Ballot Box
source: Thor_Deichmann(Pixabay)

Table of Contents:

The Isolated American Jews:  Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom, Nov. 3, 2020

How and Why the Jewish American Voter Might Be Changing: Mya Jaradat, Deseret News, Aug. 30, 2020

Jews Betraying Jews: Kenneth Levin, JNS, Oct. 12, 2020
American Orthodoxy’s Twilight of Authority:  Sholom Zucker, Mosaic, Nov. 20, 2020
The Isolated American Jews
Caroline B. Glick
Israel Hayom, Nov. 3, 2020Without knowing the results of the US presidential elections, certain conclusions can already be drawn safely. For instance, we can say with certainty that between 70 and 80% of American Jews voted for the Democrat, former Vice President Joe Biden.On the face of things, American Jews could have been expected to vote in the same proportion, in the exact opposite direction. After all, from Britain to France to Australia, in recent decades, Jewish communities in advanced industrial democracies have moved from Left to Right.Their move came in response to the transformation of their traditional political homes into hostile ground. Since the early 20th century, parties on the political Left were traditionally more sympathetically inclined to Jews than parties on the right. But since the outset of the 21st century, that historic trend has been largely reversed. Parties on the Left have become increasingly hostile to Jews and parties on the Right have been making sustained efforts to win over the support of the Jewish communities. From Toulouse to Leeds to Berlin to Melbourne, Jews have been reading the same political map and turning to the Right.In America, the political situation is comparable to that of other Western democracies. From one election cycle to the next, the power of progressive forces hostile to Israel and to Jewish Americans has grown in the Democratic Party. In contrast, the Republican Party has become the most pro-Israel and pro-Jewish party outside of Israel the world has ever seen. And yet, in stark contrast to their brethren in England and Belgium, American Jews have steadfastly maintained their allegiance to the Democrats and the political Left.
Over the past four years, the contrast in political behavior between American Jews and Jews from other Western democracies has become ever more remarkable. On the one hand, Donald Trump is the most pro-Israel and pro-Jewish president in US history. Trump has stood with Israel almost unconditionally. He has fought anti-Semitism in the US more effectively than any other president and he has done so throughout his presidency.For their part, the Democrats have taken giant strides towards becoming the US version of the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party. It isn’t simply that rising stars of the Democrat Party like congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ilhan Omar boycott Israel. They do so with the full backing of the party’s leadership. Biden’s running mate Senator Kamala Harris sided with Omar against American Jews who called for the party to censure Omar after one of her more egregious anti-Semitic outbursts last year.
Harris has strong ties to the National Iranian-American Council – the Iranian regime’s lobby in Washington. Campaign financing filings from the Biden campaign on the eve of the election show that NIAC is one of its largest campaign donation bundlers. Harris enthusiastically supported the nuclear deal with Iran and boycotted last year’s AIPAC conference. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
______________________________________________________How and Why the Jewish American Voter Might Be Changing
Mya Jaradat
Deseret News, Aug. 30, 2020Before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s prerecorded remarks from Jerusalem aired Tuesday night during the Republican National Convention, the speech was already mired in controversy. Earlier in the day, Democrats opened an inquiry into the unprecedented event that served as a powerful visual reminder of President’s Donald Trump’s controversial decision to relocate the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a city revered as holy by Jews, Muslims and Christians.

During his speech, Pompeo listed the move as one of the administration’s foreign policy wins, remarking that Trump brought the embassy to “this very city of God, Jerusalem, the rightful capital of the Jewish homeland.” Pompeo also pointed to the Trump-brokered “Abraham Accord,” calling the plan to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE a “peace deal.”

While outside observers might assume that such steps would shore up Jewish American support for Trump, Jewish Americans themselves have a much more complicated relationship with both the 45th president and the Republican party. Making up only 2% of the population, Jewish Americans constitute a small slice of the voting pie — but in a hotly contested state, that sliver can make a difference.

While many Jewish Americans are pro-Israel, most rank the Middle Eastern country low on their list of political priorities, casting their ballots instead on the basis of domestic issues, experts say. And those votes are, by and large, cast for the Democrats.

