candidate is better, they should vote for that person.

Until American Jews show that kind of wisdom, they deserve getting bad advice from the Michelle Goldbergs in the media.

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