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In standing up for Bannon, Dershowitz is true to his Orthodox Brooklyn roots

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When he leaped to Trump aide Steve Bannon’s defense the other day against anti-Semitism charges, Alan Dershowitz offered an interesting argument:

The evidence certainly suggests that Mr. Bannon has very good relationships with individual Jews. My former researcher, Joel Pollak, is an Orthodox Jew who takes off the Jewish holidays, who is a committed Jew and a committed Zionist, and he has worked closely with him. He [Bannon] has been supportive of Israel.

But the Orthodox Joel Pollak’s support for Bannon/Trump, is actually not that surprising– inasmuch as Trump racks up big numbers among the Orthodox, including in Dershowitz’s boyhood stomping grounds. Just look at this link for how New York neighborhoods voted in last week’s election. Overall the city went only 18 percent for Trump. But Orthodox Jewish and Russian Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn went overwhelmingly for Trump:

Borough Park, 69 percent, Brighton Beach, nearly 60 percent. Homecrest, 66.5 percent. Midwood 61 percent. Sheepshead Bay 51 percent.

When Brooklyn overall was 17.8 percent for Trump. (Staten Island neighborhoods turned out even higher for Trump; but you get the point.)

Nationally, Jews went for Clinton over Trump by 70-25, according to a J Street poll.

So Dersh– who supported Clinton during the campaign last summer– is just true to his school. He was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and grew up in Borough Park. His grandfathers started an Orthodox Yeshiva there. And according to his book Chutzpah, he went to Yeshiva University High School, an orthodox school, though in later life he fell away from Orthodox practices.

This division between Orthodox and secular Jews is only going to get more and more pronounced in years to come. About 60 percent of young secular Jews have a non-Jewish parent and their Jewish identity means “feeling Jewish.

The differences play out in feelings about Israel, too. A Pew survey in 2013 showed that only 30 percent of American Jews overall feel “very attached” to Israel, but among the Ultra-Orthodox it is 55  percent and the Modern Orthodox it is 77 percent. Sociologist Steven Cohen has described the growing chasm between secular American Jews and orthodox Jews over Israel, and said the infighting is only going to get worse. Because those secular Jews still consider themselves Jewish and have a dog in the “Jewish state” fight.

And look at this ad in the Times today.

More than 50 Orthodox rabbis welcome Donald Trump policy re Jerusalem

More than 50 Orthodox rabbis welcome Donald Trump policy re Jerusalem

More than 50 Orthodox rabbis support Donald Trump because of his promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

We are entering a period of open political warfare between Jews over Israel, thanks to Donald Trump. And Dershowitz too, making the case for Israel.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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21 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 17, 2016, 10:52 am

    “We are entering a period of open political warfare between Jews over Israel, thanks to Donald Trump. And Dershowitz too, making the case for Israel.”

    This is all very good BECAUSE it elevates to prominence the issue of whether Jews “must” support other Jews come-what-may, though-the-heavens-fall, my-country-right-or-wrong. Of course, in my view (formed in a lifetime well outside any Jewish pressure to conform to anything at all) that “must” is pernicious nonsense.

    The idea that “good people should support other good people” (I know, I know, not very well defined) makes a kind of sense, but the idea that “every Jew should stand up for every other Jew” (or for Israel) is pure hokey, particularly considering the old “2 Jews 3 opinions” notion.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 17, 2016, 12:02 pm

      Love, respect and support for another person – or another group or another nation – should never be unconditional.

      It makes no sense for Americans who have chosen to be Jewish to believe that they must unconditionally support other Jewish people.

      It’s stupid and dangerous for those same Jewish Americans to believe that they must unconditionally support Jewish (and non-Jewish) supremacists who advocate and engage in (war) criminal behaviour in the name of all Jewish people and for the glory of a colonialist and religion-supremacist state.

      • captADKer
        captADKer
        November 18, 2016, 10:36 pm

        it is natural to
        “……unconditionally support Jewish (and non-Jewish) supremacists who advocate and engage in (war) criminal behaviour in the name of all Jewish people…..”
        when comforted by the fact that they might not always be right but are never wrong.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 19, 2016, 9:00 am

        || captADKer: it is natural to
        “……unconditionally support Jewish (and non-Jewish) supremacists who advocate and engage in (war) criminal behaviour in the name of all Jewish people…..”
        when comforted by the fact that they might not always be right but are never wrong. ||

        Your hateful and immoral soul-mates in the Islamofascist and White supremacist worlds (among others) share the same “logic” regarding their preferred brands of supremacism.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 19, 2016, 11:41 am

        Judaism (except in Israel, of course) has no coercive power. In almost every country in the world, a Jew may adjust or even eliminate his or her relationship with Judaism, and Judaism can’t do a thing about it.

        Can it, “captADKer”?

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 17, 2016, 4:34 pm

      “every Jew should stand up for every other Jew” (or for Israel) is pure hokey,”

      Gee, I wonder if the Orthodox will stand up for the rest of us? Damn, why didn’t Rabbi WIse check that menu personally?

