The American Jewish Committee released the results of a survey about the presidential election. While the first question about who are the Jews voting for got the most attention—Biden 75 percent, Trump 22 percent—the remaining questions paint a troubling picture for the future of American Jewry.
A story is told of Rasputin and Czar Nicholas II. The Czar asked Rasputin what to do about the Jews. Rasputin advised that the Czar should grant the Jews every freedom and they will turn on themselves. That persecution makes them united and stronger. The Czar did not listen, and the Jewish Race persisted long after the reign of Nicholas II.
The Jewish people have never had freedoms like we have had in America. As a result, the majority of American Jews have let go of traditions, intermarried, and no longer engage. Many do not even raise their children with a Jewish identity. The advice of Rasputin seems prophetic as Jews leave the fold in droves and vote against their own self interest. At a little more than 2.6 percent of the US population, the Jewish vote is unlikely to have a major impact on the US election. The majority of Jews have voted Democrat for decades.
Even when riots specifically targeted Jews, synagogues and Jewish owned businesses, the vast majority of Jews still believe that the party that fails to condemn the attacks and encourages looting and rioting is their ally. Conversely, President Trump signed an executive order to protect Jewish university students under Title VI which has already led to a high-profile settlement agreement between the Department of Education and NYU.
Support for Israel used to be one thing that Jews across the spectrum agreed on. Now, that number has fallen dramatically. Some Jews would rather go build houses in Guatemala or on trips to Europe than visit Israel. This is not surprising when you consider that once you remove the spiritual and historical connection to the land, it may seem like just another vacation destination.
Under the Obama/Biden Administration, Iran was emboldened and on the path to a nuclear weapon and paid millions of dollars under the flawed Iran Nuclear Deal. The Obama/Biden Administration had a very cold and contentious relationship with the government of Israel. In 2010 on an official visit to Israel, Biden criticized an Israeli plan to build homes for Jews in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish state. Prior to his visit, the Obama-Biden administration warned various Israeli government ministers that it viewed construction of housing for Jews in Jerusalem with hostility. It also pressured Israel to permit construction of homes for Arabs in Jerusalem, and harshly opposed all moves by the government to destroy illegal construction in Arab neighborhoods. Biden has a well documented history of attempting to cut foreign aid to Israel and losing his temper over inter government negotiations.
The Trump Administration followed through on its promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem (which Biden opposed, and many presidents promised to do and failed) and recognized Israel's authority over the Golan Heights. Trump destroyed the Islamic State caliphate and targeted Iranian arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani, both threats to Israel and Jews around the world. He closed the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization's mission in Washington and defunded the Palestinian Authority itself due to its "pay-to-slay" subsidies to terrorists. Yet the majority of Jews trust Biden to be a friend to Israel and to be the better defense against Iran.
In three short years, the US has brokered peace deals between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, negotiated air rights with Saudi Arabia for Israeli flights and is negotiating maritime rights with Lebanon. This path may have been created by the Obama/Biden administration creating such a power vacuum and mess in the Middle East by emboldening Iran, that peace may have been the inevitable outcome of those failed policies. Yet still American Jews believe joe Biden is the best person to make peace.
However, a change might be coming. According to the Pew Research Portrait of American Jewry in 2013, Orthodox Jews tend to identify as Republicans and take conservative positions. On average, they also are more religiously committed and much younger than other U.S. Jews, and they have bigger families. At the time, it was theorized that if the Orthodox segment grow as a share of U.S. Jews, they gradually could shift the profile of American Jews in several areas, including religious beliefs and practices, social and political views and demographic characteristics. Generally speaking, people who describe themselves as Orthodox Jews follow traditional interpretations of Jewish law, or halakha, and 79 percent of the Orthodox say that observing Jewish law is essential to "what being Jewish means" to them, personally; just 13 percent of other U.S. Jews say the same. On numerous measures of religious belief and practice, Orthodox Jews display higher levels of religious commitment than do other Jews.
According to David Harsanyi discussing the Pew study "Among Jewish denominations, Pew found that 35 percent of American Jews identify with the Reform movement, 18 percent identify as Conservative and 10 percent as Orthodox (another 6 percent fall into alternative groups like the Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewalists.) The entire denominational system is one slippery slope towards a ham sandwich. The survey finds that around a quarter of people raised Orthodox have become Conservative or Reform; 30 percent of those raised Conservative have become Reform and 28 percent of those raised Reform jump the ark."
In 2013 while other U.S. Jews lean heavily toward the Democratic Party, the opposite was true of the Orthodox. As of mid-2013, 57 percent of Orthodox Jews identified with the Republican Party or said they leaned toward the GOP. Just 3 years later in the 2016 election those numbers were already changing. Even though over 70 percent of Jews voted for Hillary Clinton, over 80 percent of Orthodox Jews voted for Trump. According to current polls 83 percent of the Orthodox say they plan to vote for the incumbent, compared to just 14 percent for Biden with 4 percent undecided and 76 percent say media biased against Trump.
What accounts for the change? According to Binyamin Rose, Editor At Large of Mishpacha Magazine, "In the final analysis, among America's Orthodox Jews, a primary fear propelling support for Trump is the rise of the progressive left. Many Orthodox Jews are pessimistic about the future of their cities and the country as a whole should the progressive agenda be enacted, with its very real potential to transform America into a much more hostile place for religion." This is already happening in state's like California under their "Critical Ethnic Studies" curriculum which excludes groups like Jews and Armenians who were persecuted abroad and sought refuge in America.
Rose continues "They (The Orthodox) see Trump as a defender of the values they hold dear, and for them, a vote for Trump in November is a vote to keep the Orthodox Jewish lifestyle viable in the United States."