TEL AVIV — A new study found that American Jews contribute half of all donations to the Democratic party and most believe being liberal is part and parcel of being Jewish.
The report, released by the Ruderman Family Foundation, finds that American Jewish liberalism is showing no signs of waning.
“American Jews are perceived as voting for Jewish interests, especially regarding Israel,” said Gil Troy, a professor at McGill University who authored the study. “However, American Jews are more pro-choice than pro-Israel when voting.”
“This doesn’t make American Jews anti-Israel, on the contrary, they perceive the Democratic Party as taking a strong pro-Israel stance, proving that progressive Zionism is not an oxymoron,” he added. “Thus, we can say that American Jews are more pro-choice than pro-Israel in the voting booth, but pro-Israel nevertheless.”
The study notes that since 1928, the overwhelming majority of U.S. Jews – around 70% – have voted for the Democrat in the presidential elections.
“Liberalism worked for Jews in the U.S. It gave them extraordinary opportunities and allowed them to enjoy political freedom,” Troy told the Jerusalem Post.
“The degree to which liberalism and liberal ideas have been good for the Jews in America helps explain why so many American Jews think liberalism and Judaism are the same,” he said.
Barack Obama received 78% of the Jewish vote in 2008 and 69% four years later. In the run-up to 2012 elections, comedian Sarah Silverman released a viral video targeting Jewish voters.
“If Barack Obama doesn’t become the next president of the United States, I’m gonna blame the Jews … I am,” Silverman said in the clip.
And I know you’re saying like, “Oh my God, Sarah, I can’t believe you’re saying this. Jews are the most liberal, scrappy, civil rights-y people there are.” Yes, that’s true. But you’re forgetting a whole large group of Jews that are not that way, and they go by several aliases. Nana, Papa, Zaide, Bubbe, plain old Grandma and Grandpa. These are the people who vote in Florida. And the Florida vote can make or break an election. If you don’t think that’s true, why don’t you think back to two elections ago when a little man named Al Gore got fucked by Florida.
The study also found that even though Jews make up only 2% of the American population, they “stand out politically because there are disproportionate numbers of Jewish office holders and Jewish activists.”
“Since the 1930s, American Jews have been woven into the fabric of the American political landscape. From civil rights to women’s rights, Jews have been on the frontier of liberal political movements, spearheading social reforms and shaping American policies from within,” it said. “Jews in America are disproportionately wealthy, charitable and politically engaged, making them critical donors standing out both among wealthy donors and among more modest mass donors.”
The “disproportionate” emphasis on the Jewish vote also hinges on Jewish donations. The study found that in this presidential race, as much as 50% of the Democratic party funds come from Jewish donors and 25% to the Republican party.
Troy said both Republican officials and scholars have been baffled by the strong connection American Jews have to the Democratic party.
“Many American Jews see their liberalism as part of their Jewish inheritance, along with rags-to-riches stories of success, candlesticks from the Old Country, and grandma’s matzoh ball recipe,” he explained.
“Understanding the Jewish vote helps explain American Jewish identity,” he added. Later in the report, he continued: “American Jewish liberalism has become a mentality, a sensibility, an ideology, a cultural identity.”