Jews Stayed With Democrats, Now Worry About Domestic Agenda


By Dan Judelson
November 5, 2010
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The original article from the US based Jewish Daily Forward may be read here but I've pasted it below too:

by Nathan Guttman

Washington — A community defined by its quest for social justice and known for its disproportionate support for the Democratic Party has woken up to a new reality, dominated by a clear message from voters who chose cuts over spending, Republicans over Democrats.

Jewish politicos and communal activists began the process of adjustment, bidding farewell to five Jewish incumbents who did not survive the Republican upset and becoming acquainted with newcomers, many of them Tea Party candidates previously unknown to a community that prides itself on building bridges with politicians of both parties.

Jewish voters did not seem to take part in the anti-Democratic wave that swept the nation. According to a poll commissioned by the dovish J Street lobby, 66% of Jewish voters chose the Democratic candidates for Congress in their districts. There was no national Jewish poll conducted in the 2006 midterm election, but the percentage this year was lower than the 78% of Jews who voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

In a separate survey that focused on the state of Pennsylvania, where Democratic senatorial candidate Joe Sestak was attacked for his views on Israel, results were similar, with 71% of Jewish voters saying they sided with Sestak on Election Day.

While the Republican congressional takeover is expected to have little impact on issues relating to Israel and the Middle East that are of concern to Jewish Americans, it will significantly affect the community’s domestic agenda.

“Among the lessons of the vote was that the American people are speaking out against spending; that’s clearly where the wind is blowing,” said William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America, an umbrella organization for Jewish federations that provide social services, some of them now expected to be on the chopping block.

Delivering the point of changing priorities was Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, now the sole Jewish Republican in Congress, soon to be the highest-ranking Jew in congressional history. Cantor, expected to become House majority leader, made clear in an interview with CNN that Republicans’ first order of business when the new Congress is sworn in will be cutting government spending. “We need to put federal government on a diet,” Cantor said, speaking as ballots closed throughout the country and as returns showed massive gains for his party.

It is a kind of diet that is worrying Jewish organizations. Major groups, including the federation system, have been fighting to increase spending to broaden the social safety net and expand benefits for the needy. Now, the Republican majority in the House is likely to prompt the Jewish community to re-examine its domestic priorities and to focus on fighting cuts. Expanding entitlements and introducing new social legislation will move to the back burner.

Several Jewish activists have already spoken about putting aside key issues from their agenda, including immigration reform and energy legislation, since chances for passage were all but eliminated by the congressional upset. “We are a pragmatic organization, and we will hold on to our views” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, “but where we put our time and effort will be in places where we can make a difference.”

Instead, Jewish groups are expected to concentrate on the looming budget cuts facing the basic entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — as well as on continuing the fight for smaller social programs, such as the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act .

Reductions in Medicare and Medicaid have been suggested by both sides of the aisle and could be part of the recommendations from a bipartisan White House fiscal commission, due on December 1. A Republican-led House would make it easier to approve such recommendations.

“There’s a myth that Jews are wealthy, even the elderly, but by and large many elderly Jews do not live in poverty only because of programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” said Rachel Goldberg, director of aging policy at B’nai B’rith International, one of the groups strongly opposed to cutting funding for social safety net programs.

But the voters chose change, and Jewish activists will now need to get used to the new face of Congress.

Russ Feingold, the Jewish senator from Wisconsin who made his mark as champion of good governance, lost his bid for re-election in part due because of his refusal to take money from outside political action committees. Two Jewish Democratic House incumbents from Florida also lost their seats. Ron Klein, of the state’s heavily Jewish 22nd Congressional District, ran as a centrist but lost to Allen West, a retired lieutenant colonel, and Alan Grayson, who held on to his ultra-liberal views in a tough campaign, was ousted in the 8th District. Other Jewish lawmakers who paid with their seat are New Jersey’s John Adler and Steve Kagen of Wisconsin. Congress will see, however, a couple of new Jewish faces: Richard Blumenthal, who won a tough Senate race in Connecticut, and David Cicilline from Rhode Island, who will join the House of Representatives.

Coming in to Congress will be also a new class of Tea Party candidates that represents a great unknown for the Jewish community. Since most of them have entered politics only recently, they did not have a chance to engage with their local Jewish community and to build relationships with the national Jewish leadership.

