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It’s Past Time For American Jews To Abandon The Democrat Party

The choice is easy and clear-cut: One side in this argument is just, right, and moral; the other is dissimulating, immoral, and evil.

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This past week I listened to a podcast in which Bari Weiss, the former New York Times reporter, was interviewing Sheryl Sandberg, who has served as COO for Meta (Facebook), been a C-suite exec for Google, and was Lawrence Summers’ chief of staff in the Clinton administration. Both women are of Jewish heritage.

Weiss has distinguished herself for taking on woke narratives and criticizing those applying a double standard to Israel for actions in Gaza, as well as those who deny or rationalize the atrocities of Oct. 7. Sandberg produced a documentary, “Screams Before Silence,” that is a powerful and moving account, which includes interviews with survivors and first responders, of Oct. 7 and its aftermath. It can be found on YouTube, and I highly recommend it.

Both women are supportive of Israel in the present conflict; they are disappointed and appalled at the antisemitism that has surfaced in the United States, the world, and various NGOs; they disapprove of Israel and Israelis being held to a standard of evidence that wouldn’t apply to other nations and people. Of note, both expressed a sense of betrayal and abandonment by leftists who were formerly allies.

Late in the interview, Weiss brought up politics and asked Sandberg, “Will you be donating to Biden this cycle and supporting Biden?”

Sandberg responded, “I did donate, and I do support.”

You could hear the discomfort in her voice; it was as if she wished she’d not been asked the question and was slightly embarrassed with her answer. It seemed to me a negation of everything she had said in the first 30 minutes of the interview.

This is a woman who put her reputation, friendships, money, and efforts on the line to support Israel in what is arguably its darkest hour. But despite an overwhelming amount of Jew-hatred coming from the left in America, despite a president and administration doing everything possible both diplomatically and militarily to blunt Israel in Gaza, Sheryl Sandberg (in what I suspect will be a representative example of most secular Jews in the coming election) could not break through the denialism enveloping her.

Instead, she talked about listening to one another and educating people, as if understanding and greater knowledge are the keys to a nuanced acceptance that kidnapping, torture, rape, and murder are wrong. She was lost in babble, unable to distinguish her friends from her enemies.

A little further on in the interview, Weiss, outlining the position of many women on the left, said something as astonishing as it was clarifying: “[T]here’s one group of people who I detest on their domestic policy, but I really like what they’re saying in terms of, you know, the women that are being held hostage right now by Hamas. And there’s another group of people who are completely silent on this foreign issue that feels extremely intimate to me, but have policies that I really like on things like choice and abortion.”

Dear God.

“Detest.” One group of people is detestable. Even though those she detests are not the ones cheering on kidnapping, torture, rape, and murder, when both groups are placed upon the voting scale, apparently, their differences are nearly indiscernible. One thing seems sure, the detestable group supports a law that means there are some states, in which Weiss will never live, where she would find it more difficult, or even impossible in later stages, to have an abortion. And this is to be considered and weighed against the other group who won’t condemn, but in some instances will openly support, barbarians who would kidnap, torture, rape, and murder Weiss because she is Jewish. Evidently, the choice is a difficult one.

Bari Weiss should be unequivocally admired for both her courage and her intellect, but her judgment, as with that of Sheryl Sandberg, is wanting because it’s ossified.

Yet the same perspective is deeply entrenched among Jews across the United States. In 1916, Warren Harding won a 43 percent plurality of the Jewish vote. That was the last presidential election in which a Republican candidate got more votes from Jews than the Democrat. It should come with an asterisk because Eugene Debs, a socialist, ran third-party and received 38 percent of the Jewish vote. In short, Democrats, for more than 100 years, have been able to count on unwavering support from Jews.

But the post-Oct. 7 tidal wave of antisemitic and anti-Israel protests on school campuses and in blue cities paired with the Biden administration’s arm-twisting of Israel to negotiate with Hamas (including withholding some munitions needed to fight terrorists in Gaza) has led many people to wonder if Joe Biden and Democrats will be able to count on the continued fealty of secular Jews. (Orthodox Jews are a different story, but they make up a small minority of the Jewish vote.)

The upheaval in universities absolutely has politically leftist roots; street demonstrators have been shown to have financial ties to leftist billionaires; and Joe Biden, facing a neck-and-neck race with Trump in Michigan, is attempting to placate that state’s Muslim voters by strong-arming Israel.

If you’re an American Jew with a background of multigenerational support for Democrats, but you believe caring about Israel is either “essential” or “important” to being a Jew, does this make for a conflict of allegiances? I’m neither a Jew nor a leftist, but I’d have thought the answer was no. Still, even though there have been a few notable defections (such as David Sacks supporting Donald Trump), the choice is evidently more difficult than I’d imagined.

But Judaism in America will not survive without Israel, and Israel will not survive without the support of America’s Jews. I want to say to Sandberg and Weiss and all liberal Jews in a liminal position, this is not a Hobson’s choice, but it is easy and clear cut: One side in this argument is just, right, and moral; the other is dissimulating, immoral, and evil. Shake the scales from your eyes. Allow your logic to travel to its proper conclusion. Do what you know is right.

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