Liberal Jews Are Like Nineteenth-Century Assimilationists

Norman Podhoretz takes to the Wall Street Journal to promote his new book and take down liberal America-haters

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AUTHOR: Norman Podhoretz, author of "Why Are Jews Liberals?"

FORUM: The Wall Street Journal

LENGTH: 1,453 words

PURPOSE: "Exposure of Obama as a false messiah," exposure of liberalism as a threat to true Jewish faith.

THESIS: Jews owe it to America, their adopted promised land, to abandon the Democratic Party.

OTHER TOPICS COVERED: How liberalism is a religion that has "superseded" Judaism, why Jews should realize that they are more Episcopalian than Puerto Rican.

PET PEEVES: continued Jewish sympathy for poor people, the Jewish Reform movement, people who "see ... injustice and oppression," President Obama, the New Deal, "avowed secularists."


liberalism has become more than a political outlook. It has for all practical purposes superseded Judaism and become a religion in its own right. And to the dogmas and commandments of this religion they give the kind of steadfast devotion their forefathers gave to the religion of the Hebrew Bible ... As a Jew who moved from left to right more than four decades ago, I have been hoping for many years that my fellow Jews would come to see that in contrast to what was the case in the past, our true friends are now located not among liberals, but among conservatives ...

What I am saying is that if anything bears eloquent testimony to the infinitely precious virtues of the traditional American system, it is the Jewish experience in this country. Surely, then, we Jews ought to be joining with its defenders against those who are blind or indifferent or antagonistic to the philosophical principles, the moral values, and the socioeconomic institutions on whose health and vitality the traditional American system depends.

In 2008, we were faced with a candidate who ran to an unprecedented degree on the premise that the American system was seriously flawed and in desperate need of radical change—not to mention a record powerfully indicating that he would pursue policies dangerous to the security of Israel. Because of all this, I hoped that my fellow Jews would finally break free of the liberalism to which they have remained in thrall long past the point where it has served either their interests or their ideals.

That possibility having been resoundingly dashed, I now grasp for some encouragement from the signs that buyer's remorse is beginning to set in among Jews, as it also seems to be doing among independents. Which is why I am hoping against hope that the exposure of Mr. Obama as a false messiah will at last open the eyes of my fellow Jews to the correlative falsity of the political creed he so perfectly personifies and to which they have for so long been so misguidedly loyal.

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