In 2004, I broke the Jewish Establishment's informal code of silence and went public about the inevitable impact of massive illegal immigration, by far the greatest part Mexican, on the interests of Americans who are Jews, warning over time it would erode if not altogether nullify Jewish political clout. Being a messenger of bad tidings is never enviable: one's metaphorical fate is to be shot. However, the news was long overdue, and someone had to deliver it. I went ahead, though I knew I'd almost undoubtedly play the role of Cassandra: predict the future and not be believed, and worse. I expected to be viewed as an alarmist, but I didn't hesitate to emphasize the all-too-familiar historical consequences of Jewish powerlessness. (See "High Noon to Midnight: Why Current Immigration Policy Dooms American Jewry".) In return, I received 15 minutes of celebrity. Making the prediction required minimal prevision; only the willfully blind could fail to see it. But since the overwhelming majority of the leadership of the Jewish Establishment is myopic-by-choice, people whose vision of reality is shaped by ideology rather than common sense, speaking the plain truth wasn't a matter of being intellectually acute so much as being prepared to accept the personal consequences of heresy. Several years of vilification followed those fifteen minutes, and I received memorable lessons in the ways of left-liberal McCarthyism.
Unremarkably, the prophecy is coming true, also unsurprisingly with particular vengeance in California where the effects of massive illegal and low-skill immigration have been most socially and economically ruinous. The once "Golden State" has turned into the nation's bird of bad omen. The damage done to Jewish political interests, admittedly a minor concern compared to other consequences, are also most obvious in Southern California, as we'll see. If the inbred, purblind Jewish Establishment still refuses to see it, the eyes of California's Jewish politicians are wide open at long last. None of which affords a scintilla of Schadenfreude. That a handful of un-elected, unrepresentative Jewish oligarchs with post-American multicultural and globalist sympathies have been complicit in simultaneously selling out what they won't permit themselves to acknowledge are their special interests while selling out those of their nation is no cause for the perverse pleasure that comes from saying, "I told you so." The stakes are too high for that.
When the Backgrounder was published the predictable happened: an immediate backlash from the Jewish Establishment, the only surprising part was that its intensity was fiercer than I'd anticipated. Wherein lay my principal offense or offenses? I'd had the great bad taste to state the obvious about looming ethnic/cultural succession. Worse, I had done it without celebrating the imaginary boon to diversity it supposedly represented (one of many allegedly unintentional consequence of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act has been to make immigrants far less diverse than before). Nor had I contented myself with neutrally chronicling the social transformation. On the contrary, I'd explicitly stated this unprecedented tsunami in immigration to America, a great part of it illegal, was not good for America or Americans who are Jews. Given the Establishment's adhesion to multiculturalism, it was especially unforgiveable that I'd lamented the demise of Jewish political clout because it was being lost to people of color, an unquestionable good according to the shameful racialist illogic of multiculturalism.
Adding insult to injury I cited a body of data from unimpeachable sources, including studies conducted by prominent pollsters commissioned by such Jewish Establishment organizations as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding showing foreign-born Hispanics have the second highest level of anti-Semitism in the world after Muslims. Moreover, these attitudes have not changed by as much as a percentage point over some 20 years of largely failed acculturation. The fact that 48 percent of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views – a constant in all the surveys – was first uncovered in a massive survey, the largest undertaken of intergroup attitudes in America ("Taking America's Pulse) done by the old National Conference of Christians and Jews with Lou Harris Associates in 1992.
Why was it outré for someone with Jewish interests at heart to question the wisdom of Jewish Establishment support for the massive, seemingly limitless immigration by tens of millions of people with high levels of anti-Semitism? The decade of the 90's, after all, witnessed the highest immigration in all US history. In addition to being branded impolitic, I'd offended the tenaciously-held Jewish Establishment's strange construction of the famous quote usually misattributed to Voltaire, "I may not agree with what this man says, but I will defend to my death his right to say it." For the Jewish Establishment, this encompasses cultivating and defending anti-Semites (its dalliance with Muslim Brotherhood legacy organizations is classic) and with selflessly advancing the interests of anti-Semites – as long as they are not White. This weird, masochistic view of civic virtue, the idea that toleration must extend to the least tolerant or "deserving," is nicely caricatured in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" when the protagonist's father, a hot tempered old-fashioned leftist who presides over an economically modest household, bitterly harangues his wife after she announces that their African-American maid has been stealing from them. In a classic instance of the Jewish inability to defend one's own interests combined with uncritical solidarity with the underdog – no matter how much the underdog may despise or hurt you – he bellows, "She's a poor woman! From whom else should she steal!?"
