Poll Finds Obama Remains Overwhelming Favorite Among Jews
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  • Ed Nolty

    This is rather disingenuous. Those blamed are the specific strongly pro-Israel-at-any-cost advisers who pushed the neo-con line, not “jews” in general.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Ed Nolty: But why was it so significant that they were Jews? Why should it have mattered what their ethnic background was? And in fact many, many people assumed that the neocons represented “the Jews” in America and/or Israel. They didn’t. Most Jews in both Israel and the US disagreed pretty fundamentally with the neocons, but their policy agenda was conflated over and over again with some kind of Jewish agenda — not by everyone or all the time, but often enough to raise serious concerns.

  • Andrew Allison

    “Anti-Semites, however, need nothing as vulgar as evidence for their beliefs. They “know” that Jews are clannish, clever, obscenely rich, united, relentless, powerful, and inflexibly committed to hard line policies on Israel.”
    Well yes, but the same can be said of many conservatives, liberals and, among others, believers in one God or another or AGW. The contortions of the latter as the measured data inconveniently fails to adhere to their models is something to behold.
    While anti-Semitism is obnoxious, isn’t the real issue that we are all, to some degree, inclined to come to conclusions not based on fact and then ignore facts that challenge them?

  • Pincher Martin

    A more important political concern than Jewish views on Israel should be Jewish views on the Blue State Model that Professor Mead has so frequently and eloquently spoken out against.

    U.S. Jews – a small, but highly successful and influential portion of the population – overwhelmingly support a political and social model that Mead claims has obviously failed. There are twelve Jewish Senators currently working in that august body — not one of them is a Republican. The closest is Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate who now works in the Senate as an independent, not because of his ideas on domestic policy, but rather because of his foreign policy views. There are 24 Jewish Representatives in the House. Only one (Eric Cantor) is a Republican. The days of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, let alone Norman Podhoretz, seem long gone.

    Does Mead ask why is it that this highly educated and influential subgroup of Americans doesn’t seem to buy his argument that Blue State Model is finished? Does he ask why they overwhelmingly – to a degree not seen by any other ethnicity other than blacks – support what he believes is a failed model? No, of course not. That would be a very difficult question to answer.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Pincher Martin: why difficult? There seem to be a good many historical and cultural reasons for this, none of which reflect particularly poorly on Jews.

  • Jim.

    This reminds me of an old joke…

    Moe and Leo were old friends, going back to their childhood in Hebrew school. They would meet up every Friday for lunch to talk, or just companionably sit, reading the newspaper. So Moe was very, very worried when he noticed Leo start to read “Der Stuermer”. After a few weeks of watching his friend happily read the neo-Nazi publication, finally he burst out, “Leo, how can you read that garbage??”

    “Well, Moe,” Leo replied, “in JPost they just talk about how Israel is doomed if Iran gets the bomb, or how much the Arabs hate us. In this paper, I read about how Jews are impossibly clever, richer than Croesus, and control everything in the world.

    “What can I say? I prefer good news.”

  • Pincher Martin

    “why difficult? There seem to be a good many historical and cultural reasons for this, none of which reflect particularly poorly on Jews.”

    It doesn’t reflect poorly on Jews. But it does contradict your presumption that it’s obvious the Blue State Model has failed and that our politics will soon reflect that fact.

    If you truly believe Nate Silver is right about “the dangers of trying to assign different voting patterns to different demographics”, then you have boxed yourself into an intellectual corner. Either ethnic groups vote very differently for reasons that have little to do with the efficacy of the state model they desire or the presumption should be that Jews would be among the first to recognize the failure of Blue State Model they have heretofore accepted and that their future voting patterns would reflect that feedback.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    You have deservedly targeted your obloquy for the Blue State Model on California and New York. Obama has called my state, California, a model for the nation. A lot of Jews live in both states. Do you see any evidence those Jews are ready, either locally or nationally, to abandon their preferred vision for the expanded role of the state? I see none. And when you claim that the same overwhelming percentage of Jews will most likely vote for Obama again in 2012, what does that tell you about the sheer inertia of group voting patterns?

