“It sometimes feels, nonetheless, like many campaigns are stuck in a time warp, or rather an alternate universe. They’re spending thousands of dollars — and in some cases millions — to sway Jewish voters chiefly based on the false notion that Israel is terribly important to a majority of Jewish Americans.”
– Los Angeles Times
With America reeling from the effects of a by all accounts exceptionally intense presidential race, pundits will soon be left with the task of deciphering why various special interests groups actually voted the way they did. Though groups such as AIPAC would presumably be more comfortable promulgating the view that Israel is the number one topic American Jews consider when choosing a candidate, the numbers say otherwise. According to the Los Angeles Times:
“Israel was the ‘most important’ voting issue for a mere 4% of respondents in the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2012 Jewish Values survey. Israel was one of two top “voting issue priorities” for just 10% in a J Street poll conducted around the same time.”
The Los Angeles Times, however, suggests that the reason for this lack of Israel interest is due to various secularizing factors, claiming that an ongoing American Jewish commitment to liberalism is the primary cause. Though it’s possible to see their perspective, True Torah Jews would have to disagree. Despite what many Anti-Semites would proclaim, Jewry has a stellar history of loyalty towards their countries of residence; American Jews no less than their contemporaries throughout the world and throughout history. A brief overview of what actually does influence Jewish voters clearly demonstrates their concerns for America’s well-being. A recent 2015 American Jewish Committee’s study of Jewish American opinion shed light upon the current state of the Jewish political landscape. Topping the list are the usual suspects for almost every group: the economy, national security, healthcare, and income inequality. The vast majority of Jews, regardless of where they find themselves on the political spectrum, feel that a level-headed resident of a civilized country would naturally vote for the greater good of his place of residence, not for the political ambitions of a foreign nation almost halfway across the globe.
The only groups which have made Israel a political centerpiece are those which, unsurprisingly, have already done so long ago. The rest of us are generally more concerned with improving the standard of living where we find ourselves, not in pushing an overseas political agenda which is often at odds with our best interests and those of other Jews throughout the world.
Liberalism, though a powerful force in certain sectors of the Jewish populace, does not explain the sharp decline in interest and support for the Zionist State. The same issues that were given priority above Israel amongst more left-leaning Jews are the very same which generally affect how the Orthodox community fills in their ballots. The majority of American Jewry, since the 1920s, has voted overwhelmingly Democrat, several decades before the founding of the failed experiment that is the State of Israel. And a large portion, if not the majority, of Zionist support in the early years of Israel’s founding was given by more left-leaning Jewish Americans, who then viewed it as a democratic-socialist underdog taking on the world at large. What caused this shift in attitude?
The answer for why many American Jews have more or less abandoned the cause of Israel lies more in the way that American Jewry have witnessed the decomposition of the Zionist dream. This nation has and continues to demand obedience and support, be it financial or moral, from worldwide Jewry since its very inception. That support was expected to be unconditional. Come what may Jews everywhere were to stand behind this ill-conceived experiment, which aimed to do no less than to rid the entire Jewish People of any religious character, robbing them of their identity.
Obviously, our hearts go out to our brethren in the Eretz Yisroel (Land of Israel) and we pray daily that all the residents of the Holy Land should remain safe and out of harm’s way. Our criticism is aimed solely at the Israeli government and their lackeys, those whose record for caring for even their own citizens’ leaves much to be desired. When their agenda isn’t even the same as that of their actual constituents’, how could they conceivably pretend to represent us, citizens of another country? Their goals and driving force has as much to do with us, American Jews, as it has to do with the ambitions of the Navajo Nation. Absolutely nothing.
True Torah Jews feels it necessary to make clear that, notwithstanding this overall shift in the opinion of American Jewry as a whole, the Torah has always required a faithful Jew to remain loyal to his country of residence, seeking the greater of his fellow citizens.
These days, American Jews see things with a different pair of glasses, one whose prescription hasn’t been tampered with. History has been a competent, though stern, teacher. Why aren’t American Jews allowing Israeli politics to dictate the composition of their ballots? The Los Angeles Times says trending liberalism. Again, we have to disagree. Liberalism isn’t the reason for it. Opening their eyes is.