Disclaimer Number Two: This post favors conservative thinking. If you are a Left-Wing Nut Job (definition: someone who calls conservatives Right-Wing Nut Jobs) please leave now. You won't like what you see.
This is a post I've been wanting to write for quite a while, now. I'm getting around to it thanks to a relayed message from fellow blogger 23 Skiddoo, who tells me that one of her friends just cannot understand how a Jew can be conservative. Personally, I cannot understand how a Jew can be a liberal/leftist, so I decided to learn more.
An article by Rick Richman appeared rather fortuitously on AmericanThinker.com, which helped me congeal my thoughts on this matter. Titled "Jews, Jewish Leftists, and the Anti-Semitic Left," it outlines several talks given at a recent seminar, "Jews and the Left" sponsored by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Read the summary, but the bottom line is this: the Left is becoming more and more Anti-Semitic, or at least revealing itself to be so, and Jews that still adhere to the Leftist philosophy do so at odds with their heritage. This is the part I have tremendous difficulty understanding. Why would someone support an ideology that just barely hides its desire for his destruction? For many self-loathing Jews (and they do exist, quite a few in Israel as a matter of fact) that may be what they want. There seems to be some lemming-like drive among quite a few Jews to finish what Pharaoh, Haman, Hitler, and Stalin, among many, many others, tried to accomplish. (Joke's on them...we're still here!) Some think the self-destructive psychosis relates to the Stockholm Syndrome, with kowtowing to those who are perceived to hold one's lives in their hands. Perhaps it's just simple embarrassment at being different...diversity is for those who LOOK different, but not for us (mostly lilly-white) Jews, yes? For some, it's simple personal economics...there are too many disadvantages, financial and social, to being a Jew, but conversions and name changes only change the superficial, and when you run away, you take your baggage with you. The genetics are true. Just ask the Nazi's about that.
As it turns out, I am a minority within a minority within a minority: I am a (mostly) politically-conservative, Republican-voting, Reform Jew. There ain't many of us. In general, the more Orthodox a Jewish fellow is, the more politically conservative he will be. Why is this? From Front Page Magazine:
Put simply, the more Jewish is the person, the more they reject the policies of the Democrat Party. This should not be the least bit surprising as Modern Liberalism – the dominant ideology of today’s Democrat Party – is the very antithesis of Judaism.I'm sure there will be howls of indignation from my more Left-leaning readers on that one. You'll never admit that the above is true. But it is, and deep down, you know it. It just isn't politically correct to say so in front of your other Leftist "friends".
The great gift of the Jews was a concept virtually unknown to humanity prior to the advent of Judaism – justice. Prior to the advent of Judaism, reward and punishment were typically predicated on the whim and the will of the powerful. Step on the Pharaoh’s toe and it might cost you your life. The oft-misunderstood (one presumes often intentionally) “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” far from being a call for vengeance was, in reality, exactly its opposite, it was – for one of the first times in human history – an insistence that the punishment must not exceed the crime and that, not matter who the person “wronged” or the wrong-doer might be, the consequences must be meted out fairly. But the Modern Liberal rejects the concept of justice (in fact he rejects the concept of right and wrong, good and evil, better and worse, truth and lies and all other such ideas central to the pursuit of the just.) So self-evident is the Modern Liberal’s antipathy for justice that he himself admits that his quest isn’t for justice but rather some modified version of it which is why he inserts the modifier “social” prior to the word “justice” in explaining his agenda.
The Modern Liberal’s definition of “Social Justice” is that the evil and failed should be rewarded and the good and successful must be punished. After all, if all men are created equal, then something must have happened to the rapist to turn him from good into evil and therefore he is the victim (in fact, the great Thomas Sowell argues that, to those with this “vision” the criminal istwice victimized, “first by the special circumstances that provoked his crime and then by those wholust to see him punished.”) Similarly, those who are good and decent and hard-working should enjoy no special rewards for their efforts because clearly they had the advantage of good parents and a good upbringing and thus they had an unfair advantage. Justice demands that the good and hard-working be rewarded and the evil and the lazy be punished (if only by the withholding of the rewards of doing the right things.) Modern Liberalism demands that the good and hardworking be punished as the recipients of an unfair advantage and that the evil and the lazy be rewarded, their acts of evil and their failure all the proof the Modern Liberal needs that somehow they have been victimized by forces out of their control.
Obviously, these two beliefs are diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive. Just as obviously, those who more fully embrace Judaism’s quest for justice are more assuredly supportive of the Republican Party and the conservative movement while those who are least Jewish (even if they call themselves Jews) are more likely to fall into the camp of the Democrats and support the non-Jewish concept of “Social Justice” where good and right is punished and evil, failure and wrong championed.
