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155 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lived up the hype, October 22, 2009
This review is from: Why Are Jews Liberals? (Hardcover)
I was rather excited to read this book and was not disappointed. Has a fairer, more important, more anticipated book been written on religion, politics or history? Not in my 30+ years. This book lived up the "hype."

While balanced, Norman Podhoretz traces his journey -- one many of us have taken as we mature and think on our own -- from Democrat/liberal to Republican/neo-Conservative, and is quite honest on both sides. While the legendary Commentary editor examines the roots of anti-Semitism historically and currently, he blames the Right as well, even into the latter half of the 20th century.

{I did not realize that his personal switch occurred (forgetting Commentary was once a left-leaning rag ...before my time) when he continuously realized Israel's enemies not only resided on the Statist Left, but also that it was the pseudo-peaceniks who showed zero interest in Judaism or condemning anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism, and wrongly lent their time to the mundane, "feel good" topics of civil rights, integration, housing. They felt "Israel can take care of itself." I hear that from self-loathing, Democrat-voting "Jews" weekly.}

Essentially, Podhoretz looks at the reasons Jews adhered to liberalism beginning with the persecutions of Christianity, such as European disenfranchisement of Jews, dearth of civil liberties, freedoms, expulsions, the Inquisition, and the shtetls of the modern world to the horrific Dreyfus Affair in France, ending with rise of Nazism and the Holocaust.

He therefore factually recalls that when Jews came to America, they aligned themselves with the Democratic Party because of its close resemblance to the disingenuous left-leaning Europeans (their 'friends' still today), who favored the emancipation of the Jews. He looks at Harry S. Truman as basically the last Zionist Democrat (FDR was not, JFK not so much either, LBJ no way) who recognized Israel and thus won more Jews' support. Concluding, he rightly traces modern Democratic attitudes toward Israel as hostile, contrasting to Republicans (aside from the occasional remnant of 1940s Isolationism lunacy like Ron Paul, Bob Novak or James Baker) who, from Eisenhower and Nixon to Reagan and Bush Jr., have supported Israel with great fervor since the Six-Day War in 1967.

The book is very nicely divided into two distinct sections of the "how" and "why they still are..." in terms of liberal Judaism. N-Pod explains the faux-justifications, but sentiently muses sadly as to why the Jews are so beholden to a party so antithetical (or apathetic) to their best interests. He has stats, voting records, anecdotes and more. It is all extremely well-written and crafted even-handedly.

The vapid left ignored all this then and will do so now.

I read David Brog's "Standing with Israel," about Evangelical support for the Jewish State, concomitantly, which again proves beyond a doubt the irony that Christian Zionists are truly Israel's most hated friends. This is another vital topic explaining why 80% of American Jews "don't get it."

To clarify, as Brog and Podhoretz do, the most common argument against Christian Zionists is that they only support Israel because of the "End of Days" prophecy. (The End of Days prophecy is a Christian belief that the Second Coming of Christ can only happen once the Jews are in Israel.) According to the prediction, in the days before the Second Coming most Jews will either die or convert to Christianity. Because of this, many Jews believe that Christian support for Israel is just an extremely complicated way for Christians to finish the job of the Inquisition.


As Brog noted, "There is simply no evidence to connect the Christian Zionists' zeal for evangelism to their support for Israel...This argument presumes that Christians-- millions of them-- have agreed to a plan that they are now implementing church by church across order to harvest Jewish souls at some point down the road. Why hasn't someone leaked the memo to the press? Or has this grassroots plan to convert the Jews been orchestrated by a sleeper cell?"

Indeed. But sadly, it's difficult for many Jews to be appreciative of Christian Zionists when they are bombarded with false and slanderous information about the movement from the media and their left-wing Reform Rabbis. The same can be said for their intolerant attitude toward Jews of the Republican Party, or the "neoconservative" movement, which puts the security of Israel at its forefront.

Last year, Christian Zionists raised millions of dollars for Jewish causes, and used their considerable political power to lobby politicians on behalf of Israel. To show appreciation, recently, hundreds of Jewish leaders like the heads of the ADL (the despicable Abe Foxman) and associated leftists, teamed up to denounce Christian Zionism and its supporters in a petition, calling them "bigoted," "extremist," and "anti-Semitic."

The only "anti-Semitism" the left reviles is "Christian." Of course, they are living in the distant past, as such does not exist. Anti-Semitism today comes from the Radical Islamics, but also atheists, agnostics and secular "Jews" themselves, here, in Europe and throughout the world...though they'd disagree and call names if you factually explained.

We Jews, hated for no good reason but jealousy, cannot waste time waiting for a "perfect" friend of Israel to come along. There are not nearly enough who love us the same way.

{It is also very important to note that the last word in the title of the book is plural. Jews may fancy themselves as "liberals" but they really are NOT that "liberal." That is why the title is accurate, as no one over 25, sans some millionaire hippies in Marin, is truly "liberal" if they have a brain, common sense and care about their country and families. Like blacks, hispanics and others voting inapposite to their best interests thanks to bigotry, narrow-mindedness and misinfo from Democrats, Jews belong to a group called "liberals" (plural) but their lifestyles, are often as conservative as you'd find. They live in the same neighborhoods, do the same things as other Jews, have the same friends, etc. Ditto the other aforementioned "minorities." That is NOT liberal. My personal life story is 1000 times MORE liberal than theirs, but I am a conservative. Hopefully that makes sense.}

Returning to the nuts and bolts of his book, Podhoretz, in the second half, explains in-depth how the Jewish vote has shifted throughout the 20th century, but always reverted back:

In the past eight decades, the average Jewish vote for the Democrat in presidential elections has been 75%, which is far higher than that of any other ethno-religious group.

He notes, in a September 2009 Wall Street Journal editorial, "previewing" his book:

"Continued Jewish commitment to the Democratic Party has become an anomaly. All the other ethno-religious groups that, like the Jews, formed part of the coalition forged by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s have followed the rule that increasing prosperity generally leads to an increasing identification with the Republican Party. But not the Jews."

He continues:

"Liberalism has become more than a political outlook. It has for all practical purposes superseded Judaism and become a religion in its own right...For many, moving to the right is invested with much the same horror their forefathers felt about conversion to Christianity."

He concludes, perhaps most importantly:

"I think it fair to say that what liberals mainly see when they look at this country is injustice and oppression of every kind--economic, social and political. By sharp contrast, conservatives see a nation shaped by a complex of traditions, principles and institutions that has afforded more freedom and, even factoring in periodic economic downturns, more prosperity to more of its citizens than in any society in human history. It follows that what liberals believe needs to be changed or discarded--and apologized to other nations--is precisely what conservatives are dedicated to preserving, reinvigorating and proudly defending against attack."

Yet, in terms of Israel support, there were reasons to think 2008 would be a good year for the GOP. John McCain's long history of sympathy with Israel should have given him an advantage over Barack Hussein Obama, whose history consisted of associating with enemies of the Jewish state like the unapologetic bigot Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Nevertheless, proving Pod's assertion that Statist "Jews" have not cared about Israel/Judaism for decades, Obama beat Mr. McCain among Jewish voters by roughly a 70-30 ratio. Obama did far better with Jews than with any other ethnic/religious group, sans blacks, and Podhorertz relays some stats:

The Jewish vote for him was 25 points higher than the 53% he scored with the electorate as a whole; 35 points higher than the 43% he scored with whites; 11 points higher than the 67% he scored with Hispanics; 33 points higher than the 45% he scored with Protestants; and 24 points higher than the 54% he scored with Catholics.

In his closing paragraphs, Podhoretz clarifies a final time:

"The social, political and moral system that liberals wish to transform is the very system in and through which Jews found a home such as they had never discovered in all their forced wanderings tyhroughout the centuries over the face of the earth."

Modern American Jewry has ignored this. Our proud forefathers would weep, but they'd praise 80 year-old Norman Podhoretz for such an important book.
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Showing 1-10 of 40 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 26, 2009 12:16:40 PM PDT
C. Pogeler says:
Many Evangelicals believe that Jews are indeed God's chosen people, and therefore, He will never allow Israel to be completely destroyed. So the dismissal from liberal Jews -- "Israel can take care of itself" -- is true in a sense. Great summary, interesting informtion -- but so sad.

Posted on Oct 31, 2009 9:19:46 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 22, 2011 12:47:54 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 9:26:35 PM PST
Book Lover says:
Because Jews can think for themselves and are not easily led.

Posted on Dec 16, 2009 4:44:43 PM PST
R. Klorese says:
My Jewish forefathers would vomit at Podhoretz' nonsense. They supported liberalism because of fairness and a Torah sense of communitarianism; Zionism had absolutely nothing to do with it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2009 9:24:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2009 9:24:55 AM PST
B. Matthews says:
"Zionism had absolutely nothing to do with it."

Never heard of your diaspora forefathers' cry, "Next year in Jerusalem!" Mr. Klorese?

Podhoretz is dead-on correct.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2009 4:21:25 PM PST
R. Klorese says:
Neither my family nor any other I knew thought of "L'shana haba'a b'Yerushalayim" as anything more than a hope for the coming of Moshiach. Perhaps yours saw this as a move to a modern political state, but it was not my experience.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2009 2:19:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2009 2:21:09 AM PST
Becoming.... says:
They were born to be Jews. God made them distinct. God LOVES His children, the Jews first, then the Gentiles. Praise God we are grafted in because of Yeshua the Messiah.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2010 3:01:24 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2010 3:02:34 AM PST
Todd Krieger says:
"My Jewish forefathers would vomit at Podhoretz' nonsense. They supported liberalism because of fairness and a Torah sense of communitarianism;"

The big lie of liberalism is that it is "fair"...... The only thing "fair" about liberalism is it spreads misery...... Like the economic hard times under Obama and a liberal-run congress. (Some might blame Bush, but that's for another discussion.) The question is how miserable do people have to be in order to realize this false "fairness"......

I also question the notion that "communitarianism" is promoted in the Torah, for such claim clashes with the capitalist traditions of the Jewish people, going back to days long before the United States was founded. It is jealousy toward succeeding as capitalists that is at the very core of anti-Semitism.

Posted on Jan 29, 2010 7:15:17 AM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2010 8:33:47 AM PST
NA Miles says:
This might be the dumbest comment I have ever read. Liberal Jews vote against their nation and religion's best interests because they live in a bubble and have NEVER thought for themselves.

As for Rush, I dont listen to him, nor do most. I read 100 blogs per day -- you've never heard of any because you dont read anything but the NY Times.

Liberal Jews are arrogant and bigoted toward religious Christians too.
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