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Jewish Support for Obama Not Mystifying

The Obama campaign presented simplistic talking points to ‘prove’ that he is pro-Israel. They did not have to stand up to analysis. Liberal Jews were looking for a rational excuse to justify their emotional stance, and the talking points provided one.
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Somewhere between 68 and 70% of American Jewish voters went for Obama, depending on whose exit poll you believe. Israelis that I talk to are mystified. “Are they crazy? What were they thinking?” they ask.

It’s not really mystifying. Here are some general facts about non-Orthodox and secular (the large majority) American Jews:

Although they will say that they support Israel, they do not know the history of the Middle East and the 100-year old conflict over Jewish sovereignty. They are well-educated, which means that they went to universities where, if they studied the conflict, they are likely to have been assigned books and articles by the revisionist (read: anti-Zionist) historians. They will certainly have been exposed to numerous lectures and films presented by Palestinian advocates and student groups. If they are left-of-center and engaged in antiwar or other ‘progressive’ causes, they will certainly be bombarded with extreme anti-Israel propaganda as well.

They tend to be liberal, which means that they get their news of current events from sources like the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, etc. What they will see and hear will generally confirm their mildly left-wing beliefs, but in one area — Israel — will be consistently and deliberately biased to an extreme degree.

They are very concerned about what they perceive as the danger of a Christian takeover of American society, in which Christian symbols and prayer will be officially sanctioned in public places, abortion and contraception will be prohibited on religious grounds, their children will be required to sing Christmas carols, etc. They associate Christianity with antisemitism — but do not seem to be alarmed by growing antisemitism on the Left, or in the black community.

They are less threatened by Muslims, whom they see as another minority in the US who suffer from discrimination, like blacks and Jews. They seek interfaith cooperation, and are not alarmed by the treatment of Islamist organizations as mainstream by the administration.

Although today many are financially successful, they are suspicious of “big business” and — not entirely incorrectly — feel that the population is being ripped off by corporations like banks, pharmaceutical companies, etc. They are pro-union. But they are not as worried by the fact that the tax burden on them is rapidly rising while government services that actually benefit people are falling. As liberals, they tend to be less concerned about the increasing power and intrusiveness of government than the loss of privacy to corporations.

Finally, as well-educated liberals, they find it hard to criticize Barack Obama, who presents himself as ‘black’, lest they be guilty of racism, a secular blasphemy punishable by total social ostracism.

Not everything I’ve said applies to all American Jews — there are conservatives among them, and some who take both conservative and liberal positions on various issues. There are Orthodox Jews who are more conservative, and even haredi anti-Zionists (who knows how, or even if, they vote). But I think my generalizations are, er, generally, correct.

So along comes Mitt Romney, a guy who represents corporate power if anyone does, who draws support from the Christian Right — at least, at the beginning of the campaign when he plays to the conservative base — and who complains about ‘big government’ and threatens to undo the only liberal success of the Obama Administration, Obamacare.

He is at a huge disadvantage from the start. And the issue of Israel has little or no power to sway American Jews, because, as I’ve argued, deep in their hearts they are not sure that Israel is not really a colonialist oppressor of third-world Palestinians. In an emotional sense, many of them are not with Israel.

We know that politics is mostly emotional, so when Republicans or pro-Israel Jews presented arguments that Obama was not a friend or Israel, they bounced off. Accepting and acting on them would mean going against their deeply felt liberalism and voting Republican, something many could not bring themselves to do. And their pro-Israel feeling is not strong enough to push them over the edge. So they looked for reasons to justify their emotional position.

The Obama campaign presented simplistic talking points to ‘prove’ that he is pro-Israel. They did not have to stand up to analysis. Liberal Jews were looking for a rational excuse to justify their emotional stance, and the talking points provided one.

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About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.


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59 Responses to “Jewish Support for Obama Not Mystifying”

  1. Yes, can you imagine, American Jews vote according their beliefs about American issues? Is that surprising to anybody? Anybody?

  2. "if they studied the conflict, they are likely to have been assigned books and articles by the revisionist (read: anti-Zionist) historians. They will certainly have been exposed to numerous lectures and films presented by Palestinian advocates and student groups.".. as a well educated person I would like you to back this up. Ive never gotten anti-zionist texts, or lectures and films presented by Palestinian advocates..in fact I believe weve treated Palestine badly yet still cant understand the vote for Obama…Jews are voting Obama for one reason – their own pockets (Social Security) is more important to them than Israel…

  3. Phil Bogner says:

    Clearly NOT understanding that the plan to fix SS would NOT effect any seniors currently receiving checks (or soon to receive them). And also showing a clear disregard for their beloved grandchildren, who are on a path to PAYING for current Boomers' SS, while probably never going to be able to collect the same themselves.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Not good. Obama has little interest in Middle Eastern affairs.

