Roger L. Simon

Dept. of Old Habits Die Hard

My own included. But I found myself nodding my head as I read Jeff Jacoby’s op-ed “Bush, Kerry, and the Jewish vote” in today’s Boston Globe:

For countless American Jews, loyalty to the Democratic ticket is as automatic as breathing. The roots of that loyalty run deep. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, waves of Jewish immigrants from Europe, where the most anti-Semitic elements of society were often the most conservative, brought with them an intense aversion to right-wing politics – and an appreciation for the left, which they associated with emancipation and equality. Those attitudes were intensified during World War II, when the most lethal enemy in Jewish history was ultimately destroyed by an alliance led by a liberal Democrat named Franklin Roosevelt.

But America in 2004 is very different from the America of 50 or 100 years ago. American Jews owe it to themselves to base their political loyalty on something stronger than force of habit. Those who vote for Democrats (or against Republicans) because that’s what their parents and grandparents did ought to take a closer look: When it comes to the issues they care about most, their loyalty may be misplaced.

Jacoby has a lot more to say, of course noting the obvious that for some Jews domestic issues like abortion and the environment trump foreign policy. Maybe when those people say “Never again!” they’re talking about gas lines.