In the 2008 election, 78 percent of Jewish voters supported Mr. Obama, and surveys have suggested that most continue to back his policies.
Jeremy Ben-Ami, the founder of a Washington lobby known as J Street, the latest of several organizations representing the voice of liberal Jews who support Israel but not all its policies, said many people have long felt ignored or silenced by the pro-Israel establishment in the United States.
“People are tired of being told that you are either with us or against us,” he said. “The majority of American Jews support the president, support the two-state solution and do not feel that they have been well represented by organizations that demand obedience to every wish of the Israeli government. If you had taken their word for it, Obama should have gotten 12 percent of the Jewish vote. But he got 80. That should say something.”But Professor Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist at Hebrew Union College in Manhattan who co-wrote a study last year charting a steep decline in attachment to Israel among younger Jews, said the younger and liberal-leaning are frustrated at being labeled “anti-Israel” or even anti-Semitic for expressing opposition to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The questions that Jews are now facing are rooted not in being for or against Israel, but in the shadings of difference over how to achieve peace, and the complexities of the relationship between Israel — a state whose government is now dominated by nationalist and ultrareligious politicians — and the predominantly liberal-leaning and secular base of Jewish support in the United States.
Friday, May 7, 2010
A Jewish Generation Gap?
This article from today's New York Times is quite good, especially because I can relate 100% to it. In my Jewish family, criticizing Israel is the same as saying you support Hitler. But as the article points out, younger Jews do not share the views expressed as those of the "American Jewish Community" which is typically older and more conservative. A few key quotes: