It is impossible to discuss the action of the Israel lobby in our foreign policy without acknowledging a sociological reality: Jews are big winners of the meritocracy, we are the richest group by religion in the U.S. I have to keep hitting this point because a, no one talks about it out of fear of pogroms, though everyone knows it to be true; b, meanwhile, a lot of people talk about this reality in the Arab world, where it fuels anti-Semitic broadbrush statements (Jews own Congress, a youth in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, said to me).
Sorry about the preamble. I’m never entirely comfortable writing about this, but it’s just too important. Lately, the New York Times reported on the donors lining up in opposing camps over the possible NY Democratic Senate primary race between Harold Ford Jr. and incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand. It appears that most of the names of the powerbrokers in the piece are Jewish: Kovner, Tisch, Cohn, Lerer, Frucher, Wolf, Perelman, Steve Rattner. The key figure in the story, hedge fund manager Orin Kramer, is said to support many Jewish causes, and bankrolled Obama. (Another big-money Jewish Obama backer, this one from Chicago, is now ambassador to the UK).
The Washington Post once estimated that 60 percent of the money in Democratic Party coffers comes from Jews. I once asked Steve Rabinowitz, a campaign consultant, about this; and he said that Jewish giving to Democrats was so high that if anyone did a study of it, it would fuel conspiracy theories.
I emphasize that my answer to this predominance is not in any way to deprive Jews of political access (though a certain WASPy voluntary declination of privilege might be in order, to make a little room for others…) but to urge a wider consciousness of social responsibility on my people. And yes, to fuel the critique of Zionism. With this much power, we must show greater consideration for others.