The New American Jewish Political Divide

According to a newly released study from the Pew Research Center, American Jews continue, overwhelmingly, to vote Democratic—as has been the case for nearly a century. But the study found one exception: 75 percent of Orthodoxy Jews say they lean Republican—an even greater percentage than in past surveys. Tevi Troy comments:

Decades ago, the late Milton Himmelfarb famously summed up the Jewish vote by saying “Jews earn like Episcopalians but vote like Puerto Ricans,” suggesting that the ballots of high-earning Jews unexpectedly looked like those of low-income voters. This pithy observation summed up Jewish demographics and voting for half a century. It also launched a trove of articles and more than a few books on the mystery of Jewish voting patterns. Why didn’t Jews follow the pattern of other white ethnic groups like the Irish or the Italians, who became more conservative as they assimilated?

[The] new Pew study . . . suggests that the behavior is no longer a mystery: the bulk of the Jewish community remains liberal, but this allegiance no longer puts them out of step with the group’s demographics. The study found that “Jewish Americans, on average, are older, have higher levels of education, earn higher incomes, and are more geographically concentrated in the Northeast than Americans overall.” Accordingly, the study shows that secular Jews vote like other secular, highly educated, and urbanized populations.

Like their secular counterparts, Orthodox Jews are clustered in the Northeast, but they differ in having lower levels of educational attainment. About 60 percent of Jews overall are college graduates, almost double the rate of the American population as a whole, but only 37 percent of Orthodox Jews have college degrees. And even though these religious Jews are largely urban and suburban, they vote like rural religious voters. . . . They live near hipsters but vote like Mormons.

Read more at City Journal

More about: American Jewry, American politics, Milton Himmelfarb, Orthodoxy

Israel’s Friendship with Iraqi Kurds, and Why Iran Opposes It

In May 2022, the Iraqi parliament passed a law “criminalizing normalization and establishment of relations with the Zionist entity,” banning even public discussion of ending the country’s 76-year state of war with Israel. The bill was a response to a conference, held a few months prior, addressing just that subject. Although the gathering attracted members of various religious and ethnic groups, it is no coincidence, writes Suzan Quitaz, that it took place in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan:

Himdad Mustafa, an independent researcher based in Erbil, to whom the law would be applied, noted: “When 300 people gathered in Erbil calling for peace and normalization with Israel, the Iraqi government immediately passed a law criminalizing ties with Israel and Israelis. The law is clearly aimed at Kurds.” . . . Qais al-Khazali, secretary-general of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (Coordination Framework), a powerful Iranian-backed Shiite militia, slammed the conference as “disgraceful.”

Himdad explains that the criminalization of Israeli-Kurdish ties is primarily driven by “Kurd-phobia,” and that Kurd-hatred and anti-Semitism go hand-in-hand.

One reason for that is the long history of cooperation Israel and the Kurds of Iraq; another is the conflict between the Kurdish local government and the Iran-backed militias who increasingly control the rest of the country. Quitaz elaborates:

Israel also maintains economic ties with Kurdistan, purchasing Kurdish oil despite objections from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad. A report in the Financial Times discusses investments by many Israeli companies in energy, development sectors, and communications projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, in addition to providing security training and purchasing oil. Moreover, in a poll conducted in 2009 in Iraqi Kurdistan, 71 percent of Kurds supported normalization with Israel. The results are unsurprising since, historically, Israel has had cordial ties with the Kurds in a generally hostile region where Jews and Kurds have fought against the odds with the same Arab enemy in their struggles for a homeland.

The Iranian regime, through its proxies in the Iraqi government, is the most significant source of Kurd-phobia in Iraq and the driving factor fueling tensions. In addition to their explicit threat to Israel, Iranian officials frequently threaten the Kurdish region, and repeatedly accuse the Kurds of working with Israel.

Read more at Jersualem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Iraq, Israel-Arab relations, Kurds