  5. Lisa M Weiss says:

    This article is very biased. We are educated and understand the Middle East history of the jews. We donate millions to israel and its causes. We do not vote on religious beliefs alone. That would be voting against our best interest here in the USA!

  6. Michele Dutkowitz Dichter says:

    Hard to believe that these statements are true. It truly is the media – who and what you are listening to. Jews are the most misguided voting demogrpahic ever. It goes back for generations. I don't get it. Someone actually asked me the other day how I could possibly be a jew and a republican. I feel the same way in reverse.

  7. Fred Nolastnamegiven says:

    I hope you realize that Iran has Isreal in its crosshairs and Obama does not have your back. American Jews are the frog in the pot.

  8. Kathy Gutman says:

    I had a thought today when I was wondering what would make a Jew vote for a Marxist, I believe Liberal Jews are ashamed of being Jewish it is a leftover feeling from the Holocust. They were the target of hate and called horrible names and treated like drek, therefore forming a negative belief about themselves, see themselves as flawed afterall they were slaughtered like animals. Dem's provide them with a false sense of acceptance, they feel liked and have a sense of belonging by (they believe) a popular party.

  9. Kathy Gutman says:

    I had a thought today when I was wondering what would make a Jew vote for a Marxist, I believe Liberal Jews are ashamed of being Jewish it is a leftover feeling from the Holocust. They were the target of hate and called horrible names and treated like drek, therefore forming a negative belief about themselves, see themselves as flawed afterall they were slaughtered like animals. Dem's provide them with a false sense of acceptance, they feel liked and have a sense of belonging by (they believe) a popular party.

  10. Yori Yanover says:

    I think we should all stop guessing why another Jew voted this way or that, because all we're doing there is projection of our own feelings. We are expected to give a fellow Jew the benefit of the doubt and not ascribe to them the worst possible motivations.

  11. David Teague says:

    Thank you for helping me understand why a Jewish person would vote for a Muslim (Obama)…. Your people who are U.S. citizens have voted against you.. Bible Prophecy says that God will save Israel with a mighty display of his power… I want to say Good Luck Israel because you are on your own…. But, you do not need "Luck"…. Because, with God on your side you WILL be victorious!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I agree with you, as Israel must stand alone so that G-d Himself will fight for Israel as it is prophesied that He will gather all nations against Israel, so that His people and the whole world will behold His glory" I like Joshua writing in Joshua 1-9 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified: Do not be discouraged . for the Lord your G-d will be with you wherever you go." shalom

  13. Anonymous says:

    Kathy Gutman I had two Jewish friends One was most humble and was not afraid of telling people he was Jewish, I admired him greatly. the other was also Jewish but denied that he was Jewish, and seemed very much afraid, I found out he had been terribly persecuted in Russia and it brought hurtfull memories to him, so I believe he could be to some extent excused for hiding his true identity, but with a name of Fleishman I asked why hide it?

  14. Anonymous says:

    very true but the American public did not have much choice as Romney has never known poverty and how therefore could he equate with the working middle class, or for that matter can any president today know what it is like to see your taxes going to rights which are no right at all and to killing the unborn, and forgetting that the Lord G-d said "Ye condemn the innocent and set the guilty free" interpretation. You kill the innocent child within and re-habilitate hardened criminals who are murderers in the first place.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "G-d often punishes a nation by means of depriving their leaders of wisdom"

  16. Anonymous says:

    Why would American Jews deny their own heritage or sell it out like Esau for a potage of meat? impossible maybe the Rabbi was right that the Jews in America are too comfortable and do not care about their fellow Jews who are need of encouragment and aid. Why am I not Jewish sending money to the poor elderly in Israel, if they dont care a hoot about their own people? it makes me want to cry.

  17. Lisa M Weiss says:

    We are not a Theocracy!!!!!! We are the Unites States of America. People with diverse backgrounds and religious diversity. God has Israel in his hands stop worrying about whats going on in our country.Our president has more wisdom than you! He knows tolerance just like me. A conservative American Jew.You have no right placing judgement on anyway. G-D would not approve your assumption!

  18. Doug Kraft says:

    I am an American Jew.Some members of my family were not lucky enough to come to America. How does a Jew not step up when it comes to Israel? LISTEN UP ,….how do you serve the best interests of our homeland, and continue to elect these liberal frauds to the most powerful positions in our govt? I am one with Hashem and with Israel. I had hoped this election would stir some reflection on the issues that are important to Israel. I need to sign off…..my text is stuck on "microscopic" I can hardly read my screen. May G-d bless you all, and Shabbat shalom.

  19. Denise Sterchi says:

    I want one of those!

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