The front-page story in the Times yesterday on the Jane Harman allegations didn't say that she's Jewish. Neither does CQ, which broke the story. Chris Matthews didn't say she's Jewish in his report last night–though he's always talking about the Irish Catholics–and neither did Robert Siegel on NPR. I bet Andrea Mitchell didn't either.
Jane Harman's Jewish. There, I just said it. That's why we have the blogosphere. Any intelligent person discussing this story at dinner is going to mention that she's Jewish. That's because Alan Dershowitz said that supporting Israel is the "secular religion" of American Jews. And because Walt and Mearsheimer point out that Jewish-Americans play a prominent part in the Israel lobby.
There are plenty of American Jews who don't support Israel. Some anyway. But they don't get into Congress for some reason. And they very rarely get published in the Forward. I can't think of a time, actually. The orthodoxy within the Jewish community is just as Dershowitz reported. We [heart] Israel.
Can you imagine if a leading evangelical politician was allegedly mixed up in a shady deal involving pressuring the White House on gay rights, and the papers didn't mention his religion? I can't. Do you think it's possible to talk about the power of the Israel lobby, which is what the Harman leak is about, at bottom, without talking about religion in American life? And without Jewish reporters talking about the religious orthodoxy they're familiar with? No. Heck, Wolf Blitzer, who did this story on CNN yesterday (and I bet left out the religious angle), used to work at AIPAC. Does Judaism/Israel matter to him? Oh and how many Jews are in Congress and the media? Just because you talk about this doesn't make you Ahmadinejad.
Thanks to James North for the idea. He says that the late David Halberstam used to say that one problem with journalism is that it causes a writer to act stupid, to leave out stuff he knows to be true. And this is why, North says, people are turning to the blogosphere: they want to know what smart people really think.