Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jewish Politics in the USA.

For a long time, Republicans, mostly Christian, have been trying to get the Jewish vote. They do pretty well with the extreme orthodox sects, that are of course ultra-conservative. These are people that don't like homosexuals, don't like modern culture, and don't trust outsiders.   But not many Jews are Orthodox.  Among the much more populous Conservative and Reform Jews, the Republican message has fallen flat.

The reason is simple.  When talking to Jews they talk only about international politics and ignore domestic issues.   Israel has existed for only about 63 years, and has proven itself reasonably good at defending itself.  Yes, it needs USA support, but it doesn't need a lot of USA support. 

Jews have had about 2,000 years of persecution, mainly from Christians, while Muslims have (excluding the past 63 years) for the most part, left us alone.   Islam didn't accuse us of killing Jesus (funny how Rome/Italy never got the blame for that) and didn't accuse of blood libel.  The Spanish Inquisition did not start until after the Christians took over Spain, the Muslims left us mostly alone.

But we see an awful lot of Christians out there quoting the bible at us, telling us that because their priest, pastor, minister etc. tells them that abortion is murder, that it should be illegal.  Tthere is no Pope telling us that abortion is wrong.  Sure, some of think it is, but we don't base it on a religious position.  Then the Christian politicians start preaching religion to get elected.  They complain about "prayer in school" being illegal, saying that the Constitution doesn't say "separation of church and state", sometimes while holding prayer rallies, or even promoting christian based anti-gay treatments.

We are not afraid of Muslims pushing Sharia law on us, because we don't see that happening.  To my knowledge it hasn't happened anywhere in America.  But we do see Christians trying to use the New Testament to push Christian based laws on us all the time.   Sure, it's not particularly strong, not particularly intrusive, but it happens.   Every time a politician brings up Jesus, we hear it and remember.   Then there is the entire "War on Christmas" campaign, where they try to force us to say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays".  Funny, if it is a war on Christmas, where are the Jews objecting to people saying "Merry Christmas"?   We don't see a war on Christmas, we see a war on us.

I'm just one Jew, and not a particularly religious one.  I can't speak for everyone.  But from this Jew's perspective, the Republican party is squarely against Judaism in America.  They support it outside the country, but not inside.  They preach against the First Amendment.  They are trying to establish this country as a Christian Nation.   They want to use their bible to determine what is legal and what is illegal, exactly the way they (falsely) accuse Islam of using Sharia law.   Frankly, the Republican party ignores Judaism with regards to all of it's domestic agenda.  Strong support for Jewish ideas in the foreign agenda (i.e. supporting Israel) just does NOT make up for treating us so badly on the domestic agenda.

In addition, every once in a while I see the GOP acting like France pre-World War II.  France complained about the influx of Jewish illegal immigrants, the Republicans talk about Mexican immigrants.  Stories of military court martials for terror defendants remind me of the Dreyfus affair.  Sure, they may be guilty - but why not give them the full protections we give serial murders that rape and kill children?  Just maybe they are innocent and the military doesn't want to admit they got the wrong guy.  

I am American first, Jewish second.   I am not Israeli at all.  I care most about how you treat me here in MY country.  I do care about Israel, but the second you push your religion on me I start worrying about you. You want to get Jews to vote Republican again?  Fine.  Make the following changes:

  1. The most important thing is to enforce "Separation of Church and State"  Yeah, I know it isn't in the Bill of Rights, but it is in the founders other writings.  They meant it and it is very, VERY important to Jews.  When you attack Separation of Church and State, you scare Jews.
  2. So the GOP needs to yell at any politician for bringing up his Jesus.  Don't treat it as a bonus, act like it doesn't matter.  Because when you act like being a good Christian makes you a better candidate, I hear "being a good Jew makes you a bad politician".   If you must say something, say you are a "strong believer in the power of God, but that religion is a personal matter". You mention Jesus or Christian, or anything else specific to your religion, you send a message that you don't want my vote.
  3. Stop using religion as an argument indirectly.  That is, when some random yahoo tries to quote the bible as an argument for politics, don't put him on the news.   Instead give air time to the guy who uses logic.  Fox is the right arm of the GOP, even if they don't want to admit it, so get control of your arm.
  4. Stop trying to pretend that Christians are being persecuted.  You have no idea what real persecution is.   Being told to say "Happy Holidays" is not being persecuted.  Persecution is about theft, vandalism, assault, rape, murder, and being forcibly identified/labeled.
  5. Instead of saying things like "No Sharia Law", say things like "No Religious Law".  That simple change makes you far more likable.  We now the difference between those two statements, and it is damning.  We look at you and say "He wants to do to me what he is accusing them of doing."
  6. Forget about stopping the constructions of Mosques.  Every time you do that, I cringe and think of Jewish Ghettos.  If you want to put people in concentration camps, you first need to round them up and preventing them from building houses of worship wherever they want is as great way to do that.  If you want to give Muslims extra scrutiny, I hate to admit it, but Jews probably won't object.  But when you have yahoos trying to stop Mosques from being built, that is a clear violation of the First Amendment and Jews don't like it.
  7. Stop having idiots say things like "Islam is not a religion, it is a political plot".  We heard people use that same logic against Jews before, and not just in the 20th century. 
  8. Start complaining when military officers push Christianity on their privates.  We hear the stories, and it doesn't sit well, even if the officers only push religion on 'atheists' and leave the Jews alone.   We don't care, stories about anyone pushing religion on anyone make us sit up and pay attention.


  1. 2 cents...

    I'm a conservative christian. I completely agree with you about separation of church and state. The US is not made up of all Christians. The _only_ way to succeed politically (for any length of time anyway) in this country is to leave religion out of it.

    This is the #1 problem I have with the GOP and tea party(along with a few other things). I can't align myself with democrats because I don't believe in their policy. I can't align myself with tea party or GOP because they keep bringing religion into everything.

    What is wrong with these people? Religious freedom (at least in my mind) also entails freedom _from_ religion. If you push laws based on the new testament, they're not going to pass and people become afraid.

    You try to talk to conservatives about this and they just shut down. You are a devil worshiper to them at that point. Pushing Christian ideals sounds great to Christians, but you just alienated at least 1/3 of the country that might have voted for your candidate by doing so.

    Until conservative political groups wake up and do the right thing about this, they'll never succeed and their rhetoric will always be reminiscent of people that have committed atrocities.

    I think I might be the only conservative that feels this way...

  2. I don't think you are the only conservative that feels this way. I think there are lot more of you than of them. The problem is the zealots have taken over and are preaching against you.

    When they talk about getting rid of R.I.N.O.'s, they are actually pushing away a lot of people that think just like you do.

    When they do polls that say more Americans think of themselves as conservative, those polls are talking about you, not the Tea Party. Then they try to use that conservative movement to push for things those conservatives don't like.