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May 30, 2016 / 22 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘among’

Pew Survey: Support For Israel Eroding Among Younger Democrats

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Earlier this month, a Pew Research Center survey examining attitudes about foreign policy among the U.S. electorate found that Americans continue to strongly favor Israel (54 percent) over the Palestinians (19 percent). Yet the survey also indicated a number of trends that suggest a possible erosion of the long-held bipartisan pro-Israel consensus.

Notably, while figures show sympathy for Israel has remained relatively consistent over the past few decades, there has been a slight uptick in sympathy for the Palestinians, 14 percent to 19 percent, from July 2014 – with a substantial increase in support for the Palestinians among respondents ages 18-29, also known as millennials.

At the same time, Pew’s data confirmed a partisan divide on Israel. While support for Israel among Democratic voters has remained steady over the past few decades – 44 percent in 1978 compared to 43 percent today – there has been a sharp rise during that time in Republican sympathy for Israel, 49 percent to 75 percent, and a modest gain among independents, 45 percent to 52 percent.

Only 33 percent of Democrats who describe themselves as liberal support Israel, while 40 percent sympathize with the Palestinians.

The survey revealed a further divide within the Democratic electorate itself. Hillary Clinton supporters were more likely to sympathize with Israel than the Palestinians, 47 percent versus 27 percent, while Bernie Sanders supporters favored the Palestinians over Israel by 39 percent to 33 percent.

“Evidence has been accumulating for some time of a division among Democratic voters over Israel,” said Dr. Theodore Sasson, senior research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University. “The left wing of the party is more critical of U.S. support for Israel.”

Dr. Jonathan Rynhold, director of the Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People at Bar-Ilan University, said that generally the American public’s sympathy toward Israel has been growing since 2000.

Yet Americans have become more divided over policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and those divisions “increasingly line up with the main ideological and political divides in America,” he noted.

“Since younger Americans are more liberal, and each generation is more liberal than the previous generation, they are less sympathetic toward Israel and more inclined to believe that the U.S. should adopt an even-handed approach toward the conflict,” Rynhold told JNS. “They are also more critical of Israel’s use of military force against Hamas and Hizbullah.”

“I doubt the level of hostility [in America] will reach the levels we see in Europe,” said Brandeis’s Sasson. Rynhold echoed that sentiment, saying the gap on Israel between the American left and the European left remains wide.

“American liberals are far more sympathetic to Israel than the European left,” Rynhold said. “The gulf remains huge. The debate in the U.S. is over siding with Israel or being even-handed, and that goes for the Democrats as well. Whereas on the European left, the debate is over [being] anti-Israel or even-handed.”

Yet fears persist about the growing liberal electorate’s views on Israel, especially among younger Americans.

“Over time, as the percentage of liberals among Democrats increases, the party’s support for Israel could well become more conditional on what they perceive as Israel’s willingness to support a two-state solution and perceptions related to other liberal causes inside Israel,” Rynhold said.

(JNS)

Sean Savage

Shiloh Musings: Bibi’s Among USA’s Top Ten Admired Men

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Yesterday I blogged wondering if Donald Trump has a chance to win the United States Presidency. American polls keep saying that he hasn’t, but in the latest UK-based YouGov Most Admired Men in the USA Poll, Trump is #8

Barack Obama 10.3% Michelle Obama 7.5%
Pope Francis 8.2% Hillary Clinton 6.0%
Bill Gates 6.5% Ellen DeGeneres 5.9%
Stephen Hawking 5.2% Malala Yousafzai 5.6%
Billy Graham 5.2% Condoleeza Rice 5.4%
Bernie Sanders 5.0% Sandra Bullock 4.9%
Jimmy Carter 4.4% Barbara Bush 4.5%
Donald Trump 4.1% Laura Bush 4.3%
Dalai Lama 3.7% Elizabeth Warren 4.3%
Benjamin Netanyahu 3.7% Angelina Jolie 4.0%
George W Bush 3.5% Oprah Winfrey 3.6%
Johnny Depp 3.4% Meryl Streep 3.3%
Bill Clinton 3.3% Queen Elizabeth II 3.3%
Ben Carson 3.1% Kate Middleton 3.2%
Warren Buffett 2.9% Sarah Palin 2.8%
Jon Stewart 2.3% Taylor Swift 2.7%
Brad Pitt 2.2% Celine Dion 2.6%
Ted Cruz 2.0% Carly Fiorina 2.3%
Mark Zuckerberg 1.9% Emma Watson 2.2%
Mitt Romney 1.9% Jennifer Lawrence 2.0%

And take a look at who is two places under Trump, it’s our very own Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu!

