Is there no place for me?
December 28, 2018
Religion does play a part in politics. When John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic elected president in 1960, the rumble was that the Catholic vote was united —there was an underlying fear that “The pope would now rule American politics.” Nonsense, of course.
So far, no Jew has run for president. But, it has always been more about who, what and where we are as a people than our religious positions that have ruled our politics.
During the 1930s, at the tail end of the huge immigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States, it is a fair bet that most of those who had attained citizenship, voted Democratic. In New York it was basically because of Tammany Hall, the corrupt Democratic political machine that ran the city. Elsewhere, it was the appeal of the Party to those who felt left behind or discriminated against.
Many Jews named their sons Franklin in honor of the president in whom they trusted. Whether that trust was warranted is based on how you read history. As time went on, the Jewish Community, overall, remained overwhelmingly Democratic. The basic reason, it would seem, was that the Party was the Party of the people—they felt that the rich establishment which was overwhelmingly Republican was their enemy, that they were the ones that kept Jews out of law schools and medical colleges.
With the emergence of the State of Israel, Jews became as much or more of a people than a religion. Our “native country” is of course the United States. The Nation of our Soul is Israel. Don’t have to tell you that Israel is unique. A Jewish nation. Took over 2,000 years to re-introduce that to society. And it also gave the world a perfect target for its latent anti-Semitism.
The government of Israel has one basic duty. It is the same as government of the U.S.: To protect the Homeland. This is obviously more difficult there than here. We have two wide oceans. Israel has nothing between its still debated borders and neighbors who would like to wipe it off the face of the earth.
The State of Israel was recognized by Democratic President Harry Truman immediately after its forming. While Eisenhower was immensely popular due to his war record, Jews preferred Adlai Stevenson. According to the polls, it hasn’t changed much. Until now.
The snake that is anti-Semitism is always looking for someplace to settle. All it takes is the taint of hatred of any kind and there it will find a home. The present administration built its base around hatred of the “other.” And whether you call it anti-immigrant or anti-anything else—there anti-Semitism will find a home.
On the other hand ... back at the turn of the twentieth century, the philosopher Will Rogers said: “I don’t belong to any organized political party—I’m a Democrat.” Sometime between Nixon and Obama, the Democrats began to resemble what Will Rogers had said. They began to split apart. A Socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders (A Jew, but not so’s you would notice it) got some real traction in the run up to the 2016 election.
The hatred of Israel is a hatred of the Jews. So, in the United States, a perfect target for anti-Semitism is the Jewish State. It takes many forms. There are the vicious and toxic lies about the people of Israel that date back to medieval times. There is the supposed repression of the Arab citizens of the country which, if you have been there, spent some time, you know is ridiculous.
Meanwhile, something simple and wonderful, like the “Women’s March” has now, through its stand on BDS and its leadership’s relationship with Louis Farrakhan, the Muslim convert who spits more vile anti-Semitic rot in one day than anyone or any publication has become tainted. And, as it will, this taint of hatred, looking for a political home, has attached itself to the Left Wing of the Democratic Party, where it sits like a malignant tumor.
So, politically, here is the choice for Jews: Align yourself with what has become the Republican Party with its misogynist approach to politics or gamble that the Democratic Party will cut off the malignancy of BDS and its followers. Tell us, where can we go?