Jason Maoz of The Jewish Press wastes a good deal of ink trying to figure out for David Horowitz’s readers why more Jews haven’t come around to the Republican ticket, but can offer only insulting, patronizing theories to the effect that those backwards semites (Maoz et al excepted) just don’t know what’s good for them:

…the arrival of the Eastern European Jews who crowded into the big cities at the turn of the century and quickly learned that their very livelihoods were dependent on the good will of those Tammany-like political machines, which were invariably Democratic and invariably corrupt…

…Jewish socialists and communists left a seemingly indelible stamp on the collective political identity of American Jew…

…Whether Roosevelt or Truman was deserving of such Jewish support is a question most Jews were reluctant even to ask…

…Adlai Stevenson, a one-term governor of Illinois whose persona of urbane intellectualism set a new standard for the type of candidate favored by Jewish liberals…

…Jews still feared that pulling the Republican lever would cause their right hands to lose their cunning…

…Official” Jewry – that dizzying network of committees, councils, conferences and leagues staffed by liberal flunkies whose Holy Writ is the platform of the Democratic Party and whose daily spiritual sustenance comes from New York Times editorials – was represented in the McGovern campaign…

…it was a combination of old habits and a religious-like devotion to dogmatic liberalism that drove the majority of Jewish voters, not any primary concern for Israel or narrowly defined Jewish interests…

…a conservative Republican, which for most Jews in 1980 (and to a somewhat lesser extent today) was akin to an alien life form: an altogether unfamiliar species…

…Jews were drawn to Mondale for a number of reasons – his Humphrey connection, his New Deal liberalism, and the simple fact that he wasn`t Reagan, to whom most American Jews never took a liking, despite a dramatic improvement in U.S-Israel relations since Mondale`s old boss had been thrown out of office…

…But Clinton would have defeated Bush and Dole even if each had sworn to immediately move the White House to Jerusalem, for the simple reason that Israel has never been the determining factor in how most Jews vote. If it were the determining factor, Nixon in 1972 and Reagan in 1980 and 1984 would have received a far greater share of the Jewish vote…

…a not inconsiderable number of Orthodox Jews found themselves to be just as susceptible as their secular brethren to the fatal Clinton Mystique…

There are a few basic premises here:

We Jews (besides Maoz) are easily swayed by personality, image, and kitschy references that make us feel important.

We Jews (like Maoz) would oppose attempts by the US government to pressure Israel to behave in the way dictated by Jewish values, or to undertake policies with any hope of bringing closer a just compromise – but (besides Maoz) fail to reward the hawks who are laboring to support the Likudniks because we’re too short-sighted to notice.

We Jews (like Maoz) are wealthy, and we validate that laissez-faire capitalism works, and so our support (contra Maoz) for government policies concerned with social justice must demonstrate some combination of confusion, conformity, pressure, and paranoia.

Starting from there, it’s not surprise that the intrepid reporter, after 7,000 words down and 70 years surveyed, is forced to conclude that

while each of the explanations we`ve cited may have its own degree of merit, and while taken together they may provide an interesting glimpse into the collective psyche of the American Jewish community, the Great Mystery of Jewish voting habits remains just that

At the beginning of his piece, Maoz throws out the idea that there’s resonance between liberalism and Jewish tradition, identity, or values, on the grounds that if that were true, Orthodox Jews – who everyone knows are the real ones – would be the most liberal. Perhaps if Maoz checked out Isaiah – or Exodus, or Jeremiah, or Genesis – he’d find something to at least offer a clue as to why, in his words,

the American Jewish community, the most affluent subgroup in the country, still votes as if it’s one step ahead of the bread lines and the evict notices.

Class traitors? It’d have to be one of the lighter insults we, as a people, have suffered. Could be that Jewish community and tradition offer – for some at least – an imperative to have a stake in being part of a just, free, and democratic community, and to work to build such a nation.

Or maybe it’s just those Jewish grandmothers kvelling when Bill Clinton says “mensch,” and worrying that if he doesn’t get their vote he’ll sick one of those Democratic Party Machines on them.

Tonight will be the second night the wall of shame Yale retirees set up across from President Levin’s office in a ceremony yesterday will continue standing on Woodbridge. The wall shares the names, years of service, and pension statistics of retirees, including Shirley Lawrence’s mother, who put in decades of service at Yale only to have the University buy out her housing as part of its expansion and gentrification process, leaving her with an unlivable pension and without a home. Shirley has worked at Yale for years and is now an organizer for Local 35; she spoke at our teach-in on Friday and at a moving forum with Yale Union Women held tonight at the Women’s Center. Every member of this community should take the time to stop by the wall and talk to the men and women holding a vigil there – including my peer who wrote, in an article on David Horowitz’s website earlier this week:

A Yale sophomore argued (somewhat unintelligibly) in the Yale Daily News that “To defend a pension plan which left the average Yale retiree of 2000 with a $609 per month pension while proposing to offer Levin a $42,000 monthly pension and investing the rest of the fund is indefensible.” Yet the unions hold out as their examples “victims” who, having worked at Yale less than 30 years, are not long-term workers and, as such, have no right to the full retirement package provided under the current contract.

