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Hardcover Why Are Jews Liberals? Book

ISBN: 0385529198

ISBN13: 9780385529198

Why Are Jews Liberals?

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Book Overview

For the first time, this study examines the full range of spatial expression used in the Hittite world through a fruitful combination of insights from Hittitology, cognitive linguistics, and Indo-European studies. The volume includes an introduction to the field as well as annotated and translated texts, thus making it accessible to a heterogeneous audience.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The American Jewish Community Should Knight Norman Podhoretz

This book is immensely topical. Here we have the Israeli interception of Turkish "peace mission" ships, and outrage from New York to London to Istanbul to Riyadh to the UN. The Obama Administration, an administration voted in by +75% of American Jews, by chiding Israel, in essence sides with the terrorist-sponsored "peace" mission. It seems that most American Jews, and certainly the liberal press, think Israel went too far. From reading "Why are Jews Liberals," I would not be surprised if most Reform Rabbis criticize Israel and if most Orthodox Rabbis support her for intercepting those ships in international waters. Therein lies the essence of Podhoretz's work--that most American Jews today do not vote as the Torah may command, but as Liberalism may command. Liberalism is defined as "social justice." And the way Israel treats the Palestinians, to too many liberals, is just abhorrent. All these ships were trying to do was deliver supplies to an oppressed people, say the liberals. What they miss is the ships also carried cement to build more tunnels to transport arms from all the enemies of Israel to the Palestinians. Podhoretz shows how misguided too much American Jewish thought, and too many American Jewish voters, have become. While it is true that social justice issues were important to our ancestors who traveled to America, the social justice agenda has been hijacked to aid Israel's enemies, and unwittingly too many American Jews have gone along. Thank you, Mr. Podhoretz, for elucidating the shameful state of American Jewish politics.


This book gives detailed insite into why so many Jews are liberals. It is a great book and helped me understand some of the frustations I have had with the way they vote,knowing we have stood behind them in Israel as the only Democratic state in the Middle East.

Lived up the hype

I was rather excited to read this book and was not disappointed. Has a fairer, more important, more anticipated book been written on religion, politics or history? Not in my 30+ years. This book lived up the "hype." While balanced, Norman Podhoretz traces his journey -- one many of us have taken as we mature and think on our own -- from Democrat/liberal to Republican/neo-Conservative, and is quite honest on both sides. While the legendary Commentary editor examines the roots of anti-Semitism historically and currently, he blames the Right as well, even into the latter half of the 20th century. {I did not realize that his personal switch occurred (forgetting Commentary was once a left-leaning rag ...before my time) when he continuously realized Israel's enemies not only resided on the Statist Left, but also that it was the pseudo-peaceniks who showed zero interest in Judaism or condemning anti-Semitism/anti-Zionism, and wrongly lent their time to the mundane, "feel good" topics of civil rights, integration, housing. They felt "Israel can take care of itself." I hear that from self-loathing, Democrat-voting "Jews" weekly.} Essentially, Podhoretz looks at the reasons Jews adhered to liberalism beginning with the persecutions of Christianity, such as European disenfranchisement of Jews, dearth of civil liberties, freedoms, expulsions, the Inquisition, and the shtetls of the modern world to the horrific Dreyfus Affair in France, ending with rise of Nazism and the Holocaust. He therefore factually recalls that when Jews came to America, they aligned themselves with the Democratic Party because of its close resemblance to the disingenuous left-leaning Europeans (their 'friends' still today), who favored the emancipation of the Jews. He looks at Harry S. Truman as basically the last Zionist Democrat (FDR was not, JFK not so much either, LBJ no way) who recognized Israel and thus won more Jews' support. Concluding, he rightly traces modern Democratic attitudes toward Israel as hostile, contrasting to Republicans (aside from the occasional remnant of 1940s Isolationism lunacy like Ron Paul, Bob Novak or James Baker) who, from Eisenhower and Nixon to Reagan and Bush Jr., have supported Israel with great fervor since the Six-Day War in 1967. The book is very nicely divided into two distinct sections of the "how" and "why they still are..." in terms of liberal Judaism. N-Pod explains the faux-justifications, but sentiently muses sadly as to why the Jews are so beholden to a party so antithetical (or apathetic) to their best interests. He has stats, voting records, anecdotes and more. It is all extremely well-written and crafted even-handedly. The vapid left ignored all this then and will do so now. I read David Brog's "Standing with Israel," about Evangelical support for the Jewish State, concomitantly, which again proves beyond a doubt the irony that Christian Zionists are truly Israel's most hated friends. This is another vital topic explaining