In 2016, 70% cast their votes for Hillary Clinton. And academics — remarking that Democratic Party affiliation is a deep component of Jewish American identity and pointing to a strong dislike of Trump — don’t expect this election to be any different.

At the same time, approximately one-third of Jewish Americans are Republicans. It’s a significant minority and the Republican Jewish Coalition claims that Jewish support for the GOP is only growing. Is it a paradigm shift? Some young conservatives think so.

Republicans first

While most Jewish Americans today are Democrats, the country’s first Jews were Republicans.

“From the 1860s to 1912 was an overwhelming pro-Republican vote,” says Steven Windmueller, a professor of contemporary Jewish studies and history at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute for Religion in Los Angeles. In the late 1800s, most American Jews, he explains, were of “German Jewish descent” and they “really admired Lincoln.”

Though the name was the same, it was a very different Republican Party then; at that time, the Democrats’ ranks were filled with Southern conservatives intent on preserving segregation. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

Jews Betraying Jews
Kenneth Levin

JNS, Oct. 12, 2020

The Jewish Democratic Council of America recently released a television ad comparing Trump and his administration to the Nazi regime. The ad was criticized by some Jewish organizations, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee, with critics repeating the long-held Jewish insistence that facile comparisons to Nazi Germany demean the suffering of victims of the Holocaust and trivialize the unprecedented nature of the industrialized mass murder that claimed their lives. Yet others, who should know better, such as historian Deborah Lipstadt, and former Anti-Defamation League head and Holocaust survivor Abe Foxman, defended the advertisement.

Lipstadt suggested that it was fine because it was comparing the present administration not to the Nazi regime’s extermination campaign, but to its anti-Semitic policies and practices early in its ascension to power.

The most troubling aspect of the ad, to any fair-minded observer, has nothing to do with which particular Nazi policies it invoked, but with the lie at the heart of its analogy and the dangers of that lie. The producers of the ad seek to cast it as an effort to protect American Jews in the face of troubling developments in U.S. society. But the ad fails to address the particulars of such developments and seeks to divert attention away from their primary source. It’s not designed to protect Jews from increasing abuse, but rather to protect the Democratic Party from criticism for its role in fostering that abuse.

Anti-Semitism in America comes from four main sources: white supremacism, black supremacism, Islamism and elements of leftist progressivism. In recent years, the first has claimed the most Jewish lives, in Pittsburgh and in Poway. But Jews have been killed for being Jews in New Jersey and New York, and many more have been injured by assailants driven by one or more of the latter three ideologies. Moreover, by most measures, white supremacism has the least following in America of the four. Certainly, it has penetrated less into the mainstream than the other three. Those three, and their anti-Semitism, have extensive support on the nation’s college and university campuses; have their Jew-hatred either ignored or downplayed in the mainstream media and in social media, such as Google, Twitter and Facebook; and have even penetrated into the halls of Congress. And in every venue, their normalization of Jew-hatred has been abetted by the Democratic Party.

In response to anti-Jewish tropes and memes from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the party could not bring itself to pass a straightforward condemnation of her anti-Semitism, but instead acceded to Democrat caucus pressure and issued a bland generic critique of all bigotries. Omar and fellow Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), likewise given to anti-Jewish rhetoric, refused to join a party-sponsored trip to Israel in the summer of 2019 for new members of Congress, but instead insisted on having their travels sponsored by a Palestinian organization, Miftah, notorious for its Holocaust denial, its accusations that Jews use the blood of Christians to prepare Passover matzah and its promotion of anti-Jewish terror. The party leadership’s response was not to criticize the two, but instead to attack Israel for preventing their entry. In this year’s Democratic primaries, despite the presence in their respective races of party candidates less hostile to Jews, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed both Omar and Tlaib for re-election. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