Capitol Hill, however, is still a friendly place for Jewish and pro-Israeli activists. Leadership of key committees, including Appropriations and Foreign Affairs, will remain in the hands of veteran Republicans with whom pro-Israeli activists had established long-standing working relations. “We make sure to be in close ties with both sides, and we’ve always worked with both the majority and the minority, so these kinds of transitions are easier for us,” said Daniel Meron, minister of congressional affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com

COMMENTS

telegramsam

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 14:59

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That's exactly the point. American Jews are concerned about American issues, not Israel


Yvetta

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 16:58

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http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/why_do_jews_vote_for_their_ene.ht...
Why Do Jews Vote for Their Enemies?
By James Lewis
....The black and the radical leftist vote O for reasons I can understand.... However, why does Obama keep his favorable standing with American Jews? It makes no sense.
His administration supports the grotesque and shameful farce of Iran, the Sudan, and Libya sitting on the U.N. Human Rights Council. Those are genocidal, torturing, and utterly reactionary regimes. And that's just the start of Obama's bitter hatred of Israel and Western values. There's more coming -- you betcha.
American Jews are voting against their plain self-interest. They voted for someone who listened to J-Wright ranting against Jews and whites for twenty years. Wright is a race-hater, pure and simple, and he hates Whitey and the Jews. What's more, Michelle Obama is the daughter of a Chicago ward boss who grew up in that atmosphere, rife with Louis Farrakahn and the Black Muslims, J-Wright, and the ranting Father Pfleger. Michelle grew up with the Jesse Jackson family, and we know where Jesse stands. Put all that together, and you get classical Jew-hating. It's obvious to anybody who pays attention.
Obama's pal George Soros helped set up the phony front group J Street, which specializes in undermining Israel while claiming to defend it; it's classical Stalinist agitprop. Anybody could find that out. Granted that the media tried to cover it all up, but it's on the web, for goodness' sake. Use your fingers and it's right there....
I can make up all kinds of imaginary reasons. Back in Europe it was the socialists and Soviets who ultimately did the most harm to the Nazis, so Eastern European Jews were drawn into that horrific maelstrom and chose the only side that wasn't systematically threatening and killing Jews. But that's historically one-sided. George Soros infamously grew up in Hungary selling the (stolen) furniture and art of the Jews who were marched to the concentration camp. Liberal Jews still admire the man!
Jews are attracted to the fantasy world of the lion lying down with the lamb. But reality tells us it hasn't happened yet, and the chances that peace will break out all over are not high. The Left constantly runs that sucker play, and American Jews fall for it. I've talked with Jewish friends, and I keep trying to figure it out. Can't they spot a cruel scam when they see it? Where is their intelligence?
The Jews in Europe had a very bad time with Catholics and Orthodox of various stripes, especially in Poland and Russia. And yet the European Enlightenment that started the liberation of Jews from the medieval ghetto was created by many Christians and some Jews. Historically, Christianity has both anti-Semitic elements and philo-Semitic ones, as the historian Paul Johnson points out in his history of the Jews. Listen to Mozart's Requiem Mass. Half the text comes from the Hebrew Bible.
A billion Muslims in the world are exposed to classic anti-Semitic hate propaganda. You can see it day by day on the MEMRI website, with straight translations from the Persian and Arab language media. Hate-Jew cartoons are all over those Islamic media. Hitler's Mein Kampf sells like hotcakes in Egypt. The Saudis sponsored a truly filthy TV series shown throughout the Arab world based on the Elders of Zion, the phony czarist anti-Jewish propaganda tale. (It features those folks with caricatured Shylock faces who are constantly plotting to take over the world, talking like Snidely Whiplash and rubbing their hand in glee while they are preparing to kill a Christian baby for Passover.) This is sleazy, nasty, hateful, and moronic stuff. Arab audiences in Egypt and Iran just love it. They are mental throwbacks to the Dark Ages.
And yet, American Jews vote for Obama. Now, Obama himself is careful to avoid any appearance of militant hatred of Jews. He just inveighs against "Wall Street Fat Cats" and "Neo-cons" and protects Black Muslims who are caught in voter intimidation in Philadelphia. A lot of those targets of abuse are Jews, and a lot of them sort of agree with Obama's rants against capitalism. But capitalism frees people, and the Jews, who have suffered more than their share of oppression, should recognize that instantly.
Half of American Jews are women. Women are badly used and abused both sexually and physically throughout the Islamic world. So are gay people. So are Christians who profess a religion that does not elevate Muhammad as the last prophet. Jews by the million have been forced to leave Muslim countries and are now settled in Israel and America. Every other day Ahmadinejad issues another nuclear threat against Tel Aviv. The Muslim Brotherhood, which inspired Hamas, has acted to destroy Jews and Israelis since its World War II alliance with Hitler. Jimmy Carter is a big fan of Hamas and brought that other medieval throwback, Ayatollah Khomeini, into power, thereby driving Jews and other Iranians out of that country.
And still the Jews vote 70-plus percent for their enemies.
Two plus two does not equal four.
This is not adult, rational behavior. It is not intelligent. It is not wise or benevolent. It is not charitable toward the weak and oppressed peoples of the earth. It is not good for future generations. And as 97 percent of the Israeli public has decided, Obama is very bad for Israel; after all, he's done nothing visible about Iranian nukes, which are the biggest genocidal danger to Israel ever. A second Holocaust has never been closer. Obama's backed off now for the election, but he'll be back at Netanyahu's throat as soon as the election is past. His White House "advisors" are all for shafting Israel but good. It's their substitute for sane foreign policy.
Something isn't right here. People usually don't vote for those who hate them and who constantly act in alliance with genocidal haters like Hamas and the Iranian fascisti....


telegramsam

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:06

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Jews in America have always voted for the party most identified with social justice. As a mainly immigrant community, albeit a fairly long time ago, the community remembers the kindness with which it was met. Also, there is a Jewish tenet of Tzedek, tzedek tirdof (Justice, justice you shall pursue) and the Democrats are seen to be on the side of justice. The Republicans, on the other hand, are the side of old money, off-limits golf clubs and university societies, WASP sensibilities etc. They don't like Jews -- or any other minority much. That is why voting for Obama is not voting for the enemy, but voting for the Republicans is.