My iconoclasm threatened another taboo, one likely unimaginable to those who've grown up outside the Jewish community and aren't familiar with its more esoteric peculiarities. (Though I recognize almost all of them, some still leave me aghast.) I had written frankly about "Jewish interests." The unsurprising fact that Americans who are Jews share group interests will shock no one who understands individuals are socially emergent; share at least a set of common concerns/interests with the members of the groups to which they in part belong; and inter-group jockeying for influence, power and position within the rambunctious culture of American pluralism is normal. Moreover, it is even unexceptional so long as a larger sense of national belonging is paramount. When one speaks of "groups" jockeying for position, ethnic, racial, cultural, or religious ones form but a fraction of a multitude of interest groups, and all Americans are necessarily members of at least several and have a multiplicity of identities and "special" interests simultaneously.
But in the realm of American domestic policy Jewish Establishment leaders repeatedly assert (they are so invested in this delusion I suspect they believe it) that Jews act entirely on the basis of "values" with no regard for their own interests. Israel is the exception where interest has been openly acknowledged and is, or at least was, acted upon aggressively. When that's not the case – if unfortunate exceptions occur – these are to be viewed as aberrations from the unselfish ideal. That sentiment was expressed with passion in the sermon delivered at a recent High Holy Day service I attended. The post-everything rabbi noted aloud that one man in the rear of the congregation was slowly shaking his head in disbelief.
This curious and, one can't help but add, holier-than-thou attitude likely explains some of the Establishment's poor policy choices, its stance on immigration being the most salient example; the sometimes wildly counter-intuitive alliances into which it enters – its recent courtship of anti-Semitic Islamist organizations being the most flagrant example; and it would be impossible to deny it has been a factor in the demise of some of the most important intergroup relationships it has attempted to forge. The debacle of Black/Jewish relations is the most notable instance. The history of this curious phenomenon – it's arguable there never was such a thing as black-Jewish relations but rather a set of media spectacles between self-appointed leadership cadres on both sides from which ordinary members of the black and Jewish communities were excluded – and the bitter conclusion has been subjected to many differing perspectives in dozens of books, scholarly papers, and journalistic treatments by both Jewish and African-American writers. I suspect the reason for this outpouring is because the failure was experienced, on both sides, as traumatic and as final. Though I find the explanations advanced by conservative Jewish thinkers like my old friend Murray Friedman in "What Went Wrong: The Collapse of the Black-Jewish Alliance" most compelling, I can understand the view expressed by some African-American leaders that purported Jewish "lack of self-interest' was often experienced by blacks as condescending noblesse oblige.
This posturing makes Jewish Establishment organizations hopelessly incompetent, even risibly so, at what they're convinced is a particular strength: "intergroup relations." The truth is they're awful at it. Ruling out reciprocity makes the proceedings farcical: without real-world horse-trading, relationships can't be built. But the only question for the typical Jewish Establishment organization is how far it is prepared to go in sacrificing its interests and traducing its values for the sake of "coalition." Even the least acute of their interlocutors knows it, and knows how to play them for political and financial reward. During my years at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) I attended many summit meetings with representative organizations of "other groups," and I remember how our Executive Director or the leading board member present would open up the discourse by asking in essence," What can we do for you?"
The probable origin of this predilection to give away the store while asking for nothing in return is Jewish shame over material and social success in America – shame felt deeply despite the fact that the parents or grandparents of the vast majority arrived only yesterday in historical terms from East/Central Europe where they lived in extreme poverty and under systemic oppression. They now live comfortably in America only 66 years after one third of world Jewry was murdered in the Holocaust. Shame for hard won success and patriotic assimilation in the shadow of Auschwitz is impossible to understand in rational terms.
I also vividly remember one occasion when an unusually wise, sane, and grounded colleague, the late Sam Rabinove, House Counsel to the American Jewish Committee and a leading advocate of civil rights and defender of church/state separation, had the temerity to pose a question in reverse. In reply to a representative of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund who had rather aggressively sought our support for gay marriage (despite AJC's social liberalism, not a position it could take given the fact that its membership comes from all Jewish denominations, some opposed to gay marriage), Sam asked why we should support them in anything considering Lambda frequently lends its name to letters to newspapers and often lends its name to public advertisements attacking Israel for alleged abuses of human rights. It was a rare and splendid example of normalcy.
I not only savored the moment but learned from it: I never let another such meeting pass without creating discomfort (chiefly among my own colleagues) by asserting our interests, phony alliances be damned. While AJC's knee-jerk political correctness meant there were few areas of policy disagreement with organizations representing communities of color, at least I would ask, "Could you work to try to lessen the Jew-hatred in your community?" Perhaps needless to say – this occurred during our first "summit" with Latino organizations – replies to this query were composed, in roughly equal parts, of efforts to disparage the survey research upon which we relied; denial that the problem existed; a grudging commitment to do "something," the "something" always unspecified; and finally some stray throwaway clichés about "brotherhood." Speaking personally, the greatest challenge at these intergroup "summits" was to remain civil in the face of shameless mendacity.
My CIS Backgrounder also attracted attention because I’d been National Affairs Director (head of domestic policy) for the American Jewish Committee (AJC), one of the America’s most prominent and, if one were to take its self-promoting advertisements at face value, "the dean" of American-Jewish organizations. Not long after leaving AJC, I began to give public expression to my doubts about the wisdom of the traditional Jewish policy line on immigration in talks at synagogues and the local chapters of Jewish national organizations, including a forum held in Philadelphia sponsored by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the then still prominent American Jewish Congress (AJCongress). The forum was discussed in a significant piece in The Forward with the revealing title, "Community Questioning 'Open Door': Debate Raging on Immigration" (Nacha Cattan, November 29, 2002). While the article dutifully cited several leading Establishment figures arguing that communal attitudes were not undergoing a fundamental transition, it also gave prominence to a revealing piece of survey data that belied those assertions; in AJC’s Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, a standard guide to Jewish opinion on key public policy issues as well as religious and communal issues, there was, "a stark drop for maintaining current immigration numbers." In fact, "the 2001 findings showed 49% of those polled wanted numbers decreased, compared to 27% the year before."
My reputation as an apostate who had something important and interesting to say was already in the making, so it was natural that the publication of my essay engendered interest in the Jewish media. There were quite a few editorials and opinion pieces, and an unusually candid and far-sighted one by Gary Rosenblatt, editor of New York’s Jewish Week, "How wide should our doors be?" Rosenblatt’s piece was scrupulously fair in presenting the issue and citing opposing points of view. He discussed my principal concerns at length, summarized my critique of Establishment policy, and quoted me frequently. Rosenblatt did not call for a change in policy, but most important from my perspective he stated unequivocally that the issue was of great urgency to the community, that it was time to subject old allegiances to new thinking, and that serious re-examination of the question was critical. That a highly respected voice in the Jewish community was prepared to go this far represented an important opening.
Hostile reviews weren't confined to Jewish Establishment media outlets. The piece didn't fare better with Neolithic-conservative-cum -White nationalists with an unhealthy fixation on Jews. They decried my purported tribal chauvinism – the most culturally subversive to any host society because Jewish – a disqualification for my being an authentic opponent of open-borders immigration. It never seemed to occur to them – perhaps it did, but trying to skewer an uppity Jew was more satisfying – that a campaign to destroy monolithic Jewish support for open-ended immigration, or at least its appearance, was a fight worth waging in the struggle to win the immigration wars for the sake of the national interest and all Americans. But in their rush to brand me un-American and show my motives to be suspect, they overlooked the tactical good sense of my effort. Mind you, at a time when I was undergoing a difficult ideological transformation on some issues, their dislike was comforting: it reminded me I was still essentially myself, a man fundamentally at home in my own skin.