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      Lillian Rosengarten
      November 20, 2016, 2:45 pm

      Hey Dershowitz you old complicit fool? Don’t you know yet you are supporting an apartheid, genocidal regime? That’s not very good for Jews or Palestinians. Wake up!!!

  2. yourstruly
    yourstruly
    November 17, 2016, 12:02 pm

    Those who support Israel even when their doing so goes against the interests of the U.S. are, by definition, Israel-firsters.

  3. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    November 17, 2016, 3:38 pm

    The photo featured is of the main campus of yeshiva university in Washington heights manhattan, whereas the dersh attended the humbler digs in brooklyn of a branch of the main school. To prominently feature this photo which will be misunderstood by 99.9% of your readers is sloppy journalism.

    • Yakov Hirsch
      Yakov Hirsch
      November 17, 2016, 5:31 pm

      yonah fredman November 17, 2016, 3:38 pm

      Yonah, unrelated but please indulge me.
      What are your thoughts on Jeffrey Goldberg? In particular what do you think about the relationship between his Jewish identity and his journalism? Has Goldberg done a good job handling his JDL/IDF baggage? Do you think he Is he an honest journalist about Israel, Zionism, Jews, Iran, antisemitism etc?

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 17, 2016, 7:05 pm

        Goldberg tries too hard. Saw a video of him with Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis, and the gaps in the education between him and those two was quite apparent. At other times he thinks he has to crack wise as if he was the godchild of buddy hacket.

        as far as him dealing with his roots as far as being netanyahu’s primary voice intimating that iran was going to be attacked, I don’t know what to think of that, other than i’m happy that it didn’t come about like goldberg, the voice of bibi, was selling. some say that the people around bibi put the reins on bibi. i’m pretty sure, that risk averse bibi was happy to not attack iran. that means that goldberg was fed some sort of “spin” and sold it to us.

        very few nonorthodox jews make aliya like goldberg did, so his jdl/idf roots are quite unusual given the milieu of his upbringing. jdl and idf are quite usual in the milieu of my upbringing, so there is a curiosity about what was the personality that reacted the way he did to childhood bullies. i never dealt with bullies (except online) so i cannot assert that goldberg’s reaction was typical or atypical.

        Is he an honest journalist? no. are you an honest journalist? i doubt it. is phil an honest journalist? i doubt it.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 17, 2016, 7:56 pm

        “Is he an honest journalist? no. are you an honest journalist? i doubt it. is phil an honest journalist? i doubt it.”

        “Yonah” is our very own Diogenestein. Need a light, “Yonah”?

        “Yonah” why not just tell “Yakov Hirsch” that it was the integrity and honesty of Jeffrey Goldberg’s journalistic work on Zionism which got him promoted to Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic!

      • annie
        annie
        November 19, 2016, 9:06 pm

        i liked your answer yonah.

  4. Mooser
    Mooser
    November 17, 2016, 4:31 pm

    Yup, Trump and Bannon are looking for strong, short-spoken Jews. Curt Jews.

  5. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    November 18, 2016, 4:33 am

    If it is a war it won’t be because of Trump.
    It will be because there are 2 different cultures.

    One believes in thinking and the other expects autocrats to deliver Moshiach. Because it is autocratic.

    One lives in the real world and the other is mystical
    One educates its kids and the other doesn’t.
    One respects women. The other doesn’t.

    Guess how many shatnez inspectors voted Trump.

    Over in Judistan the deputy PM says Israel doesn’t need reform and Conservative Jews.

    Roger Cohen spoke at a Ha’aretz confab recently. He understand how Israel works.

    He namechecked Hass and Levy as per the Dersh but very differently

    The thinkers provide political and financial cover for the mysticals to engage their fantasies.
    Such as no women at the Kotel.
    Someone in Ha’aretz said “it belongs to all Jews”
    Actually it belongs to the palestinians but never mind,

    If the thinkers are exiled there won’t be any money.
    And you can’t eat Torah scrolls.

  6. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    November 18, 2016, 5:26 am

    “This is not to compare Breitbart with Haaretz, but it is to suggest caution in holding a publication responsible for all the views expressed by its writers. To be sure, Haaretz’s general orientation tends to be center left, whereas Breitbart is hard right, but both serve as platforms for extremes on either side. The same can be said of J Street, which is a center left organization which serves as a platform for, and includes among its active members and contributors, BDS supporters, anti-Zionists and opponents of Israel’s existence as the Nation State of the Jewish people. Or consider Black Lives Matter, an organization with a commendable goal, that has promoted anti-Semitism by singling out one country for condemnation in its “platform”: calling the Nation State of the Jewish People an “apartheid” and “genocidal” regime”
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.753694

  7. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    November 20, 2016, 7:06 am

    According to a poll that appeared in haaretz, reform jews voted 76-21 for hillary, conservative 71-25, orthodox, 56-39, “just Jewish” 67-26 .
    53% supported US pressure on israel to promote peace, 81% supported a 2 state solution, 77% supported israel stopping to build settlements and 63% supported the iran deal.
    Nov. 9th, byline July maltz.

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