When I was growing up, my best friend had the most wonderful grandparents. They were an incredibly flamboyant Polish couple who escaped the Holocaust because the woman was so charming she was able to talk the Nazis into letting them leave (with the help of some diamonds as bribes). He was pretty charming too, not to mention a dynamo. He made fortunes for the thrill of it. He’d start with nothing in one industry or another, turn it into a million dollar concern in a few years, and then sell it off so he could have the fun of starting all over again.
Still, no matter how wonderful people are, age is going to creep up on them. These two got older and deafer and a little more confused with every passing year. Their digestive systems, too, started wearing out. The doctor recommended that they increase the fiber in their diet. He further recommended that, to do so, they start eating more vegetables. I’ll never forget the grandmother’s response to this suggestion, delivered in her rich Polish accent: “Ve’re Jews, Dahlink. Ve don’t eat vegetables!” It was incredibly funny, but it was also foolish. There is, in fact, no predetermined correlation between being Jewish and eating (or not eating) vegetables.
I often think of that lovely old lady when I hear Jews says, essentially, “We’re Jews. We don’t vote Republican.” As with her statement about vegetables, there is no predetermined correlation between Jews and being conservatism. There’s nothing in the Bible that states “Thou shalt not vote for a Republican.” Nor has any rabbinical Biblical interpretation ever envisioned that God mandates Jewish allegiance to the Democrats. This is nothing more than a 60 year political preference that got locked in with Roosevelt.
Things may finally be changing, though, and, funnily enough, someone viewed as something of a Messiah is bringing about this religious transformation. Thoughtful Jews are becoming dismayed by Obama’s predelection for Iran, and the nasty habit he has of choosing advisers who run the gauntlet from being reflexively anti-Israel to being almost overtly antisemitic.
Richard Baehr, that insightful observer of the political scene, has this to say about a possible sea change in Jewish voter identification:
Jews who care about Israel have many reasons to have concerns about Barack Obama, pretty much all of which have been laid out in the American Thinker in a series of exhaustively researched articles by Ed Lasky.every national survey that has been taken comparing the parties on this issue. Of course, some Jews do not care about Israel very much, and those Jews can find a comfortable home in the Democratic Party, where support for Israel is far lower than among Republicans overall in
In any case, with Obama a risk on Israel and untested in matters of national security and foreign policy, and with the Republicans offering John McCain, a long time strong supporter of the US-Israel relationship and a man, whose entire career provides a definition of the words “tested” and “experienced”, it is no wonder that those Jews who choose this year to finally vote Republican will have a lot more company than they might have in the past.
You can read the rest of his excellent analysis here (complete with some pretty fascinating poll numbers).