Schver Tsu Zayn a Democrat

 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz finds it hard to be a Jewish, pro-Israel Democrat. First, there is the media bias from outlets like MSNBC. During this past summer’s war in Gaza, the network aired a biased “Palestinian perspective” and “panoramic view of the results of the war in Gaza.”

Clearly they were highlighting what is Israel had done to Gaza and the plight to Palestinians, and my first thought was, ‘Where is the balance, where is the spotlight on what Jewish children in Israel go through from being victims of rocket attacks?’ The media’s coverage, it’s not just MSNBC, I’ve seen it on CNN and even in the broadcast media, as well…

And then there is her difficulty reconciling her Jewish values with progressivist cultural nonjudgmentalism. In the same talk, Ms. Schultz made the anodyne observation that the future of Jewish life in the US is in question as younger (liberal) Jews are less committed to living Jewish lives and raising Jewish families: “We have the problem of assimilation. We have the problem of intermarriage.” After the audio leaked, she was forced to walk back these remarks, lest anyone think she was some kind of racialist.

At an annual Jewish community event in my congressional district, I spoke about my personal connection to Judaism and in a larger context about the loss of Jewish identity and the importance of connecting younger generations to the institutions and values that make up our community. I do not oppose intermarriage; in fact, members of my family, including my husband, are a product of it.

Sally Kohn, too, finds it difficult to be both liberal and Jewish. Like a good progressive, Ms. Kohn ignored the science and chose not to have her daughter vaccinated against childhood diseases.

Having a child, especially as an upper-middle-class white lesbian couple, felt like it came with a million decisions. Do we use sperm from a friend or a sperm bank? Do we have the baby at home or in the hospital? Co-sleeper or crib? Björn or Ergo? Cloth or disposable? On and on and on.

So to be honest, when my mom—a mathematician with a fast Internet connection who I love deeply and trust implicitly—sent us a 46-page report on the pros but mostly cons of vaccines, it just seemed like one less decision to make. “In most cases the risk of harm to a healthy, breast-fed infant from a vaccination far exceeds the risk of harm from the disease itself,” my mom wrote on page 1.

Now she regrets her decision. Of course, she does not blame the Prius driving, composting, organic food-eating culture in which she lives for reinforcing her misinformation. Rather, she says, “It didn’t help that I’m Jewish. We’re a neurotic and paranoid tribe.”

For what it’s worth, I’m a neurotic and paranoid member of that tribe too — which is why I was anxious that my children should not contract potentially debilitating or fatal diseases.

My relations are also among those who are finding it difficult to be both Democrat and Jewish. Eighteen months ago, my father told me he had lost faith in Obama, as a result of the president’s capitulation to the Iranian mullahs. This past summer, he canceled his New York Times subscription in response to the paper’s biased coverage of the Gaza war. Last week, he wrote his Democrat congressman to excoriate him for partisanship — Democrat co-sponsors of the Kirk-Menendez bill (which would impose sanction on Iran should negotiations fail) have been backing away from their own bill, in response to White House pressure. He believes that Democrats worry about emboldening Republicans more than the Iranian regime.

A couple of weeks ago, I got to listen to our local AIPAC regional director. She emphasized the group’s strict nonpartisanship. Any bill the group endorses must be co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans. A questioner asked: How does the incoming Congress compare to the outgoing one? The director said that before the election, AIPAC met with every candidate for US House and Senate. Among the 114 new incoming members and senators, 113 signed onto a pro-Israel policy statement. “This is the most pro-Israel Congress ever,” she said. Funny that. It’s also the most Republican Congress since the State of Israel was established.

In the Old Country, there was a Yiddish saying: Schver tsu zayn a Yid, “It’s hard to be a Jew.” In America, thank God, it’s not so hard. But cognitive dissonance makes it increasingly difficult to be a Jewish Democrat. It will be interesting to see, in the coming years, how that dissonance is resolved.

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  1. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Interesting, SoS!  It has resonances in the Catholic community, too…

    • #1
  2. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Neurotic? Without a doubt.

    Paranoid? Not so sure.

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    One of the things that has been seen over and over with Progressive governments, no matter whether they were called such or even came before the title, they don’t like cultural minorities. You must worship at the Progressive altar first and only. (And even then you may not be safe.)

    • #3
  4. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Son,

    Wonder of wonders miracle of miracles, Debbie Wasserman Schultz smacked her head into reality. I hope it hurt real bad.

    At the synagogue there is at least one guy I can rely on. Harry was in the Pacific in WWII and made Sargent. He hates Obama like nobody else. We have a running joke. He comes up to me and says “did you hear what that Obama said?”..”I’m reducing my donation for this year.”  We always laugh.

    When they quit the democratic party and register Republican call me would you.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
  5. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    When push comes to shove, DWS will have to figure out if being Jewish is more important than being Democrat.

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @DougWatt

    I can only speak for myself. When I was writing my blog one of my headers was I view the world through a Catholic lens. There are some things in politics I cannot separate from my Catholicism. The best example I can give you is the abortion issue. I would not vote for Mr. Guiliani if he was running for president due to his abortion beliefs. Alas, president would remain unmarked on my ballot.

    • #6
  7. user_1065645 Contributor
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    One of the biggest frustrations I have had with family is their blind loyalty to the Democrat party. I am a Jew, was raised conservative and recently bar-mitzvah’d my oldest son at a reform temple.

    The mindset at this synagogue is lock step with the liberal handbook and I have to separate myself from any discussions that arise in my company relating to politics and the economy.

    I met Dennis Prager at a local Chabad High Holiday service several years ago. I asked him “Why do Jews not see the truth about Democrats & their animosity toward Israel?”

