In September 2021 I wrote an article titled, “Will American Jews Abandon The Democratic Party?”
I noted that,
“After House Democrats, under pressure from their radical left wing, voted to remove Israel’s defensive Iron Dome funding from its budget, a Christian friend messaged me, saying, ‘Overwhelming Jewish support for the Democratic party is hard to comprehend.’”
In explaining the history of that support, I stated that,
“it will be interesting to see what voting patterns emerge if traditional Jews continue to grow in number while the number of liberal Jews continues to drop. See, already, this prediction from 2016. And this, in turn, would likely result in a growing voting solidarity between Orthodox Jews and Christian conservatives.”
One year later, in November 2022 Rabbi Michael Barclay asked, “Are American Jews Finally Leaving the Democratic Party?”
He began his article stating,
“Way back in March of 2019, I proposed the idea that, similar to the BLAXIT movement, American Jews needed to remove themselves from the Democratic Party, which no longer exemplifies Jewish values, no longer supports Israel, and is controlled by leftist extremists who are anti-Semitic. Although slower than hoped for, it looks like this might finally be happening.”
More recently, in February 2023, Sheila Nazarian, herself an Iranian-American Jew, published an op-ed in Newsweek stating, “It's Time for American Jews to Say Goodbye to the Democratic Party.”
She recognized that,
“After experiencing first hand how right-wing nationalism could result in the murder of millions of their people, many Jews who came to America in the wake of that horrific event couldn't ever imagine voting for a right-wing party, and some have come to associate the Republicans with nationalism and even fascism and Nazism.”
Her experience, however, as a Persian Jew was very different, and she argued that,
“If liberal Ashkenazi Jews think they are protecting themselves by voting for Democrats, to us, the opposite is the case: It is Republicans who most Persian Jews see as the safer bet. And things like the anti-Israel sentiment in the Democratic Party that's always increasing, as well as former President Obama's calamitous Iran Deal, and the antisemitism from people like Congresswoman ‘All about the Benjamins’ Ilhan Omar, it's getting harder and harder for us to understand how so many Jewish Americans can still align themselves with the Democrats.”
She closed with this passionate appeal:
“If you have only voted Democratic in the past, if you could never dream of voting for a Republican candidate or policy, I urge you to reconsider. Right now, there is just too much at stake to keep repeating our old patterns.
“If we want to combat antisemitism, keep the Jewish state strong, and ensure that Jews are safe here in America, we have to do something different. Our future depends on it.”
All this has been underscored in recent weeks by the reaction of some Democratic leaders to the October 7 massacre and by the Jew-hating, Israel-bashing sentiments coming from the radical left, especially on college campuses.
This has resulted in a recent spate of essays basically stating that enough is enough, calling for American Jews (and even Israeli Jews) to wake up and face reality.
David Mamet’s October 23 op-ed for Unherd was titled, “How the Democrats betrayed the Jews. The sick thrill of antisemitism has a price.”
He stated plainly that there is no more room to be a “Congenital Democrat,” as he confesses he was for many years.
“But there is no more cosy [sic] mystery in the antisemitism of the Democratic Party; Representatives are affiliated with the Democratic Socialists and pro-Palestinians, calling for the end of the state of Israel — that is, for the death of the Jews. And Democrat Representatives repeat and refuse to retract the libel that Israel bombed a hospital, in spite of absolute proof to the contrary, and will not call out the unutterable atrocities of Hamas. The writing is on the wall. In blood.”
An article in The Free Press by Konstantin Kisin on October 22 was titled, “The Day the Delusions Died. A lot of people woke up on October 7 as progressives and went to bed that night feeling like conservatives. What changed?”
While focusing more on leftist, liberal ideology than on the Democrats, Kisin closed his essay with these sobering words:
“the truth is that we have indulged in magical thinking for too long, choosing comforting myths over harsh realities. About terrorism. About immigration. And about a host of other issues. In our hunger for progress, we have forgotten that not all change is for the better. Now the world is paying the price for that self-indulgence. Let’s hope recent events are the wake-up call we so desperately need.”
Enough with our delusional thinking, he argued. We have real enemies who want to kill us. Now is not the time to indulge in “magical thinking.”
More bluntly still, on October 24 Lilach Volach posted an article titled, “All I Want to Say to the International Left Is – Go to Hell.”
But what makes her article stand out is not simply the bluntness of the title. It is the fact that it was published as an op-ed in Israel’s premiere leftwing news outlet, Haaretz. That is saying a lot.
She writes that,
“One concept that has collapsed, just one among the flood of incredibly painful ones, is how segments of the international left have framed Hamas’ murderous attack on Israel, in which 1,400 people were killed, and more than 200 kidnapped, as a legitimate Palestinian civilian uprising.”
Then, speaking with real candor, she says,
“As someone who deeply identifies with the Israeli left, I felt my heart dropping from where it usually is in my chest – sliding down my sleeve and fluttering on the floor in disbelief. As if this were a junior high election for student council president, every imbecile of liberalism in the world has gotten behind one of two shallow options – Israel or Palestine.
“They’ve quickly reached the conclusion that they’re too wonderful not to identify with the underdog. After all, they tried baba ghanoush once and liked it. And now they’ve announced with self-importance: ‘I stand with Palestine.’”
And so, she explains,
“The point of all this isn’t to engage in self-flagellation and self-purification in the name of the entire Israeli left. We have enough to deal with, thank you very much. But we are sobering up from the mutual embrace we thought we enjoyed with people with whom it’s ostensibly still possible to hold a conversation that exceeds 280 characters.”
“When it comes to the events of October 7 on the Gaza border, the international left, which can go into detail about each and every pronoun appropriate for each and every self-definition, has drowned in the academicization of the conversation and has been choked on its own ignorance and self-righteousness – in addition apparently to what preceded them.”
The Israeli left, she now understands, is very different than the international left.
The painful awakening continues.
And while there is certainly dangerous rightwing antisemitism as well, it’s clear that there is no refuge for the Jewish people or the nation of Israel under the shelter of the international (and American) left.