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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Jews and politics

    I'm posting this here because I envisage it being more about spirituality/religion than politics.

    I've been reading Martin Buber and in particular a book called Paths in Utopia which is pretty socialist, I started reading Buber because I'd pretty much read all of Eric Fromm, Fromm is very influenced by his Jewish background and like Buber also with socialist leanings (Fromm considered it the latest in a line of vehicles including Judahism and Christianity what he considered the divinity of humanity).

    There are lots of examples of Jewish communities and communitarianism naturally leaning towards socialistic and anarchistic ideas, I think Chomsky shows the same influences as Fromm and Buber but in his interviews he's consistently said he's an enlightenment thinker instead, there's a great deal of it is a legacy of spirituality and religion but also practical experience too. Having to remain independent of government or wealth or the establishment because of either persecution or practical seperatism.

    However, most of the neo-cons since before the Bush administration and definitely since have been Jewish, the politics of Israel and most of the Jewish communities internationally are not commonly depicted as having any left inclination at all.

    Lots of the entries on Wiki which would have reflected the left wing history of jews like the Jewish Bund movement during the war which opposed Zionism, even before its collaborationist tendencies, have been removed.

    Does anyone think that there's a politically left or right wing tendency, legacy, past or trend within Jewish religious or cultural identity? What about relative to other religious or cultural identities such as Christianity?

  2. #2
    libtard SJW chickpea's Avatar
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    i can't speak for all jews, my father's side of the family is jewish though and are all liberal. i think i know a couple of fiscally conservative jews, but as a whole i think we're stereotypically left-leaning.

    as far as christianity's effect, there are way too many denominations and different types to draw any conclusions, but obviously fundamentalist christians tend to be conservative, especially socially.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MoneyTick's Avatar
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    Well, I'm 25% Jewish (which does not make me officially Jewish per se) and I'd sit on the right side of the aisle, as a moderate conservative. However, your thesis does correspond with the political orientations of all of my Jewish associates and friends - they're all liberal. In fact, I've never met (from a superficial assessment) a single conservative Jew.

    Given that Jews constitute the majority of billionaires in the world proportionally (and the wealthy are stereotypically perceived as being the extremist conservative/capitalist type) it's definitely entangled in paradox.
    got chaos?

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    Senior Member celesul's Avatar
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    So, I'd say that 99% of the Jews I know vote democrat. This is rather biased, however, as I attend a Reconstructionist synagogue, which is kind of inherently pretty left. Most of them are a bit too left for the Democrat party, but too practical to vote third party. Most of the ultra-leftist people I know were raised in secular Jewish homes (bagels, lox, challah, kugel, falafel. What's a god?).

    The Jews I know or have heard of voting Republican do it almost entirely because Democrats are not always sufficiently pro-Israel for a lot of tastes.

    Jews in Israel have political tastes all over the place, but pretty divided along secular/religious lines. There, the big issue is more about Palestinians. Some of the ultra religious (who are generally incredibly kind and hospitable to other Jews) are very anti-Arab. The secular Jews are a bit more like "but my favorite neighbor is a Muslim Arab". I'd say that Israel right now is a bit too busy struggling with its neighbors to be very leftist, although Kibbutz are inherently kind of interesting.

    I'd say that Jews are pretty sensitive about oppression, given that formerly hospitable countries had a tendency of suddenly attacking their Jewish populations, so there is probably a leftist leaning as a result. Given that the government of Israel is hardly going to suddenly be anti-Semitic at them, there is probably also less motivation to be really leftist.

    I'd say that the Jewish wealth but still liberal thing isn't a paradox at all. Wealthier Jews are obligated, by Jewish law, to help the poor. As a result, rich Jews kind of don't see it all as their own money to do whatever with, but rather they see some portion of it as money to be given back to the community. Jews who are well off enough are required to donate 10% of their income, and encouraged to chip in more. In the shettels in Europe, the richest man in town would fund the orphanage, the synagogue, would provide help for widows, etc. So, rich Jews, if properly culturally Jewish, should be very generous with their money. Furthermore, most Jews aren't really that wealthy. Most of the Jews I know are pretty middle class. (It bothers me a bit, I'll admit, when people stereotype all Jews as wealthy, when I know so many who live quite frugally out of necessity.)

    But yeah, mostly the really secular Jews seem to end up really far left, and everyone else is slightly left.
    "'You scoundrel, you have wronged me,' hissed the philosopher. 'May you live forever!'" - Ambrose Bierce

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyTick View Post
    Given that Jews constitute the majority of billionaires in the world proportionally (and the wealthy are stereotypically perceived as being the extremist conservative/capitalist type) it's definitely entangled in paradox.
    I didnt know that, most of the time when I've heard that said its been by someone who has been a right wing capitalist or vaguely anti-semitic (I mean the real variety, not simply trolls, conspiracy nuts or commie anti-zionists) so its interesting to hear another source altogether suggest that.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Interesting, those descriptions make some of the anti-semitic propaganda from before the second world war seem a little less baffling (I never could get my head around the idea that Jews were simultaneously attacked as being capitalists and moneyed while being part of a commie conspiracy too).

    Within Christian denominations I know a protestant friend who has said that he believes there is a greater social identity or solidarity between Roman Catholics than between protestants, that's his view and he's a protestant and evangelist and has been all his life, I have read opinions to that effect, in, for instance Max Weber's association of the Protestant Ethic and the rise of capitalism or the associations which were made between Thatcherism and Methodism (although conversely Methodism was also associated with socialist agitation in the UK too). There is diversity I'll grant that. Certainly the most hardline anti-communist and especially anti-Marxist philosophers, literary figures and social critiques from eastern europe that I'm familiar with have been Christian and often Roman Catholic but I dont see them automatically falling into the same hardened capitalist camp as the Austrian economists or classical liberals.

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