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Jewish Democrats and Republicans Live in Vastly Different Worlds

They don’t just have differing views on economic or foreign policies, they are convinced that their opponents are evil and bound to destroy America.
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July 21, 2020

I spent July 19 listening to what was billed as “A Virtual Town Hall Discussion on Central Issues Facing the Jewish Community in 2020,” sponsored by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).

I doubt whether many of my fellow dyed-in-the-wool Democrats listened, which was probably just as well because their blood pressure would have skyrocketed. What depressed me most was the realization that Jewish Republicans and Democrats in this country don’t just differ in their political views, they live in different worlds.

They don’t just have differing views on economic or foreign policies, they are convinced that their opponents are basically evil, devoid of intelligence and bound to destroy America as we know it.

Granted, political rhetoric has been heated in this country since the days of George Washington, but I somehow thought that among Jews trying to persuade other Jews to come over to their political side, there would be some concessions that the views of the other side were not entirely sponsored by the devil.

I presume — more in sorrow than in anger — that if the discussion had been sponsored by the Democratic Jewish Committee, I would have heard the same arguments, but with a 180-degree thrust. 

Given all that, I still thought that as a minority within a minority — and given the subdued title of the event — the Jewish Republicans might seek possible converts through friendly persuasion rather than smashing the other side’s idols. The chasm between the two parties is personified by — who else? — President Donald Trump. To the Republicans, and according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump is the modern-day Cyrus the Great, the ancient Persian monarch who freed the Jewish captives in Babylon and returned them to their homeland.

To the Democrats, he is an archvillain, without a single redeeming feature: a weak, corrupt man who would be better off in a mental rehab institution than the White House.

The RJC assembled a formidable quartet for the July 19 online event, consisting of former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.), radio personality Mark Levin and RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks, who served as moderator. 

As Hollywood knows, every hero must have an antagonist who is a villain, that role fell first to former President Barack Obama.

The event’s slogan, repeated endlessly by each pundit, was “President Trump is the greatest friend Israel ever had in the White House” (forget Harry what’s-his-name, who midwifed Israel’s birth in 1948).

In addition, Haley noted, Trump had been right on every issue, from controlling the coronavirus to standing up to China and to dealing with riots in American cities.

During a pre-recorded Q&A session, a woman from Houston worried that some of her Jewish friends were put off by Trump’s tough talk, brusque behavior and reportedly bad behavior toward women. In response, Haley and others noted that the president may be tough “but he is dealing with tough issues … look what he has done for the economy, jobs, families and small business …. Biden may have a nicer way of talking, but in the end, who is going to give us a better country and who recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?”

Along similar lines, Coleman said he initially was anti-Trump, but in the end, we should judge the president for what he has done for the economy, for families and for small business.

Since, as Hollywood knows, every hero must have an antagonist who is a villain, that role fell first to former President Barack Obama, then the Democratic Party and finally former Vice President Joe Biden. Noting that some had wrongly accused Trump of harboring anti-Semitic feelings, Brooks labeled Trump America’s “first Jewish president,” while Levin said that an anti-Israel attitude could be found in only one party: the Democratic Party.

Auburn University men’s basketball Coach Bruce Pearl asked in the Q&A session what the U.S. government’s position on Israel should be. Levin responded that Judea and Samaria were the original historical home of the Jewish people. He concluded by asking Pearl if Pearl would advocate returning the Louisiana Purchase to France.

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