Monday, September 26, 2011

ZionTruth Has Some Words

ziontruth said...

Karma, as an Israeli for most of my life, I may be displaying ignorance (or just not being up-to-date), but I think the problem Jews have with American politics is it's a package deal.

You know about the Israeli Jews' rightward shift. When the J14 demonstrations broke out in Israel, in protest of privatization that left many people without the means to afford even rent, observers outside Israel from the Left and Right alike were puzzled: If Israel has shifted right, said the American right-wingers, how is it hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews are demonstrating for the continuation of the socialist welfare state? Conversely, the American left-wingers asked, if Israeli Jews are overwhelmingly left-wing, as the J14 demonstrations show, how is it they're so hawkish on their relations with the Arabs?

As an insider, the answer is obvious: "Left" and "Right" in Israel aren't package deals; the massive rightward shift among Israeli Jews in the 2000s was only about the Jewish–Arab conflict, not economics. So you easily get a hybrid left-on-ecomonics, right-on-foreign-policy Israeli Jewish public.

But in America it looks like a package deal. "Right-winger" means the whole shebang of hawkish foreign policy, fiscal conservatism and (though less so ever since 2008) social conservatism; "left-winger" means socialism, blame-America-first and increasingly anti-Zionism all integrated into one big box.

So there's an American Jew who realizes, like you've done, that the "Progressive" Left is getting to be antithetical to Jewish well-being, but he still believes in the welfare state. If he were an Israeli Jew, he'd have no problem: Defect to the Right in foreign policy matters, keep going to pro-socialist demonstrations on the economy. But an American Jew is in a bind: Hybrid politics, it seems to me, aren't appreciated in the U.S. of A.

Just my 2 agorot.


  1. I think that you can get away with it in the US, but you need to tread more lightly than I tend to.

    Thanks for the very interesting analysis.

  2. I found this pretty astute and interesting as well. I think he probably mischaracterized the progressive left, as a whole, with the "he still believes in the welfare state" part. I don't think that is now, or ever has been, part of the progressive left agenda. True socialism isn't a meaningful part of the progressive platform. (hahaha, progressive platform.) That's more a figment of the imagination of the conservative right, where $1 more in taxes is redistribution of wealth, and extended unemployment benefits = nanny state.

    But otherwise very true. We have conservative and liberal representation within the 2 parties. Or probably more accurate, functionally we have conservative and moderate. Our dear friend madscientist was right (or at least i'm pretty sure it was him.), that Obama is probably the most liberal president we've had in the last 50 (100?) years. And overall, he's a smidgen to the left of center. Maybe.


  3. Glad to hear I wasn't talking nonsense. I mean, if I can forget how to picture U.S. units (inches, pounds, degrees Fahrenheit) with the passage of time, I could just as well get clueless about American politics after so many years.

  4. Actually, ziontruth, your take on American politics seems to me better than that of most Americans, who are mostly ill-informed - mainly due to a media who are well paid to keep it that way.