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 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.