A Short History of Jewish Conservatism in America

While American Jewry still identifies overwhelmingly with the Democratic party and the political left, Jewish support for the GOP has been gradually on the rise. Steven Windmueller notes that this is not a new phenomenon. From the founding of the republic until the early 20th century, U.S. Jews tended to be diverse in their political allegiances and counted in their ranks many prominent conservative voices:

During the closing decades of the 19th century and the early periods of the 20th, [some] American Jewish leaders not only voted their passions but also articulated a well-founded conservative political and economic philosophy. The late 1800s would see a number of Jewish business leaders embracing the notion of “sound money” and a commitment to align the dollar to the gold standard. Jacob H. Schiff (1847-1920), the community’s major philanthropist, embraced the Republican party, as he publicly supported “conservative methods” [and] feared “social revolution.” A staunch believer in the Puritan tradition and the “American dream,” Schiff lived, according to his biographers, “by a sense of duty and strict morality.”

Louis Marshall (1856-1929), the lawyer who played a central role in the formation of the American Jewish Committee, would invoke a socially conservative orientation in managing the Jewish affairs of this era. Marshall even considered it “unpatriotic” to desert the Republican party when, in 1912, so many other prominent Jewish leaders—including Jacob Schiff—voted for Woodrow Wilson. “I am absolutely convinced,” he wrote, “that the Republican party presents the only hope against the onslaught which is now in process against our cherished institutions.”

Read more at eJewish Philanthropy

More about: American Jewish Committee, American Jewish History, Economics, History & Ideas, Jewish conservatives, Republicans

Israel’s Retaliation against the Houthis Sends a Message to the U.S., and to Its Arab Allies

The drone that struck a Tel Aviv high-rise on Thursday night is believed to have traveled over 2,000 kilometers, flying from Yemen over Egypt and then above the Mediterranean before veering eastward toward the Israeli coast. Since October, the Houthis have launched over 200 drones at Israel. Nor is this the first attempt to strike Tel Aviv, only the first successful one. Noah Rothman observes that the Houthis’ persistent attacks on Israel and on international shipping are largely the result of the U.S.-led coalition’s anemic response:

Had the Biden administration taken a more proactive and vigorous approach to neutralizing the Houthis’ capabilities, Israel would not be obliged to expand to Yemen the theater of operations in the war Hamas inaugurated on October 7. The prospects of a regional war grow larger by the day, not because Israel cannot “take the win,” as President Biden reportedly told Benjamin Netanyahu following a full-scale direct Iranian attack on the Jewish state, but because hostile foreign actors are killing its citizens. Jerusalem is obliged to defend them and the sovereignty of Israel’s borders.

Biden’s hesitancy was fueled by his apprehension over the prospect of a “wider war” in the Middle East. But his hesitancy is what is going to give him the war he so cravenly sought to avoid.

In this context, the nature of the Israeli response is significant: rather than follow the American strategy of striking isolated weapons depots and the like, IDF jets struck the port city of Hodeida—the sort of major target the U.S. has shied away from. The mission was likely the furthest-ever carried out by the Israel Air Force, hitting a site 200 kilometers further from Israel than Tehran. Yoel Guzansky and Ilan Zalayat comment:

The message that Israel sent was intended to reach the moderate Arab countries, the West, and especially the United States. . . . The message to the coalition countries is that “the containment” had failed and the Houthis must be hit harder. The Hodeida port is the lifeline of the Houthi economy and continued damage to it will make it extremely difficult for this economy, which is also facing significant American sanctions.

Read more at National Review

More about: Houthis, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy