Thursday, August 17, 2006

Is the Jewish Left Opening Its Eyes?

It is no secret that the majority of American Jews are liberals - at least above a certain age. I have heard, though, from family members in America that this past war with Hizballah has changed a lot of people's opinions.

Westbankpapa pointed out this article in Opinionjournal which just affirms this view. Read the whole thing - and send it on to your liberal friends!

There has been an awakening on the Israeli left also, as I have written before. On the other hand, there are still plenty of left wing thinkers who refuse to see what is right in front of their faces - and continue to lay the blame for the lack of peace in the Middle East strictly on Jewish shoulders. I won't link to them, but if you really want to you can look at the editorial section of Haaretz - the left sidebar. Don't forget the antacid first.


Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Just wait for tomorrow's full page ad in Haaretz in honor of Dan Chalutz. I don't think the left is waking up...just the center.

4:47 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

Hmm. Some of what he said resonates in terms of what I've seen and heard since the war began. But other parts definitely don't. and don't forget that there are several types of Israeli "lefties"- same as "righties" in fact- you have everything from the fervent dyed-in-the-wool believers, the trend-followers, the dreamers, the head-in-the-clouds-ers, the tachlis-talkers, and plenty of disillusioned swingers. I second Jameel- there has been a polarization, a shift towards the center or even further to the left. So with that in mind, I think you can remain pretty hopeful for some semblance of greater unity around the center- although while remaining respectful and non-judgemental about the personal journeys people undergo in order to get to that place of unity.

7:04 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

Also I *really* don't like the use of "waking up". But I'll not pick that battle for now ;-)

7:05 PM, August 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Hi, WBM. It's been a while.)

I agree w/ Jameel - that's just the center coming to its senses.

Like an alcoholic that "hits bottom", a Leftist has to fall pretty far before he admits failure. And like alcoholics, only a fraction of those who suffer from their affliction actually do "recover."

In the last century millions of Leftists didn't have the privilege of writing op-ed articles to the WSJournal to profess their new awakening: they were hauled off to gulag and concentration camp en masse. While it's good to hear what he has to say, Mr. Rosenbaum may not know how good he has it and that, I bet, is as good as it gets with a man of the Left.

7:30 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ooo, I read OJ, but missed that one since it was Shabbos. Thanks. Good piece...

Also, even on Ha'aretz, I believe there was an editorial recently calling for Olmert's resignation. "Either don't go to war, or do it right."

The fringe left will never come around, and trying to convince them is simply a waste of time. (I'd argue that the far-right is equally out of touch with reality.) But what is worth the time is discussion with leftists such as Tafka PP, people who think and discuss issues with logic. It's the center and center-left which is "coming around", because they're not stupid: They've disagreed in the past, with their own reasons. We may not have liked those reasons, but they weren't doing so out of hate. Now, when it appears that their approach has not worked and more and more stories become public, the slow shift to the right begins to appear.

8:01 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger bec said...

i'm going to have to go with the majority here. there are always a certain number of folks who can be swayed to a more moderate point of view. for years i was democrat, then a "moderate" democrat, currently an independent, and the next election that i'm in the US for, i'll probably vote republican down the line. but not everyone on the left is this rational. i know a few hardcore jewish liberals (and i will forward the article to them) but my guess is that this will have little or no impact.
i think (hardcore) jewish liberalism is extremely dangerous, since many of these folks (or at least the ones i know) are practically blind to rising antisemitism, or believe that it will never affect them, and that israel is great--but not for them, and "please stop the israelis from attacking the innocent arabs." it's sickening and as far as my experiences have proven (at least in terms of jewish liberals in the US) these folks are incurable.

however, the article was great!

11:02 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger steve said...

Bec is correct.While it is quite true that the tide is moving away from Jewish Leftists (GOP has doubled Jewish vote since 1988,12%to 25%) and that it will continue as the older folks die off, those who remain on the left are Liberals first and Jews second.The anti-Semitic tone of the hard left may trouble them a bit, but it will not change their knee-jerk voting patterns. Besides, they know that religious Christians support Israel strongly, and they couldn't ally themselves with THOSE people!

That said, there is slow movement away from the Left on the part of US Jews.

11:30 PM, August 17, 2006  
Blogger Fares said...

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7:05 AM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

jameel - the problem now is how you define the "left" and the "center"

tafka - I understand why you don't like the term "waking up" and I can see that it has deragatory connotations. At the same time, please understand why we use it. We use it because we feel that there is a real danger out there, and those who do not see the danger are sleeping - and therefore vulnerable. At a time when we think that everyone needs to lend a hand in fighting this danger, sleeping people are annoying!

jeremayakovka - nice to see you again! I think a lot of people, not just leftists, were hauled off to the gulag and concentration camps.

ezzie - wow, I found something that Ezzie missed! Do I get a prize?

bec - I am seriously concerned about the anti-Semitism that this latest war is going to unleash - even in places like America

steve - I also voted Democrat in every election until I moved to Israel. Then I didn't bother to vote - until the last one where I voted for Bush.

10:59 AM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

WBM- I completely understand your use of the term: In fact, one day P"G when we meet I'll tell you a story from my "old" days which cemented my understanding of the term- and probably goes some way to explain why I don't like it...

1:11 PM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

ezzie - wow, I found something that Ezzie missed! Do I get a prize?

Yeah, you get to take over the roundups. :)

6:10 PM, August 18, 2006  
Blogger BBJ said...

Defining left and liberal is hard, because they imply such different things to different people. This is my American version:

I am a self-identified liberal. I vote Democrat, am concerned with civil rights, and believe that a society is obligated to provide a certain level of support and services to the people who form it, to the extent that its resources allow. I believe that separation of church and state is an absolute necessity in a multicultural society. I support security above reflex warfare, and believe that we should get the heck out of Iraq, although I was more conflicted a couple of years ago. On occasion I imitate the guy from the Simpsons episode--"Ah'm the last living Demmycrat! Tax and spend! Tax and spend!"

I am more centrist on crime issues, and certainly as regards Israel. This is not an unusual profile for an American Jew.

What does that make me? I've been accused of being a fringe lefty, by people who obviously have never met a fringe lefty. (I have.) Fringe lefties think I am a complacent dupe of the U.S./Zionist Accord. I am aware of the anti-Semitism of the far left, (I live right north of Berkeley) but anyone who thinks that's normative in mainstream Democratic circles is badly misinformed.

What I am, actually, is a representative of a block of U.S. voters that probably covers about--what?--forty-five percent of the voting population. We're not crazy, we're not stupid, and we're not extremists. We were called liberals once upon a time.

Israel is a different issue altogether, because Israel's political and social issues are altogether different. Just matters like government financial support--it's just different. New ball game.

11:50 PM, August 19, 2006  
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