The criticism from the Jewish Establishment was more problematic because it caused practical problems. Dissenting from "comprehensive immigration reform," an avatar of that grand euphemism called "social justice" (translation: left-liberal social policy) and the most revered current deity on the altar of secular Jews' ersatz religion was regarded as treasonous. Mine was especially egregious because I'd once belonged to the Establishment. Retribution came swiftly, but not fast enough to have prevented me from letting the horse out the barn door.
Like many colleagues, friends and allies who oppose illegal and mass low-skill immigration because of the harm it inflicts on the most vulnerable fellow citizens, the damage it does to the economy, the unfair competition it represents for jobs in the worst economy since the Great Depression, the danger it poses to national security, social cohesion, and sovereignty I was subjected to leftwing McCarthyism by "my own." Those who sought to discredit me were either liberal-left activists camouflaged in rabbinical garb or apparatchiks in secular communal organizations. Not content with vigorously disagreeing with me, my good name was traduced by leading Establishment figures. I was smeared as a racist, xenophobe, and white supremacist by people who knew perfectly well the charges were preposterous, or who made them without troubling themselves to produce any evidence to support the calumnies. Even at long last when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Grand Inquisitor/piratical profiteer for political correctness, admitted it had "nothing on me," none who had soiled my name recanted or apologized.
The unkindest cut of all was that none of the Jewish leaders with whom I had worked for years and knew me well, including my former boss at the AJC, David Harris, ever had the decency to raise their voices and silence what they knew to be lies. Most insidious, and for a time a real problem, was a stealth campaign of character assassination orchestrated by Gideon Aronoff , CEO and President of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Service (HIAS), also currently chairman of the extremist open-borders identity politics group National Immigration Forum.
Aronoff's campaign, conducted with the occasional bray of support from some hack at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization which found it politic to abandon all moral decency and try to deny the Armenian Genocide, was also aided by the legal office of Hadassah, which issued orders to embarrassed local chapter chairs to bar me from speaking to members of that organization. The cause was fear of my rapidly growing influence. Of course someone might have done the correct thing and debated me. But why hazard being bested and humiliated when a smear will do?
Happily, as I've noted, the barn door had been open for some time and the horse was long gone. Before the fatwas were issued I'd already addressed well over a hundred Jewish audiences, including many local chapters of Establishment organizations, not to mention large groups at Jewish Community Centers, Conservative synagogues and Reform temples, predominantly Jewish golf clubs and retirement communities. Word of mouth and advertisements by CIS in the Jewish press have more than doubled the audiences. In fact, there is no question I have spoken to more American Jews about immigration than any other person in history – with the possible exception of Samuel Gompers.
Wherever I've spoken I encounter audiences so enthusiastic and receptive it still startles me; at every venue a clear majority, often the vast majority, supports my view. Naturally there are almost invariably relative handfuls of infuriated left-liberal universalistic diehards, usually including the local rabbi shocked by his flock's betrayal. But once the rear guard of political correctness has misquoted Leviticus for the umpteenth time, tried unsuccessfully to guilt-trip the audience with sob stories and attacked me with such viciousness that their continual breaches of civility only solidify my support they have nothing to add.
In fact, the open-border fanatics make my job much easier; I often miss them when they aren't present. When I consider what's been happening, it is not so much a matter of my making instant converts out of open-borders supporters. Rather, I've been giving voice to a new, changed consensus among Americans who are Jews, people who are fully at home, who care primarily about their fellow citizens and the national interest rather than immigrants, especially illegal ones, and who had been morally bludgeoned into silence by the ultra-liberal and unrepresentative rabbinate as well as representatives of the secular Jewish Establishment. By doing so I've helped liberate them from having to conceal their authentic views and, in effect, have given them "moral permission" to put America's interest first.