    When you accept the validity of this point, you’ll see why so many conservatives — who are not goose-stepping racist morons — are genuinely worried about immigration.

  • Kenny

    1. Question: Can one be an anti-Zionist without being either anti-Jewish or an anti-Semite? From my limited observations, many Jews seem to be anti-Zionist, and that includes a number in Israel.

    2. Surely one of the cultural and historical reasons why the Jews are heavily Democratic is because they perceive the GOP as a Christian party and having rejected the Savior 2,000 years ago, they find this appalling. This is what Mead knows but won’t say.

  • WigWag

    Tell it to the antisemitic Andrew Sullivan who you praise a few posts above this one for his commentary on Montaigne. Sullivan is as obsessed about Jewish power and the “Jewish lobby” as his intellectual kinsmen Walt and Mearsheimer are. He frets constantly that Jews are manipulating American foreign policy. He has turned himself into a fellow traveler of bigots like Gilad Atzmon. Sullivan and his ilk are doing everything they can to propagate the type of vitriol against Jews that you are criticizing in this post. It is very hard to understand why you would be “thanking” Andrew Sullivan for anything. He is the perfect metaphor for everything you are excoriating in this essay.

  • Mark Michael

    Re: Comments #5 & #6. “why difficult? There seem to be a good many historical and cultural reasons for this, none of which reflect particularly poorly on Jews.”

    “none”? None at all? What about my ancient dictionary definition of a liberal – I paraphrase (not going downstairs to fetch it – best of my recollection):

    “The highest priority of a liberal is individual freedom; that, perforce, means turning to government only as a last resort. The liberal is tolerant towards others and maintains a live-and-let-live attitude if at all possible. He/she is generous to the poor and downtrodden. He/she strives to treat all people as equals.”

    The key attribute is not to use force: don’t coerce people into following your ideas, joining your organizations, even if you think they’re in their best interests. Let people be free to choice as they wish, even if their path isn’t optimal.

    IMO, the “blue” state model is almost the diametric opposite of these (somewhat) idealistic attributes of a real liberal person.

    I liked the metaphor that John Roberts used in his Senate Judiciary hearings for Chief Justice. He described his view of his job on SCOTUS as that of a referee in a basketball game. He runs up and down the sideline intently watching the players playing the game. Whenever they violate the rules, commit a foul, he quickly blows the whistle, stops the game, calls the foul, a free throw is shot or the other side gets the ball, and the game resumes.

    Only “real actors” play the game of life. I’d extend the metaphor to include the Congress and the executive branch. The Congress’ job is to write the rules that govern the game of life. It has the U.S. Constitution as an overarching body to define what the “enumerated powers” of the federal government are what guidelines exist for the exercise of those enumerated powers. Congress is elected by the citizenry and should represent their interests -within the context of the U.S. Constitution – don’t trample on the rights laid out in the Bill of Rights and following, etc.

    The executive branch swears an oath (as do each congressman/woman) to behold the U.S. Constitution and its dutifully passed laws to the best of his/her ability. The President’s job is to dutifully enforce those laws as efficiently, accurately, correctly as he/she can.

    The federal government as originally conceived and followed for, oh, 140 years, faithfully followed this model, pretty much. The few “enumerated powers” – the Post Office, foreign affairs – foreign treaties, defending the country against foreign enemies (State, DOD) – made the federal government similar to Roberts’ idea of a basketball referee running up and down the sidelines and monitoring the behavior of the “real actors” in life: private sector organizations, individuals, and NOT an “active player” in the day-to-day activities of the country.

    Now, this (legally) applied to the federal government and not to the states and local governments. They were free to write their own state constitutions, local city charters, as they wished (conforming with the rights laid in the U.S. Constitution – esp. after the Civil War with the incorporation of many of those rights down to the state and local levels). But the goal of keeping the government out of the day-to-day activities of society is a noble and a very practical one IMO. It is also in keeping with the proper definition of a liberal person.

    This is getting too long, but I’ll end with a few more thoughts. When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the U.S. (1830 – 1835) and then wrote his seminal “Democracy in America” (1840?) he marveled at how little formal government we had. We formed more voluntary organizations, associations, charities, educational institutions, than he could believe. We were these inveterate joiners. We’d create an association to solve some problem, solve it, and then dissolve the organization – get on with our business.

