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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

THE JEWISH VOTE

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Are American Jews being taken for granted by the Democratic Party?

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Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Jewish American voters gravitated to Democratic causes and candidates. This is probably due to the social programs they support. In the 2008 presidential election, 78% of Jews voted for Barack Obama and 68% in the 2012 elections. Historically, their passion has been liberal programs and support for the Israeli state.

During last year's Israeli-Gaza Strip conflict though, Jewish voters were not quick to support Israel and tended to align themselves with the Palestinians who, it was believed, suffered the most in the conflict. Hamas was simply no match for the Israeli Army who pummeled the Palestinians for rocket attacks. During the conflict, over 2,200 people were killed, mostly Palestinians during 50 days of violence. Well known Jewish American spokesmen and women were surprisingly mum in terms of their support for the Israelis, whereas Republicans soundly endorsed Israel. This represented a significant twist in support.

Last March, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before a joint session of Congress, Democrats condemned the speech, including Jewish members, claiming it was political in intent, while Republicans supported it. There is little doubt there is a serious rift between Mr. Obama, a Democrat, and Mr. Netanyahu who often expresses conservative values. The relationship is essentially no different than what the President has with the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate.

Whereas the Democratic Party historically embraced the Jewish vote, now it appears the tide is turning. It is no secret the Democrats have embraced minorities, such as Black, Asian, and Latino voters, but there seems to be a growing resentment against the Jews in the party. I'm not sure why, perhaps antisemitism is growing in this country, as in Europe.

To illustrate, I recently received an e-mail from a die-hard Liberal Democrat who made the surprising admission, "I don't like Jews. They don't like Arabs or, for that matter, any Muslims and think Christians are wrong. Jews preach and practice hate, killing and destruction. I hate Jews."

Frankly, I was thunderstruck by the comment. This is a well educated man who practices law, not to mention a Republican basher of the first order. The fact he would openly admit this caught me completely off guard. I had heard such comments emanating from Europe, but this was the first I had heard over here, and from a loyal Democrat no less, thereby causing me to think others in the party feel likewise.

This also leads me to suspect a change is in the offing. If it is true, Republicans are more loyal to Israeli causes, and Jewish bashing is beginning to occur in the Democratic party, is it possible Jewish Americans will abdicate the party they so proudly served for so many years? Maybe the elders of the Jewish community are beginning to re-think their party loyalty.

The comment from my Democrat acquaintance may be an isolated incident, but it was so strong I cannot help but believe others like him support it. Nobody likes being taken for granted, particularly Jewish voters. I cannot help but believe a change is in the offing as we head into the 2016 elections.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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