The efforts to censor me eventually sputtered and ran out of steam. It was especially hard to justify silencing me when solid survey research piled up confirming my personal experiences at the grassroots, and the invitations kept coming despite my having been excommunicated, something which only showed my opponents' powerlessness. When CIS and Zogby conducted one of the largest studies ever done on the attitudes of ordinary Americans towards immigration policy with respondents organized by religion and/or denomination, including the biggest cohort of Jews ever asked their opinion, a substantial majority of Jews took positions indicative of a strong opposition to amnesty and open-borders. Most dramatic, in a stand-alone question, fully 80% chose attrition – a policy of strict border controls combined with the tough application of internal immigration law to promote the self-deportation of illegal aliens – rather than amnesty, the overwhelming choice on the Establishment's dishonest push-polls. Not long after, AJC shocked the Jewish Establishment by gambling with a question on Arizona's SB1070 and, to its own amazement, it lost: a clear majority of American Jews supported Arizona's law. More recently, a survey by AJC shows that opponents of President Obama's immigration policy – read open-borders and creeping amnesty – clearly outpoll his supporters by a margin of seven percent.
It's undeniable the battle for a sane immigration policy is being won among ordinary Americans who are Jews – if measured by the findings in survey research, and the achievement shouldn't be minimized. But it must be understood realistically and accurately contextualized: the change has been large but undoubtedly less dramatic than it may at first appear because the baseline against which the improvement is measured is the manipulated outcome of years of Jewish Establishment push-polls. More important, even if the recent findings genuinely reflect a change in mindset on immigration among a high percentage of respondents, something my encounters at the grassroots confirm, it does not mean we have yet won the battle with this demographic.
Victory will only come when the attitudinal change registered in opinion polls translates into changed political behavior at the ballot box. If not, the erosion of Jewish political power will continue apace. If thought does not turn into action within the next few years, the issue will become academic: the modicum of Jewish political power that comes from the ballot and not wealthy donors – disproportionately on the liberal left – will be history. It is fair to say the Jewish taboo against voting Republican is beginning to yield, especially among younger, more religious voters. But it's still powerful. While it's no longer the moral equivalent of, say, pederasty, for older Jews it retains a sense of transgression. It is urgent for Jews to become comfortable with and rational about what many still regard as an existential tremendum – pulling the lever for a Republican candidate because of the importance of this issue for the interests and values of America and Americans who are Jews. There is a clear party divide over immigration, and it may actually play out boldly in the coming presidential election. If Jews cannot bring themselves to do this, they must be prepared to watch their modest political power pass to others who not only have no concern for their interests but actively dislike them and will push for other priorities in foreign aid. Chances are Hispanic power will not affect Americans who are Jews any more negatively than any other group of Americans, but the consequences for Israel could be serious.
In that case, my role as Cassandra would be doubly punishing. Apollo cursed Cassandra by granting her the gift of prophecy but not the ability to convince others her vision was true. I have helped cause the great majority to see the future more clearly, but if they were incapable of rising to its challenge by changing ingrained self-destructive habits, disaster will not be averted, even knowing what lies in store.
The most recent political dispatches from Southern California, home to America's second largest concentration of Jews, are extremely disconcerting and represent a potential augury for the future across the country. Their message is clear: they argue for a sea change in voting patterns at the earliest possible moment. In 2004, my essay predicted a major loss of Jewish political power. The chickens have come home to roost in Los Angeles County. In a recent article in Politico by Alex Isenstadt given the bluntest and most disturbing of titles: "Power Drain for Southern Calif. Jews", we learn of the tremendous, precipitous loss of Jewish political power in Southern California, once a bastion of Jewish congressional representation, including some of the most influential Jews in Congress. According to Isenstadt:
The region is on the verge of its smallest Jewish congressional delegation in more than a decade. Nearly half of the seven Southern California Jewish lawmakers who were elected in 2010 will most likely be out of office by the time the next Congress begins.
Two have announced their retirement: Jane Harman, a prominent Democrat who played a leading role on intelligence issues, resigned earlier this year to take the top position at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Democratic Rep. Bob Filner is forgoing reelection to run for San Diego mayor. Two others, Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are headed for a post-redistricting incumbent versus incumbent matchup that will leave one out of a job.
The winnowing is even taking place at the local level. During the 1990s, Los Angeles — home to the second-highest urban concentration of Jews in the country — had a half-dozen Jewish state Assembly members. That figure is now down to three, and Jewish leaders believe there could be just one Los Angeles-area Jewish state Assembly member after the 2012 elections.