    (Liberals often seem to think, “If the government doesn’t do it, no one will.” They can’t imagine people getting together and voluntarily solving serious problems. Or, they can’t imagine voluntary organizations tackling really big, important problems. Unfortunately, once government invades an arena of society, it displaces private, voluntary organizations, and people lose the skills and experience of those private organizations. If government retreats, leaving it to the voluntary efforts, it takes awhile for those skills to get revived.

    A last thought: Europeans came to America, yes, for religious freedom, but most came for economic reasons. Americans were richer than Europeans almost from the get-go! Once we’d cleared the frontier, got crops planted, got established, the average American was substantially richer than his European peer. He didn’t have to support a third of the population as “freeloaders” on the “peasants” and middle classes like those Europeans: their aristocracy!

    Consider monopolies and their role in American life since the 19th Century “trust busting” got started. “Progressives” perceived great (potential) evil in private sector business monopolies such as Standard Oil, U.S. Steel, the railroads, and pushed through antitrust laws to give the feds power to break them up.

    But at the same time, they so little problem with great government monopolies that evolved from their much more involved, activist government. Witness our struggles with K-12 public school government bureaucracies today. Think about the Post Office and the half dozen federal domestic bureaucracies: HUD, Ag, Education, Energy, HHS – and ask yourself: “Is their behavior really that much different from private sector monopoly behavior?” (IMO, it’s actually much worse, truth be told! I get much better service from my electric utility than from any government monopoly.) I’ll end with that thought!

  • WigWag

    “Mere facts like steadfast Jewish support for President Obama in his fights with Prime Minister Netanyahu have no impact on knowledge this deep, this intuitive. Mere observations about the hostility of the US mainstream media to Netanyahu and more broadly to Israeli settlements won’t shake the conviction among so many that a) “the Jews” run the media and b) that those powerful, media ruling Jews are hardline Likudniks.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Apparently the type of bigoted thinking Professor Mead describes in this post has found a welcome home in Germany. The German Nobel Prize winner Gunter Grass, Germany’s most renown living author has just published an antisemitic screed disguised as a poem in the German magazine Suddeutsche Zeitung.

    In his poem Grass accuses Israel of threatening Iran and claims that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace since the Nazis. He claims that all along Israel has been planning a nuclear strike against Iran designed to “extinguish” the Iranian people.

    Grass has an interesting pedigree. For the past half century he’s been a prominent leftist social activist. A couple of decades ago Grass was forced to acknowledge that he had been a member of the Waffen SS and presumably a member of the Nazi Party. For years Grass had covered up his role as a Nazi.

    What is particularly disturbing is not that Grass has returned near the end of his life (he’s 84) to the views he had when he was young; the frightening thing is how emblematic Grass’s views have become of the increasing dislike of Jews by the American and European left. Obsessed as it has become by multiculturalism and political correctness, leftists like Grass are far more upset about the prospect of Jews building homes in their ancient capital of Jerusalem than they are of the pervasive Muslim practice of female genital mutilation or capital punishment for the crime of sodomy. Grass and his ilk are far more perturbed by Israelis defending themselves from incoming rocket fire from Gaza than by Muslim women being stoned to death for adultery.

    Unfortunately we have far too many fellow travelers of Gunter Grass among the pundit class in the United States. Some are Jews like Tom Friedman, MJ Rosenberg and Peter Beinart; some are not.

    Professor Mead points out that most American Jews are progressive and support Obama. Let’s hope that they never find out the hard way in what contempt the left really holds them.

    Until brave well-respected commentators begin calling their fellow pundits like Andrew Sullivan what they really are, Jew hatred by leftist (and faux-conservative) bloviators is only likely to grow in the mainstream media. If you don’t believe this is all that pernicious, just look at the commentary about Jews in the mainstream German press in the early 1930s.

  • Kenny

    “Until brave well-respected commentators begin calling their fellow pundits like Andrew Sullivan what they really are,..”

    What are you getting at, that your so-called ‘well respected pundits’ should say that Andrew Sullivan is a homosexual?

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