Yvetta

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:24

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So Paul Wolfowitz is not on the side of justice?
The only good thing Obama has done is health care reform; I can understand poor people and pensioners voting for him.


telegramsam

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:29

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It may come as a shock to you, Yvetta, but some Jews, are not on the side of social justice. Some Jews want to be members of golf clubs that would usually blackball them for being Jewish. It's a strange old world.


Yvetta

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:32

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It's a Hillel versus Shammai thing ...


telegramsam

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:39

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Indeed. Did you know that in Jerusalem, Hillel and Shammai are parallel streets. They never meet. Spooky that.


telegramsam

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:44

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While in Tel Aviv, Arlozorov and Jabotinsky are parallel, too. I'm a wealth of useless knowledge, me.


Yvetta

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 17:45

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LOL


amber

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 18:27

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tsam, what a surprise - you're a left yourself. Your views about the Republicans come from the 1950's. Democrats on the side of justice? Explain why the segragationists in te south were...Democrats. The man who freed the slaves..Lincoln, a Republican.

Yvetta, the healthcare bill has bankrupted America. The poor always got free treatment - it's just that the BBC didn't want to tell people.


amber

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 18:47

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tsam, the US has been successful because government has traditionally been samll, and let people alone - unlike the big tax, big spend governments of Europe. The American example is self reliance - the European one is reliance on the state. The US example is freedom, the European - control and interference by the government.

I know which model works better.


stephenb

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 21:38

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Pity the Israeli example isent one of self reliance instead of lets play the western style democracy when it suits even if it is bull chit and lets grab as much overseas aid as we can that might have been diverted to sub saharan africa and lets declare ourselves a " developing " nation to get favourable trade terms


stephenb

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 21:45

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i cudda been a member of a golf club cept for ...lets not go there and i dont mean cept for being jewish


stephenb

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 22:03

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American jews vote for their economic interests just like every other American Israel is a dinner party chat a long

As barak points out Israel wouldnt last five minutes without big brother. But the entire existential thing is invested in America will look atfer us. Wake up and smell the roses America will always follow the money Deep Throat taught us that much at least. So what when the smell of money doesnt point the American head towards Israel ? You will be saying freaking hell if only we had been self reliant. But by then it will be too late


amber

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 23:54

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stephenb repeats the lie that Israel gets overseas aid that would have gone to Africa. Israel gets military assistance, almsot all of which gets ploughed straight back to US companies. The US is effectively subsidizing its own arms companies. It gets no aid for anything else. The Palestinians, for their part, receive more aid per capita than anyone else on earth - that's ANYONE - despite their need not being nearly as great as Africa's.

But don't let facts deter you in your constant quest to delegitimize Israel, courtesy of the Jewish Chronicle blogs.


stephenb

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 15:59

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The uk " defence " budget is 45 billion sterling. If someone else paid the bills that that represents the uk would have 45 billion more to spend on schools hospitals roads welfare etc etc etc

Saying Israel doesnt receive aid only military assistance is like saying " we dont help him we just pay his mortgage interest we dont actually buy him food "


Anthony Posner

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 16:05

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stephenb,

Can you please answer the questions that I asked you on Pollard's blog about Hague's visit to Israel. Perhasp you might have missed them.


amber

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 16:21

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stephenb, your analogy doesn't work, because you are pretending that the US pays for the entire Israeli defence budget, whereas in fact it contributes to a small percentage - almost all of which goes back to US companies.

So no, you're wrong, as usual. Your hatred knows no bounds. Disgraceful that you poison these blogs with your odorous presence.


stephenb

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 16:25

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4 billion is a small percentage of israels occupation budgett ? wow so what is the full budgett ?

Tony yes I did miss them


amber

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 19:10

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stephenb, its 3 billion, not 4. the Us also receives much from Israel in return. It is a 2 way street - unlike aid given to entities that hate the US - such as the Palestinians, who give the US hatred and bile in return.

It's not an occupation budget, but a self defence budget against a jihadist fascist enemy.

But them being an antisemite, I don't expect you to understand.

Why is this idiot infesting the JC blogs?


amber

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 23:31

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Why is this racist on the JC blogs?

What billion stephenb? Ah yes, the blood money for 6 million murdered Jews that Israel "begs" for. Do you realize how disgusting you are?

You are a despicable low life scumbag.

JC, why is this antisemite here? He has repeatedly made antisemitic remarks. He must go.

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