The "winnowing" of Southern California's Jewish congressional delegation reveals a fascinating disconnect between the political class and the Jewish Establishment, the latter an entitled coterie that understands it mission as propitiating and appeasing every group whose skin tone is darker and which has mastered the profitable art of inculcating white guilt. Surely nothing can be easier than running this scam on wealthy or even middle class leftwing Jews who, despite their singular recent history of oppression and mass murder, are so preternaturally guilt-ridden and insecure they need to have their very right to exist periodically re-conferred upon them by people of color. That disconnect is also, and even more profoundly, a clash between "values" (however contorted by political correctness) and "interests."
The relationship between Jewish members of Congress and the Jewish Establishment is often difficult to decipher. While their politics are nearly identical and many wealthy Establishment members contribute to their congressional campaigns, it has never been entirely comfortable. Jewish members of Congress sometimes appear standoffish: reasonably enough, they don't wish to be perceived as being owned by or beholding to the Jewish lobby because of their need to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters. In my eight years at AJC it was striking how few Jewish members of Congress attended the Annual Dinner, a gala-several-day's-event in Washington often attended by the President of the United States, members of the Administration, the Prime Minister of Israel, other foreign heads of state, and a large collection of diplomats.
There's an inescapable practical tension between the two groups, but neither would be prepared to describe it as a conflict of interest. The Jewish Establishment not only celebrates the demographic transformation of America taking place on the scale of a population transfer but is also at the very tip of the spear point of the movement that facilitates it. At the same time, Jewish members of Congress from Southern California – indeed all over the country – are on the receiving end of that transformation. In Southern California they are fighting a desperate battle to hang on to incumbencies certain to be lost as a result of the very processes so vigorously aided and abetted by the Establishment. For California's Jewish congressional delegation, the politics of cultural-ethic succession are politically lethal and therefore a cause of the profoundest anxiety. In Southern California, Isenstadt points out: "Jewish leaders" are "worried." "Jewish leaders" yes, but very differently placed with regard to the demographic transition liberal opinion applauds.
To anticipate the obvious objection, among the most important makers and advocates of what passes for liberal opinion and policy, especially in the area of immigration, are those same members of Congress. Before we mourn their fate, let us remember the coming demise of Southern California's Jewish congressional delegation is arguably in large measure self-inflicted. Without a major shift in political direction, it will presage the story of Jewish political power across America. Their suicidal political behavior mirrors that of the Establishment only its impact is far more pernicious because members of Congress are infinitely more powerful players. The Jewish Establishment is just one special interest group (sorry, "values" group) among a myriad of others, and is very far from being the political Behemoth paranoid anti-Semites fantasize it is. Every member of Southern California's Jewish congressional delegation has been among the strongest supporters of "comprehensive immigration reform." All have advocated the worst kind of "immigration reform," supporting amnesty and opposing secure borders, and all have pandered shamelessly to the Hispanic vote. Having ridden the tiger they now find themselves ending up inside.
As Isenstadt writes:
To worried Southern California Jewish leaders, the losses signal a growing power drain. "We're definitely seeing a reduction in some of our numbers," said California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff. "Some of it is the natural course of things, and some of it is demographic changes in the state."
"It's absolutely a concern. For so long in Los Angeles County — just one county — there were five Jewish members of Congress," said Howard Welinsky, chairman of the Los Angeles chapter of Democrats for Israel and a top executive at Warner Bros. Entertainment. "It was just extraordinary that there were five members for as long as there was."
What, if anything, could they have been thinking? Being so close to the problem their uncritical support for open-borders immigration seems inexplicable. They never could have been in doubt about the source of their inevitable undoing: such sweeping ethnic succession caused by the "explosion" in the Latino population over the past 30 years that according to the 2010 Census it now accounts for 47.7 percent of the population of LA County – while the Jewish demographic has remained essentially constant in the neighborhood of 6-7 percent. "The big rise is in Latinos," Raphael Sonenshein, a California State University, Fullerton political scientist who focuses on Jewish voting behavior, told Politico. "It's the most important factor in the changing politics of Southern California." Why didn't they read the tea leaves? Worse, why did they ring the changes on? They sacrificed their political power on the altar of political correctness. A transformation of this unparalleled scale was not inevitable, especially the large percentage of the immigration which has been illegal. There were choices to make they refused to recognize. But rather than make reasonable distinctions and pick their fights they accommodated themselves to the change wholesale in the vain hope that appeasement would save them.