Do you remember not that long ago when Netanyahu was invited by the Republicans to speak to Congress and the Democrats had fits? Obama and his cronies fear Bibi, because Bibi has points that POTUS and staff can’t or don’t want to answer.  You may very well know that I don’t agree with everything Netanyahu says or does, but he’s certainly much better than the American President. And Netanyahu’s knowledge of World History etc is unbeatable.

It’s interesting that, with the exception of Trump, all the other Republicans are less popular than Bibi is. This poll does show that the American Left is strong. Obama, Sanders and even Jimmy Carter are ahead of Trump.

Yes, for good or for bad, it is just a poll. Don’t forget that. Still food for thought….

Batya Medad

It’s Official: You Can Be a Non-Jewish Rabbi

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Over the past few years, Reform and Conservative Judaism have been struggling so much with the notion of ordaining women rabbis and gay rabbis, that we, the spectators (innocent bystanders?) of those struggles have completely lost sight of an even more challenging notion: can they ordain gentile rabbis?

To cut a long story short: they can and they have. The Reform movement has done, and as a result, I believe, has placed itself outside the Rabbinical Jewish tradition regarding the fundamental notion of who qualifies as a Jew.

I became aware of this complete and, presumably, final split between Jews and the largely American Reform movement after receiving a link to Seth Berkman’s piece in the Forward: Angela Buchdahl, First Asian-American Rabbi, Vies for Role at Central Synagogue. The article praises Angela as an example of diversity, who “walks among the pews, greeting congregants before Friday night services at Manhattan’s venerable Central Synagogue,” where she faces “a mélange of Jewish faces, including blacks, Asians and Hispanics,” in a “diversity that reflects the emergence of an American Jewry of unprecedented ethnic breadth.”

Had I known nothing more about the above paragraph, I would have been beaming with pride over it. In the shuls I attended on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, spotting an African or a Hispanic face was always such a source of pleasure. As a tiny nation and an even tinier religious group, we prize every gentile who embraces our faith and goes through the sometimes grueling process of becoming one of us.

Except that Berkman cuts to the chase right at the opener, making clear that no such grueling effort was involved in Angela Buchdahl’s joining the Chosen People: it turns out that the diversity she so praises at that Reform gathering is “embodied” by Buchdahl, who was “born to an Ashkenazi, Reform Jewish father and a Korean Buddhist mother.”

Exactly 30 years ago, in 1983, the Reform movement in America adopted the bilineal policy: “The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent. This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. The performance of these mitzvot serves to commit those who participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life.”

It should be noted that outside the U.S. the Reform moevement is yet to adopt the sweeping “presumption of Jewish descent” doctrine, but they do, by and large, offer “accelerated conversions” to children of a Jewish father.

Hadassah Magazine, which Berkman quotes in her story, featured a profile of the Korean born Angela Buchdahl, the first Asian American to be ordained as a cantor or rabbi and the first woman to attain both positions.

For Buchdahl, according to Hadassah magazine, key Jewish values include “a spirit of genuine inquiry and multiple opinions; our whole method of study and nondogmatic spirit; the dignity of every person and the fact that we are all created in the image of God; the ability to know what it is to be a stranger and to have been a slave—and to force ourselves to embody that understanding in every generation.”

Far be it from me to criticize such fine and noble notions, but it is difficult to recognize in that amalgam anything uniquely Jewish. Absent is the idea of fulfilling the mitzvot as a divine agenda. It’s all about getting along with others and respecting them, not so much about applying Torah laws to one’s daily life.

Indeed, the more the Reform movement is reinventing itself, the closer it gets to Christianity. She’s been active, among other things, at Auburn Theological Seminary, “an interfaith platform to address global issues and build bridges across religious traditions.”