American Orthodoxy’s Twilight of Authority
Sholom Zucker
Mosaic, Nov. 20, 2020

The events this autumn in Brooklyn’s ḥaredi (Orthodox) communities have been quite extraordinary, even revelatory. Contrary to popular hope, herd immunity to the coronavirus has not been achieved; the city government’s response to the new second wave has been heavy-handed and possibly discriminatory; and in turn its legitimate attempts to enforce closures, social distancing, and mask wearing have been spurned rather than obeyed, thanks in part to the emergence of the since-arrested agitator Heshy Tischler as an outspoken voice for what he hopes constitutes the silent majority of the ḥaredi world. That this convict-turned-politician-turned-radio-host-turned-riot-inciter has found significant—though by no means total or even majority—support for his combative message reflects important and overlooked changes in the ḥaredi community in recent years, most notably the appearance of a serious crisis of authority in its ranks. This is most revelatory of all. As America at large is dealing with the hollowing out of institutions and the rise of politicians with inflammatory social-media presence, the ḥaredi world is too, even if the institutions are rabbinic and the social-media platform is more likely to be WhatsApp than Twitter.

Ḥaredi attitudes toward leadership have long differed from those of their surrounding communities, Jewish or gentile. Much of the community subscribes to a theology of Daas Torah (“knowledge of Torah”), whereby leading rabbis—those with the greatest degree of Torah knowledge and therefore the greatest degree of insight into the divine mind—are empowered to make all major communal decisions. We see this approach very much in effect today in Israel, where the two senior rabbinic authorities—Rabbi Gershon Edelstein and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky—are engaged in political negotiations through the ḥaredi parties, in determining when to reopen yeshivas, and simultaneously in messaging to their communities on how to proceed. The two rabbis having often been at odds with each other in recent months notwithstanding, the fact remains that the prevailing ideology of Daas Torah dictates that these rabbis (and their courts and handlers) make policy on nearly every issue for their ḥaredi followers. In America, a similar rabbinic seat of authority rests with the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, the council of great rabbinic sages, which is affiliated with the Agudath Israel of America. (The organization lost its leader, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, “the Novominsker rebbe,” to COVID-19 in April, added several members in September, in a move towards relative youth, and lost Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, one of its elder statesmen, just two weeks ago.)

For as long as there have been rabbis, those possessing expertise in Torah knowledge have been consulted on issues large and small in their areas of training—Talmud and halakhah (Jewish law). Daas Torah goes well beyond that, into a presumption that their training in Torah qualifies leading rabbis as experts to be consulted on all worldly issues. There is some controversy as to when exactly the approach took hold. Lawrence Kaplan and Jacob Katz, two historians of Jewish law, have argued that this is an innovation of the modern period, possibly stemming from the 18th-century revolution of Ḥasidism. Others, like the rabbi Alfred Cohen, have argued for roots in the pre-modern period. … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]


The 2020 Presidential Election: How Jewish-Americans Voted:  Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Nov. 16, 2020 — The latest in a series of studies on the Jewish-American community explores voting behavior in the 2020 Presidential election. We discuss the trends as well as some of the limitations of the present study.

How Deep is Trump Support Among US Orthodox Jews? New Poll Says it’s Complicated:   Laura E. Adkins and Ben Sales, Times of Israel, Nov. 5, 2020 — Last year, one of the largest Orthodox synagogue associations in the United States held a gala dinner replete with bright red baseball caps emblazoned with the words “Build Israel Great Again” in white block letters.

Why Most American Jews Vote For Democrats, Explained John Sides, The Washington Post, Mar. 24, 2015 — In a recent interview, Rep. Steve King of Iowa said: I don’t understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their president. Steve King has questions.  We have answers.

Can Liberals Confront Anti-Semitism?:  Ruth Wisse, Tikvah, Podcast, Mar. 31, 2020 —  Scroll down.  For centuries, Jews have put their faith in liberal ideas of progress, toleration, and secular democracy. But what if this liberal faith has failed?

This week’s Communiqué Isranet is Communiqué: Pourquoi les pays arabes tournent-ils le dos aux Palestiniens?

CIJR wishes our friends and supporters Shabbat Shalom!