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Israel’s Weakened Democrat Support

May 26, 2021

Growing up I had many Jewish friends due to spending my last two years in high school in Miami, Florida. And when I taught at the College of New Rochelle, in New York, I was welcomed by Irving Kristol to many events he held in New York City in the late 1970’s. I was delighted when he explained his decision to change his registration from Democrat to Republican Party. He said, “I walked in and said, ‘sign me up.’”

One of my high school classmates became a Rabbi, worked for B’Nai Brith and lives in Israel. Occasionally I attended Friday Shabbat services with him and was a guest at the wedding of his sister where I first saw an act of anti-Semitism.

During the wedding luncheon, someone threw a hubcap into the area where we were dining.

As the grandson of Armenian immigrants I knew what “terrorism” was and have been supportive of Armenia’s struggle to recover from Soviet domination and Israel’s struggles, too.

I am firmly “anti-Communist” and very concerned by Vladimir Putin’s restoration of the Russian Empire.  

My friend, the pollster Arthur Finkelstein conducted a poll in late 1970 of Jewish voters specifically to educate his conservative clients and friends about how they voted. Arthur wanted us to support Israel even if Jewish voters opposed us on every political issue that mattered.

As a result, I understand how difficult is Israel’s struggle to survive and its reliance on support of the United States. I wanted to know more and visited Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other cities including Nablus, Ramalah and Jenin.

Russian Jews who fled the Bolshevik revolution emigrated to the United States, started companies and supported free market economists at the University of Chicago.  The economist Frank Knight was the beneficiary of financial support from Chicago clothiers Hart, Schaffner and Marx.

Later Jewish dissidents from the Soviet Union enriched American’s understanding of Communism and swelled Jewish support for the state of Israel among Democrat voters.

Today it is apparent that support for Israel among Democrats has weakened and today we see many Jewish voters who do not reflexively support Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. They see “both sides” of the Israel and Palestinian conflict.

I only wish Arthur inkelstein were alive to conduct another poll.

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