No Good Answer

This book is both interesting and informative. However, it does not satisfactorily answer the question why Jews are liberals. The author gave a very abridged history of the Jews to illustrate why the deep mistrust Ashkenazic Jews had for the ruling powers of Europe and for the Christian Church - in short, the right. This, together with the traditional Judaic teaching, does reasonably explain why Jews tended to be on the left side of the political order. The author admits to be as perplexed as the next person as to why, given a vastly different political, economical and religious context - here in today's America - Jews are still overwhelmingly liberal (and a reliably Democratic voter). He posits various "theories" served up by many students of the subject, but none really quite up to the task (of rationally explaining the anomaly.) Thus, in exasperation, he gave up by serving up the "Jews are politically stupid" line, which is what most people are forced to light-heartedly conclude. Podhoretz's book was written not to answer the question which entitled the book - as there is not a good answer - but to hopefully provoke the vast majority of American Jewry into searching thoughts on why they are, to their detriment, stuck in a dogma that was formed from circumstances of the past, admittedly a very long and bitter past, but that have now evolved to be so different. The book is, again, interesting and informative. As a philo-semite (if there is such a thing), I have been perplexed by this question for a long time. This book provides invaluable insight on the subject because it is from the heart and mind of a Jew, a very intelligent, accomplished and influential one, who more or less tells his life story in his quest for an answer.

Thought Provoking

Podhoretz, Norman. "Why Are Jews Liberals?", Doubleday, 2009. Thought Provoking Amos Lassen I do not think I have ever questioned my liberalism; I suppose I have always taken it for granted like having two arms. It is kind of like the way it's supposed to be, I guess. Now Norman Podhoretz takes an in depth look at the question of Jews and liberalism and I enjoyed the book but am not sure I really learned anything new. Podhoretz rejects conventional wisdom and gives us some new original and thought provoking ideas that are so interesting that it was not easy to stop reading (even to get a cup of coffee). He starts on the first page delving into Jewish liberalism and he does not let up. Podhoretz looks at the atrocities of the world that he says pushed Jews to liberalism and to the Left beginning with the persecutions of medieval times by the world of Christianity and moves to the various blood libels, the expulsions and the Inquisition and the ghettos of the modern world to l'affaire Dreyfus" and the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust. Moving on he shows that when Jews came to America they aligned themselves with the Democratic Party because of its close resemblance to the left-leaning Europeans who favored the emancipation of the Jews. Moving on into modern times he looks at the way opposition to Nazism and Hitler came into being and the fact that in 1948 Harry S. Truman, then president of the United States recognized Israel and thus won more Jews to the democratic political spectrum. However, he does make note of the fact that Democratic attitudes toward Israel range from unsympathetic to hostile and that Republicans have supported Israel with great fervor since the Six-Day War in 1967. Podhoretz gives us his interpretation of the Jewish Left but I find his opinion to waver a bit--he does not seem to be too sure of where he is going and he rarely states anything but the obvious. His book reads as part history and part memoir and his view of Jewish history has been done before. He lets us know that Jews were unwelcome in Europe and as part of the European Right and that alienation ensued. Did this then cause Jews to live within the limits of the law or did they choose to be different? Many felt that liberal Judaism would bring about an end to Orthodoxy and therefore the Jewish religion would become increasingly secular. Podhoretz also does not show the place of Zionism in the emerging liberalism of the Jewish people yet the quest for a Jewish land came into being as a result of the need to take on the progressivism of Europe. We also do not really see how modern Republicans fill the needs of the Jewish American community. However, throwing those ideas aside, we do get a great deal of information to think about here. What I surmise is that Podhoretz feels that the reason that Jews are liberals is because they have less to fear from the Left than from the Right. This is only part of the answer and Podhoretz has a great deal more to say on the s
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