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Bush, Jews And Democrats (Part I)


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The front page story in last week’s Jewish Press (“Israelis Sing Bush’s Praises”) – coming as it did almost simultaneously with the release of a Gallup poll that, on the surface at least, seemed to dash any Republican hopes that American Jews might be warming to the GOP – inspired a batch of letters and e-mails from obviously intelligent readers who just don’t get it.

The Monitor doesn’t get it either – Jewish voting habits ceased long ago to fall within the realm of the rational, and this column is decidedly not about the metaphysical - but this seems as good a time as any to try and work our way through this complicated issue. We’ll do that by featuring some of those aforementioned letters this week and then, beginning in next week’s column, offering our own comments and taking a closer look at that Gallup survey. (Settle in; this will be a multi-part project.)

Reader Stephen Mayo notes that “Bush is more popular with Israelis than he is with American Jews,” and that “it is commonly accepted that American Jews generally hate Republicans (though according to a recent poll of Jewish adults, Republicans are perceived as more favorable to Israel than Democrats).”

Although Mayo is grateful that Bush “supports Israel for philosophical reasons” (even as Bush must know that he “probably can never count on our votes,”) he finds it none the less disturbing that “Israel must suffer the consequences of American Jewish voters’ bigotry. For if American Jews could bring themselves to support (even just tolerate!) Bush, they would be much more vocal and motivated in supporting our Israeli brothers and sisters.”

Mayo elaborates: “If Bush were a Democrat or if Al Gore were president, Jews would have an easier time climbing on board the Zionist bandwagon. But that’s a pipe dream, because by any logical analysis, no Democrat could prosecute the global war on terrorism the way a Republican does.”

Reader Susan Herman insists that she’s “embarrassed to be a Jew whenever the subject of Jewish political allegiance is raised. For such a supposedly smart people, we’re a bunch of short-sighted, self-destructive fools when it comes to politics.”

She asks, “What does it take for Jews to give a Republican the credit he deserves? If we as a community cannot see what a friend President Bush has been through unprecedentedly difficult times, then we’ll never give the Republicans a fair shake. No wonder the Democrats in Congress don’t support Israel as publicly and as consistently as the Republicans do: they take us for granted, knowing that we’ll support the worst low-life as long as he’s a pro-abortion, pro-’affirmative action’ Democrat.”

Sounding a similar theme, Reader Steven Klayman, obviously a betting man, posits the following: “How much would you be willing to wager that Rudy Giuliani would not have received nearly the level of Jewish support he did in his campaigns for mayor if he’d been anti-abortion or anti-’gay rights’? Giuliani’s unbelievable support for Israel, his tremendous achievements in reducing crime and making the city more livable – none of this would have been enough for die-hard Jewish liberals if Rudy were a social conservative.”

Reader Chaim Linden feels the Gallup story was blown out of proportion by New York’s other Jewish tabloid. “Leave it to the Jewish Week to trumpet the Gallup story on page one,” he writes. “I well remember a column written a few months ago by the editor of that paper which, rather than giving Bush credit for his strong leadership in the war on terror and his backing of Israel, roundly mocked the president from start to finish. Then again, this is the same savant who for years championed the Oslo suicide process, so why should I be surprised?”

Finally, reader John Grumman begs our pardon but minces no words: “Forgive me, but I really don’t understand the Jewish people. I know all about how secular Jews in Europe and America were attracted to socialism and other left-wing philosophies in the early decades of the last century, but that doesn’t explain why so many Jews, long after the Left in its various manifestations has time and again shown itself to be inimical to Jewish and Israeli interests, continue to blindly worship at the shrine of liberalism and leftism.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

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About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


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