As an aside, there are Liberal/Leftist Jews who are convinced (or have tried to convince themselves) that the Liberal Agenda parallels Jewish Law. If that were the case, the allegiances would be just the opposite, with the Orthodox being the more Liberal among us. No, what we see is the adoption of a New Law by Leftist Jews, more accurately a new religion which worships the State, "diversity" and looting of the producers, and ultimately feeling over logic, and really even death itself (to quote Ayn Rand), instead of the Almighty. (The diversity thing is really sad in many ways...they trumpet how wonderful "diversity" is, and squawk if a Jew dates other Jews exclusively. But most who intermarry don't raise their children as Jews, and thus homogenize into the rest of the population, which destroys diversity.)
23 Skiddo, answering in my defense said simply, "Dalai is a very strong supporter of Israel," which apparently satisfied her questioner. You see, the Left, and particularly Leftist Jews, have a very strong love-hate relationship with Israel. For them, it simultaneously embodies the best and the worst. They "love" Israel, but cannot come to terms with Israel's (99.99999% fictional) persecution of the poor, downtrodden "Palestinians." The Left MUST have a victim to "protect" and in general, brown trumps white, and Islam trumps Judaism or Christianity. (I pity the mental gyrations my Leftist friends must go through when they consider Darfur, where Muslims kill Africans.) Leftist Jews have to hate Israel "The Aggressor" while professing to still love its people. But Leftist Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism by another name, and the philosophies do coincide. From Tabletmag.com:
Mitchell Cohen, who as co-editor of Dissent has bravely held out against this trend, began the first day of the conference with a presentation on “Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on the Left,” in which he toured a horizon all too familiar to most of the attendees. “Does the left have a Zionist problem? Yes,” Cohen declared, going on to quote anti-Zionist and quasi-anti-Semitic statements by luminaries such as the American Jewish literary theorist Judith Butler, who has spoken indulgently about Hamas and Hezbollah, and the leading French philosopher Alain Badiou, who as Cohen put it is “obsessed with Jews and Israel.”
Cohen deftly united the two themes of the conference by arguing that the part of the left that is currently anti-Zionist is the same part that “hasn’t learned from the twentieth century”: that is, the left that still indulges in nostalgic reveries about Communism and revolution. On this view, the struggle over left attitudes to Israel carries on an ancient struggle for the soul of the left, which has always vacillated between hostility to Jews, as symbols of the capitalist order, and defense of Jews, as victims of reactionary anti-Semitism. In his speech, the British Marx scholar Norman Geras traced this dualism back to Karl Marx—specifically to Marx’s notorious essay “On the Jewish Question,” which is full of the most vile anti-Semitism, calling Judaism a religion of money and bargaining, and calling for the emancipation of mankind from Judaism. Yet in the same essay, Marx also called for national liberation and self-determination, a call that historically attracted many Jews to the banner of the left.
The problem for the left today is that it has gone over largely—but not, Geras and others insisted, wholly—to the negative view of Judaism as an obstacle to human progress. Israel, Geras held, “has been an alibi for a new climate of anti-Semitism on the left,” a development whose full venomousness can only be seen in Europe. (“I don’t think people here realize,” he said mournfully, “what it’s like to be a Jewish leftist in Britain today,” comparing it to living in a sea of poison.) This is the atmosphere that the Anglo-Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson evoked so powerfully in his recent novel The Finkler Question: one in which hostility to Israel is a reflex and insinuations about Jewish power and the “Jewish lobby” go unchallenged.
If the left in Europe and, increasingly, the United States is so hospitable to anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic ideas, what does that mean for the future of “Jews and the Left”? Michael Walzer explained the historical Jewish affinity for the left as a straightforward matter: “We have supported the people who support us.” The historical insights of the “Jews and the Left” conference suggested that things were never so simple—or mutual. So, when that basic equation no longer holds—if the left are no longer “the people who support us”—will we continue to support them? The “rising generation” of the left will contain its share of Jews, maybe even more than its share; but whether it will be a Jewish left, as it was in the past, is very much in doubt.
The hatred of the Left for Israel AND for the Jews is more succinctly stated by none other than H.G. Wells, as quoted in SultanKnish:How can Dalai be a Jewish conservative? My God, how can any Jew (or anyone with the slightest degree of intelligence and compassion) be part of the Left? It makes no sense whatsoever.
To understand why Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism are one, we need look no further than H.G. Wells who wrote, "Zionism is an expression of Jewish refusal to assimilate."
That one sentence is the final thesis on the left's ugly legacy of hatred for Israel and the Jews. It demonstrates why Anti-Zionism cannot be detached from Anti-Semitism, because behind it is a denunciation of Jewish identity. That is the ideological fuel behind the Anti-Zionism of both Western liberals and their Arab allies. The Western liberals demand to know why the Jews just won't assimilate. The Arabs demand to know why the Jews weren't happy being second class Dhimmis in their own country. Anti-Zionism is the denial of the rights of the Jews as a people based on Anti-Semitism, the denial of the equality of the Jews. That double standard joins Anti-Semitsm and Anti-Zionism into two words for the same idea, that the Jews should not exist.