January 21, 2003

THERE'S A NEW JEW: According

THERE'S A NEW JEW: According to a front-page story in The Forward this week, a survey of Jewish Americans indicates that the demographic is moving to the right politically, a shift that has been predicted by the neoconservative movement for decades but is only now actually coming to fruition. This is especially true, says The Forward, of younger Jews.
While the Forward piece speculates that President Bush and other Republican candidates will be helped significantly by this change in next year's elections, the shift that I've noticed isn't based on electoral politics alone.
Just like everything else, the political attitudes of Jews were profoundly affected by the events of September 11. America, as we all know, was attacked on that day by a foreign enemy which professes hatred for Jewish people, a desire to destroy the state of Israel, and a belief that the US is acting at all times in subservience to the "Zionist Entity." And then, America fought back diligently against the aforementioned menace, at the same time never wavering in its support of Israel, despite the risks involved.
This did an historic thing that has gone underreported since: it removed any remaining doubt that the US and Israel (and by extension, the American Jews) stand side by side- and further, it showed that the centuries-old status of the Jew as outsider in Western society is as close as ever to coming to an end. As a result, events caused a level of patriotism among American Jews unseen at any time in history, as it's hard to deny that Jewish Americans have a "special relationship" to the War on Terror.
This is not to say, of course, that every one of those American Jews has abandoned a lifetime of loyality to the Democrats for the GOP just because these events took place under a Republican president. I myself fall into a group, along with many of my friends, of young Jews who remain generally liberal on most social issues, and loyal to the Democrats, yet quite hawkish in regards to the terrorist threat, unwavering in support of Israel, and very much opposed to the reflexive anti-Americanism and other lunacies of the far left. We're people who grew up surrounded by "progressive" leftism but never quite bought into it, yet don't feel comfortable joining up with the Republicans either.
I think this common sense approach may very well be the true future of Jewish political activism, rather than the discredited ideologies and strategies of the past. Because the terrorists hate a lot of the things we love: freedom, democracy, America, Israel, and Judaism.
This group is, of course, well-represented in the Blogosphere, from this blog to Guanubian to Mike Silverman to Isaac Slepner. Call us the Kosher Scoop Jacksons, or the Jewish auxilery to Andrew Sullivan's "Eagles."

Posted by Stephen Silver at January 21, 2003 11:08 PM
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