The ramifications for at least one honestly-acknowledged Jewish interest, strong support for Israel, are clear. With a handful of exceptions, even the most left-liberal Jewish members of Congress are strong supporters of Israel. Fewer Jewish members of Congress risks weakening congressional support for Israel. In the case of Southern California, it is unimaginable that the politicians of Mexican-American origin who will succeed them will accord anything approaching the same priority to Israel. Of course not all Hispanics should be lumped together: national origins, social class, party affiliation, and tighter electoral demographics, as well as personal conviction can create a wholly different situation. One of Israel's strongest supporters in Congress is Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida's 18th Congressional District, which includes large areas of South Beach, all of Miami Beach and the Keys, home to many Jewish voters. Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, her strong conservative credentials and Cuban background – Florida's Cubans remain predominantly Republican, are not deeply engaged in the immigration issue, and, as a largely middle-class and professional community have close relations with the Jewish community at the leadership, business, and community levels – makes a tremendous difference. But Cubans form a significant demographic in only two states: Florida and New Jersey, and those in New Jersey are predominantly Democratic. California's situation is far more representative of Hispanic-Jewish relations across the U.S. where the largest percentage by far is of Mexican origin, a community with little acquaintance with Jews, whose attitudes are largely shaped by a theological anti-Semitism that comes from a Mexican Catholic Church that has largely resisted the teachings of Vatican II. There are many Christian philo-Semites and even Christian Zionists in the Mexican-American community, but these are all members of the Pentecostal Movement, one of the fastest growing religious communities in the country, but one which has yet to make its potentially strong political influence felt.
In addition to competition with outside groups, there's a growing internal problem that stems from traditional Jewish adhesion to the concept of "social justice." The current incarnation of "social justice" – political correctness – is the latest ersatz-religion for liberal secular American Jews. An unavoidable truth is that "political correctness" and full-throttle support for Israel are in conflict. For years now in AJC's "Annual Survey of Jewish Opinion", most Jews continue to rank "commitment to social justice" as second only to "peoplehood" as the most important way in which they identify as Jews. "Israel" comes next and "religion" last. But how much agreement is there about what constitutes the core or essence of "social justice?" The degree to which this abstraction has morphed into a specific allegiance to political correctness – a post-American globalist multicultural worldview, most of whose supporters revile Israel – would shock most ordinary American Jews.
The worldview that is now synonymous with "social justice" throughout most of the Jewish Establishment is creating a deepening conundrum for those within it and a wrenching spectacle for those outside of it. But it's a conundrum that would be foreign, even unthinkable to most ordinary Jews. For many within the Establishment it has led to a clash of loyalties between this multicultural globalist vision and their support for Zionism – as most ordinary Jews understand it. This tension is so great it has the capacity to tear the Jewish Establishment apart, hence the focus over the last year on "Civility" by the Jewish Council for Policy Analysis (JCPA), the left-liberal umbrella organization representing the organizations within the Jewish Establishment. JCPA even asked rabbis to preach about "civility" in their High Holy Day sermons, and I listened to a particularly lame version. The debate is becoming so toxic that what JCPA regards as "the Jewish consensus" may face disintegration. For those of us that recognize that consensus as a hoax, an imaginary left-liberal fraud – JCPA represents the view of a politically correct tiny coterie and not the overwhelming majority of American Jews – the looming crisis is cause for celebration.
The "Israel problem" for Jewish leftists is compounded by the fact that Israel has long been the bête noire of "progressive" opinion worldwide. Distressing as it has been for these Jewish fellow travelers to be outside the left's global consensus, the isolation could be more easily managed before the left's hostility to Israel became as common and intense in the United States, especially on college campuses and among the left-liberal punditry, as it has been in Europe. Now, with an emerging alliance between the growing Islamist presence in America and the secular left, Jewish leftists find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. Their old loyalty to Israel makes them suspect in the eyes of their natural allies, and Israel's refusal to kowtow to hypocritical, cynical, and largely manufactured "world opinion" and its well-founded distrust of the leftist NGOs left-liberal Jews regard as angelic makes public expressions of support for the Jewish state increasingly embarrassing to them. It is, alas, not just a matter of outward perceptions; they are beginning to question this ancient loyalty in ways that would strike most strong supporters of Israel as treasonous.