“Angela is an extraordinary religious leader,” Rev. Katherine Henderson, Auburn’s president, told Hadassah. At a gathering for a Presbyterian group last year, Buchdahl “led worship that was completely authentic for her as a Jew and yet completely accessible for this group of Christians,” says Henderson. “We were all able to praise God together!”

This reporter is known to be flippant, so I very much want to avoid being flippant about this story. I don’t think we should denounce people like Angela Buchdahl, or condemn the Reform movement for its straying so far out of the Rabbinical Jewish tent. But we should remain steadfast in not calling any of these people and the nice things they do “Jewish” in any way at all. We’re already not permitted to set foot inside their houses of worship. We should probably stop calling their religious teachers “Rabbi” – perhaps “Reform Rabbi” will do. And we should look forward to the time when calling someone “Reform” would simply mean a really nice non-Jew.

Yori Yanover

Nothing ‘Reasonable’ about Mideast Divide

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Thanks to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to swallow a painful and embarrassing concession to please the Palestinians, Secretary of State John Kerry had his moment of triumph.

In announcing the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks, Kerry has seemingly justified the way he has concentrated his efforts on an issue that was not in crisis mode and with little chance of resolution while treating other more urgent problems such as Egypt, Syria, and the Iranian nuclear threat as lower priorities.

But now that he has had his victory, the focus turns to the talks where few, if any, observers think there is a ghost of a chance of that the negotiations can succeed despite Kerry’s call for “reasonable compromises.”

The reason for that is that despite the traditional American belief that the two sides can split the difference on their disagreements, as Kerry seems to want, the problem is much deeper than drawing a new line on a map.

Ironically, proof of this comes from a new poll that some are touting as evidence that both Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution. The poll was a joint project of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. It shows, among other often-contradictory results, that a majority of Israelis (62 percent) supports a two-state solution while 33 percent oppose it. Among Palestinians, 53 percent support and 46 percent oppose the two-state solution.

But the question to ask about this poll and the conflict is what the two sides mean by a two-state solution. The answer comes in a subsequent query:

We asked Israelis and Palestinians about their readiness for a mutual recognition as part of a permanent status agreement and after all issues in the conflict are resolved and a Palestinian State is established. Our current poll shows that 57% of the Israeli public supports such a mutual recognition and 37% opposes it. Among Palestinians, 42% support and 56% oppose this step.

In other words, Israelis see a two-state solution as a way to permanently end the conflict and achieve peace. But since a majority of Palestinians cannot envision mutual recognition even after all issues are resolved and they get a state, they obviously see it as merely a pause before the conflict would begin anew on terms decidedly less advantageous to Israel.

There are many reasons why the peace negotiations are likely to fail. The Palestinians are deeply split, with Gaza being ruled by the Islamists of Hamas who still won’t even contemplate talks with Israel, let alone peace. Kerry has praised Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, but he is weak and hasn’t the ability to make a peace deal stick even in the unlikely event he signs one.

Though Netanyahu went out on a political limb to enable the talks to begin by releasing scores of Palestinian terrorists, Abbas has shown in the past that he will say no, even when offered virtually everything he has asked for. Netanyahu will rightly drive a harder bargain and refuse to contemplate a deal that involves a complete retreat to the 1967 lines or a Palestinian state that isn’t demilitarized. But it’s hard to imagine Abbas ever recognizing the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn.

The real problem, however, isn’t about where negotiators would draw those lines. As the poll indicates, even after Israel withdraws from almost all of the West Bank (reports indicate Netanyahu is ready to give up 86 percent of it), a substantial majority of Palestinians still can’t fathom the possibility of mutual recognition and normal relations.

How can that be?

The reason is very simple and is not something Kerry or his lead negotiator Martin Indyk (a veteran of numerous diplomatic failures who hasn’t seemed to learn a thing from any of them) can fix. Palestinian nationalism was born in the 20th century as a reaction to Zionism, not by focusing on fostering a separate identity and culture from that of other Arab populations. That doesn’t mean Palestinians aren’t now a separate people with their own identity, but it does explain why they see that identity as indistinguishable from the effort to make Israel disappear.

Jonathan S. Tobin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/nothing-reasonable-about-mideast-divide/2013/08/01/

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