Thursday, September 10, 2009

Will Disappointment with Obama Finally Turn American Jews Away from Liberalism?

Norman Podheretz, the former editor of the Jewish neo-conservative journal Commentary, and the author of a new book entitled "Why are Jews Liberal?", asks that question on today's Wall Street Journal. My impression is that he is asking the question more in hope than in optomism. Indeed, my perception is that outside the Orthodox Jewish community, which was never thrilled with Barack Obama in the first place, most Jews, and especially liberal Jews, are not disappointed with President Obama except to the extent that he has not been liberal enough. They suppport President Obama on healthcare. They support putting pressure on the Netanyahu government to freeze settlement activity, even to the extent of halting construction in existing settlements. They support pressing Israel to make compromises that may carry serious security risks. In those respects, American Jewish liberals have now alienated themselves from the vast majority of Israelis, except for a fringe of the most leftwing 10% of the Israeli electorate. That is the percentage of Israelis who have expressed confidence that President Obama is truly concerned about Israel's security.

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