    We had a great discussion where he lead me to a Talmudic phrase “Tikkun Olam”: Repair the world, which over time this has evolved to mean social action.

    This, along with a general distrust of the ‘right-wing’ (historically, right-wing politics in certain countries were not so friendly to Jews), have firmly molded the impression that today’s right wing politics is also exclusionary.

    Hopefully Jews will see how Obama has treated Bibi and this will change some minds… but I won’t hold my breath.

    • #7
  8. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Could this be the beginning of a pivot point? In my grandparents generation, probably 80%-90% of Catholics voted for the other side but now it s more like 50-50.

    • #8
  9. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Pleated Pants Forever:Could this be the beginning of a pivot point? In my grandparents generation, probably 80%-90% of Catholics voted for the other side but now it s more like 50-50.

    Maybe, but Jews are far smaller and less diverse lot than Catholics. I think the group herd pressures are higher to maintain their current political inertia. Plus being a liberal gives many of them a great excuse to be self-righteous, without drawing flak from the establishment institutions.

    • #9
  10. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Son,

    Peace, just not unconditionally.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
  11. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    I’m finishing reading Someday You Will Understand, by an American Jew named Nina Wolff Feld. The book takes the reader back (using his abundant cache of letters) to her father’s experiences as an intelligence officer in post-WWII Europe.

    I was struck by many things, but two impressions were very strong. Somewhere in the book the father remarks on the ongoing antisemitism of the typical European. He wrote something like, “Oh, they admit that putting us in gas chambers was evil, but they still deeply resent us (I’m horrible at using my Kindle or I’d find the quote).” The impetus behind Zionism came through very clearly in the words of this Austrian Jew who’d barely escaped as a teenager through Vichy France. It came across very clearly that Europe was, and would remain, hostile to Jews, even with the Nazis executed or imprisoned for war crimes.

    Another impression was the unquestioned loyalty to FDR among the Jewish intelligentsia. This educated Jew, at least, was contemptuous of a bumpkin like Truman.

    I think Jews have been lulled into a false sense of security by the post-war environment of Christian America. Some may be recognizing that the increasingly secular Democratic party in the U.S. is no longer a reliable bulwark against antisemitism. Most don’t yet realize, in my opinion, just how critical the state of Israel is to the survival of Jews in any number.

    Obama and the Democrats are going to have a harder and harder time maintaining the fiction that their continued role in American foreign policy is anything but dangerous to Jews.

    • #11
  12. Douglas Inactive
    Douglas
    @Douglas

    And yet, in 2016, American Jews will vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. They’ll be among the most loyal straight-ticket Democratic voters in the country. Again. It’s a good thing for Israel that Republicans support the Jewish state as a matter of principle, because they’re damn sure not doing it for any kind of domestic political reward from American Jews come election time.

    • #12
  13. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Douglas, the ice is cracking. It may not happen by 2016, but Obama caused a shift in Jewish attitudes last seen in response to Carter. My extremely liberal Mother-in-law now even circulates pro-Israel videos and speech transcriptions from Cruz and Rubio, favorably. A large number of Jews are prepared to reject the Democratic party if only they have a Republican they feel they can vote for. Unfortunately, too many still believe stereotypes of evil, stupid, or crazy Republicans.

    • #13
  14. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @BallDiamondBall

    I read Paul Johnson’s magnificent History of the Jews.  This was a life-changing read.  Michael Oren’s Six Days of War was a stout follow-up.

    • #14
  15. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Most of my family are big libs, and their Reform synagogue changed the service to eliminate references to a male God.  I had to read something at my niece’s Bat Mitzvah, and it almost hurt to read it aloud.  They support Israel, yet they think those Palestinian kids are just like the Israeli kids.  Sigh….

    • #15
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    RushBabe49:They support Israel, yet they think those Palestinian kids are just like the Israeli kids. Sigh….

    Well, they are the same, except for everything they are taught from birth.

    • #16
  17. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Son of Spengler:”Douglas, the ice is cracking. It may not happen by 2016, but Obama caused a shift in Jewish attitudes last seen in response to Carter. My extremely liberal Mother-in-law now even circulates pro-Israel videos and speech transcriptions from Cruz and Rubio, favorably. A large number of Jews are prepared to reject the Democratic party if only they have a Republican they feel they can vote for. Unfortunately, too many still believe stereotypes of evil, stupid, or crazy Republicans.”

    My impression is that perhaps five percent of the vote is Jewish, so however they vote it is a minority position.  There are Jewish enclaves such as New York and Florida which might offer a slightly higher Jewish vote and there are certainly places where the Jewish vote is non-existent.

    I don’t know about Jewish giving to political campaigns and suspect that it may be greater than five percent, but even then there are upper limits, especially given what one may donate to a particular campaign.

    Given the social liberalism of Jews at large, finding that Republican candidate might be a real problem.  Huckabee or Santorum is not going to be their cup of tea.

    • #17
  18. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    David Sussman: We had a great discussion where he lead me to a Talmudic phrase “Tikkun Olam”: Repair the world, which over time this has evolved to mean social action.

    Someone should point out that what we want is to repair the damage that “social action” has wrought on the world.

    • #18
  19. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    I think someone should promote a mandatory seminar for all members of both the Jewish and Roman Catholic clergy. The lessons would amount to repeated instruction regarding what I will modestly call “The T-Fiks Constant:”

    Any support by religious leaders for “social action” or “social justice” which increases government authority as a means to moral progress results in an equal and opposite weakening of their spiritual institutions.

    • #19
  20. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    Funny how DWS’s Jewish conscience waxes and wanes in directly opposite proportion to how in-the-bag Jewish voters are for the Democratic Party.

    T-Fiks, your lesson is so well-put.  Can we get that trending on Pontifex’s twitter feed?

    • #20
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