The full retirement package, unfortunately, isn’t much to brag about either. But don’t take it from me – take it from the intelligible, reputable, and often viciously anti-union YDN editorial board, which acknowleged it in an otherwise unsurprising editorial at the beginning of the strike, or from Richard Levin himself, who begrudgingly agreed the pensions needed improvement after some of the men and women standing across from his office now took over the Investment Office. Better to hear about it from those folks themselves though. And if you ask nicely, they’ll also teach you how to knit.

Christopher Hitchens has been a thinker whose thoughts I value for a while now, both before and after his dramatic (if disappointing, and arguably petty) break with the Nation. On Iraq, as on many issues on which I’ve strongly differed with him in the past couple years, I found him to make the opposing case more meaningfully and persuasively than most, in part because when it comes to portraying the war as a matter of humanitarian intervention, it helps to have demonstrated a concern with human rights before September 11. But this article should shake the man’s credibility across the spectrum. Whereas a profile last weekend wrote:

No wonder he doesn’t give a hoot about the WMD brouhaha. That wasn’t why he supported the liberation of Iraq. Nonetheless, even though confronted by a reluctant congress and dithering allies, he wishes the Bush administration had stated its case for war in more explicitly moral terms instead of using “scare tactics”. “But what if the Left had not been abstentionist? What if it thought we can’t postpone a reckoning with Saddam Hussein?”

But in a Salon column whose Sadaam-as-Dahmer motif is worthy of a lesser writer, he shares a different logic:

The wailers will settle for nothing less than the full-dress conspiracy theory. It’s true that they have been helped in this, in some respects, by elements in both the Blair and Bush regimes that banged the drum a little too loud. But this is not to compare like with like. In 1990-91, during the occupation of Kuwait, U.S. officials circulated a graphic atrocity story to the effect that Iraqi forces had taken Kuwaiti babies out of hospital incubators and dumped them on the cold floor. It was one of the great sob stories of all time, and it undoubtedly affected the Senate vote in favor of war, but it was completely made up by a Kuwaiti public relations firm with links to the Bush administration. People were understandably upset when they were shown to have been emotionally stampeded. But soon after, Kuwait City was recovered by U.N. forces who unearthed atrocities and massacres 50 times as foul.

Now Hitch is suggesting first, that the penchant of some to try (in his eyes) overzealously – even blindly – to find fault with the actions of the most powerful men in the world is a greater act of intellectual dishonesty than than for the most powerful men in the world to intentionally manipulate their citizens with disinformation for the sake of sending them to war – and second, that the production of falsehoods to serve political goals by political leaders is irrelevant if other truths may exist which would serve as well as the falsehoods in retrospect.

The Trial of Henry Kissinger was a searing indictment of the man not only for contravening international law through terrorism-by-proxy, but also for contravening democracy through deceit and manipulation. Hitch closed the book in eager anticipation of the eventual opening of Henry’s sealed records after his death and in fervent hope that our country could someday catch up with the Latin American countries we ravaged by holding our own Truth and Justice Commissions.

Hitch wrote last fall:

I would, however, distinguish myself from people like David Horowitz – who has been friend and enemy by turns and whom I respect – in this way. David repudiates his past. I am slightly proud of the things I did and said when I was on the left, and wouldn’t disown most of them. I am pretty sure that I won’t change on this point, and don’t feel any psychic urge to recantation. And, if it matters, I have felt more in tune with my past when helping the Iraqi opposition and the Kurdish rebels, as I have been doing for the past several years. There must be some former Trotskyists among Andrew’s readership: I think they’ll guess what I mean..

I’ll accept compliments from the Right when they agree that Henry Kissinger belongs in the dock, and when they admit that this failure on their part is also sheltering Saddam Hussein from an indictment for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and when they acknowledge that their trashing of the International Criminal Court is a betrayal of the whole ethos of “regime change”. And after that, I have some other bones to pick with them…

Articles like this most recent one force one to question which values from his (self-described) “Fellow traveler” period he still finds relevant and which (transparency in government – or basic appearances of democracy, at the very least) have become inconvenient. And after that, I have some other bones to pick with him…

Have to say, this is the first time I’ve been mentioned on David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag – unfortunately, it wasn’t being lambasted for my crazy leftism. Needless to say, the author of this article pulled a silly maneuver in trying to discredit a march by demonstrating that a) there were people there who couldn’t provide footnotes on the spot for each of their assertions, b) there were people there who were far to the left of, say, David Horowitz, and c) there weren’t many people there for the early-morning rally before the 5,000 person march. This is the kind of logic that convinces the reader every time, as long as the reader is David Horowitz. If only I hadn’t been a legal observer that day, maybe Michael P. Tremoglie could have written me up for dangerous ideas or inadequate research. Maybe next time. Meanwhile, nice to know he thinks I have a sense of humor… Certainly helped in getting through his writing. I do regret giving him ammunition by mentioning the low turnout for the rally but given that he identified himself as a school teacher and that the comment was in the context of the several-thousand person march that would follow later in the day, I don’t think it was overly reckless. Just to redeem myself, I’ll have to make a point of getting written up as a left-wing crazy on that website as soon as possible…