Most Establishment leadership remains faithful to Israel's security, its identity as a Jewish state, and is loath to take positions at odds with Israel's democratically elected government – once the official policy of most Jewish organizations – but things are changing, something no one within the Establishment with a shred of honesty would deny. A growing number of organizations inside the Establishment such as the New Israel Fund and other recipients of significant financial support from George Soros and other biologically Jewish billionaires on the globalist left are so stridently critical of Israel, so blatantly pro-Palestinian, and so anti-Zionist they can be fairly characterized as a Fifth Column. Debates have become explosive, and a civil war within the Jewish left cannot be ruled out. Thus, at a time when Israel faces dangers unprecedented even in light of its purgatorial history as a small nation besieged within non-defensible borders; which has fought six wars with neighboring states, half launched to extinguish its existence; which has been a main target of unrelenting terrorism; which has been cynically branded a pariah state, automatic Muslim majorities in the UN Human Rights Commission guaranteeing it's been defamed for more alleged violations of human rights than any other country on earth; whose national ideology has been branded as "racist" by the UN General Assembly; which has endured continuous assaults on its legitimacy as a sovereign state; and, far worse, continual threats of annihilation – it cannot even count on the full support of the Jewish Establishment.
Conditions on the ground are deeply worrying. The much-heralded "Arab Spring" has turned out as the most skeptical foresaw: the Islamists have emerged from the shadows and will likely become the governing parties across the Arab world, with the US mainstream press certain to begin defining which of the "Islamists" are truly "moderate." Israel's short-lived connection with Turkey has become so fraught it may require the intervention of the 6th Fleet to forestall an outbreak of military hostilities between them; Iran's quest to arm itself with nuclear weapons continues apace; the Sinai has become an anarchic zone where terrorist groups have established themselves, including Al Qaeda, and into which enormous quantities of advanced armaments from Libya have been flowing. Almost as worrying as Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon, the political situation in Egypt is so volatile that while unlikely one cannot rule out Egypt's return to the rejectionist front.
The bleakest conclusion of all is recognizing the common source from which these realities stem: immutable Muslim Jew-hatred which has no historical precedent or parallel in intensity or scale. The Pew Research Center's "Global Attitude Survey" for 2008 – before the Arab Spring and the strong expressions of anti-Semitism that have accompanied it – finds that across the Muslim patrimony the percentage of people without strongly hostile views of Jews is in the single digits. This hatred derives directly from the violently anti-Semitic Qur'an and the religious indoctrination Muslims receive in madrasah which is amplified by every organ of opinion and every official as well as informal institution within Islamic societies. Barring an inconceivable Reformation or Enlightenment, Islam and Islamic societies will remain the global incubators of annihilationist Jew-hatred.
At the time when Israel needs America more than ever – and that means rock-solid support in Congress to offset a feckless, untrustworthy Obama administration – the Jewish Establishment and Jewish members of Congress made political correctness on domestic policy a higher priority. Rather than stand up for their own rational self-interest, they have chosen to play the old discreditable part of the Court Jew who seeks to appease any power perceived as on the ascendant and seeks an accommodation with it, even it amounts to no more than crumbs and even if it threatens the interest of the nation as a whole.
Staunch supporters of Israel would be well-advised to look for true friends beyond the increasingly leftist and likely moribund Jewish Establishment and the overwhelmingly liberal and therefore intervention-averse liberal Jewish members of Congress. Perhaps, in the final analysis, the loss of those Jewish congressional seats in Southern California isn't cause for mourning: it might constitute a teachable moment for Jewish members of Congress elsewhere. In any case, for those concerned with the defense of Israel's interests, conservative Christians can be counted upon to do a better job than either the rudderless Establishment or Obama-worshipping Jewish Democratic members of Congress.