Jewish World Review Nov. 1, 2004 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765
Self-hating Jews for Kerry?
L-rd have mercy on the Jews. We may be the only ethnic group in democratic history that is compelled to vote against its own self-interest, and even self-preservation. Whether it's finances, national security or the survival of the only Jewish state, the Republicans are good for it. But an estimated 75% of American Jews will nonetheless vote for John Kerry, a fact that caused my friend Steve exasperated with his mother's political obstinacy to conclude, "Please, if Hitler were running as a Democrat, she'd vote for him!"
So I ask anti-Semites of all political persuasions: Don't hate us because we're Jewish. Hate us because we're liberal.
After all, you sure as heck can't accuse us of dual loyalty: Kerry has the Jewish vote even in the face of George W.'s tried and true record on Israel, with his unequivocal, groundbreaking stance that dead Jews count as much as dead anybody else. No, most American Jews would rather hand the White House and the future of Israel back over to the party that showed us the way to Intifada 2, then declined to veto a UN resolution condemning Israel for provoking it.
Ah, but my people have mastered a mental trick to help get past inconvenient evidence and enable them to continue thinking inside the casket. Rather than associate the deteriorated situation in Israel with the Clinton years, they've taken to counting up the number of Jews killed since Bush's inauguration, and comparing the per-year numbers. Since Jewish deaths have indeed accelerated in recent years, it must be because of Bush policies (and not the Clinton-Albright jihad jump-start in the summer of 2000). Also to stay the course, my fellow tribesmen purposely don't see the forest for the bushes, trying to count up on one hand the instances of the administration's occasional half-hearted reprimands of targeted assassinations and incursions into terror camps. They sit on their haunches, ready to pounce on any Bush words that could justify their Democratic complacency and be construed to sell Israel down the river, forgetting that they sold it themselves in 1993.
Despite nearly four years of tangible, concrete and consistent action by George Bush affirming Jewish humanity that quality that eight long years of Democratic leadership worked to strip us of all that Jews needed to hear were the words "safe and secure Israel" at the Democratic Convention, and it was their green light to stay on track with a foregone conclusion. The fact that one day Kerry calls Israel's fence a security measure vital to the nation's self-defense, and the next day calls it a "barrier to peace" depending on his audience doesn't faze them. And if it does, they just block it out.
After one Kerry speech in Pittsburgh this year, a friend of a friend came up to the candidate and asked, "Senator, what will you do about Israel?" Saving himself a future flip-flop, he answered, "Time will tell."
Good enough. Apparently, she just had to ask the question. But even college-level critical thinking skills would lead one to question how Kerry would manage to do right by Israel when he believes the U.S. should do what the UN tells us to. Evidently, hating oneself dictates taking a flip-flopping talker over a consistent doer.
At the same time, a Kerry Jew will try to enlighten a Bush Jew, "Bush isn't your friend. Don't be fooled: The Republicans aren't your friends; they just want to convert you to Christianity."
Silly Semite pandering tricks are for kids. Jews don't need leaders to act like our friends. We need them to do the right thing. That's how Bush ended up on Israel's side of the fence. Political parties who "befriend" groups through a platform of inclusion rather than substance open up a Panderer's Box. Just look at Cam Kerry, John's converted brother, whom Jews pay top dollar to fawn over at fundraisers despite the fact that he's the Kerry camp's liaison to the Arab community.
But Jews being Jews, our concern is for the welfare of other minorities. That's why my peeps don't mind going to antiwar rallies and standing side-by-side with Arabs, blacks, Hispanics and gays who hold up signs reading "Sharon=Hitler" (or, in Europe, getting beat up by fellow protestors). Meanwhile, considering where the bar's been set, we won't have to worry about the Christian Right's intentions until it starts converting us at gunpoint and blowing us up jihad-style.
Of the two major parties, the GOP isn't the one trying to keep six million Jews from defending their lives and a state that was supposed to be the solution to the Final Solution. And yet they continue to reserve the Nazi analogies for Republicans ("A Jew supporting Mr. Bush is about the same as building your own oven for the Nazis," according to one Jewish email correspondent, who has been seconded by countless others just as artlessly.)
When I first heard that Jews were still paying $1,000 a plate to be in Bill Clinton's company, I almost lost consciousness. Whereas Bush has to struggle for a morsel of the Jewish vote even after re-humanizing Israelis against the tide, the other one just has to put on a yarmulke and the Jews melt. My friend Deborah, who still insists that Bill Clinton was a good friend to Israel (and she doesn't mean in a Dr. Kavorkian, assisted-suicide kind of way), will be voting for Kerry. To vote for a candidate who considered sending Jimmy Carter, writer of op-eds calling for more forceful action against Israel, to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians, a people would have to have extremely low self-esteem indeed.
And these are the ones who do care about Israel (but have a psychosomatic allergy to the Republican Party, abetted by a birth handicap that physically prevents them from pulling the Republican lever.) Israel-boycotter George Soros, a Jew worth his self-loathing, has been going around justifying his purchasing of the election for Kerry. Though other prominent Jews have put distance between themselves and Soros since he blamed America and Israel for renewed anti-Semitism in Europe, it doesn't occur to them to keep that distance at the polls, where it counts. In fact, Jews should take Soros' opposition to Bush as the biggest endorsement yet for the incumbent. Then there's Soros' fellow billionaire Democratic backer Michael Steinhardt who, during a particularly condemnation-full week for Israel two years ago, ended a defense of Israel on the radio with the qualification, "I don't know. Maybe I feel this way because I'm Jewish. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I were Muslim." With wealthy, influential Jews like these, who needs bigoted peasants?
The black vote for Bush in this election is estimated at 18 percent, up 100 percent from 2000. Whereas, even after Arafat's endorsement of Kerry, the Jewish vote for Bush has only gone up from 19 to 24 percent. One sign of intelligence is the ability to adapt to one's changing environment and to make decisions and opinions based on observable events. American Jews seem to lack this basic prowess. A good many still think that it's 1944 and that "Christian" means "German." And so, the Jews will be voting with the Muslims. And granting Arafat his last wish.
As an acquaintance once advised: Never underestimate the power of well-educated, well-organized people who have failed to rid themselves of their own self-hatred. They will shoot themselves in the foot, and take everyone else down with them.
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JWR contributor Julia Gorin tours with Right Stuff Comedy and performs in the monthly New York-based show Republican Riot. Send your comments by clicking here.
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