According to a new Pew Research Center study, the vast majority of Orthodox Jews identify as politically conservative, indicating an increasing trend for religious Jews on the Right.
According to the survey, three-quarters of Orthodox Jews say they are Republican or lean that way, compared to 57 percent of Orthodox Jews who were Republicans or Republican leaners in 2013.
This swings in the opposite direction when we consider the other branches of Judaism. Among Conservative Jews, 70 percent are Democratic voters or lean to the Left. This rises to a staggering 80 percent for Reform Jews, and 75 percent for Jews of “no particular branch.”
Among the entire American Jewish population, 71 percent identify as Democratic or lean that way, while just 26 percent are Republican or lean Republican.
“Politically, U.S. Jews on the whole tilt strongly liberal and tend to support the Democratic Party,” wrote Pew Research. “When the new survey was fielded, from late fall 2019 through late spring 2020, 71% said they were Democrats or leaned Democratic. Among Jews of no religion, roughly three-quarters were Democrats or leaned that way.”
“But Orthodox Jews have been trending in the opposite direction, becoming as solidly Republican as non-Orthodox Jews are solidly Democratic,” Pew noted. “In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, 75% of Orthodox Jews said they were Republicans or leaned Republican, compared with 57% in 2013. And 86% of Orthodox Jews rated then-President Donald Trump’s handling of policy toward Israel as ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ while a majority of all U.S. Jews described it as ‘only fair’ or ‘poor.’”
Among the other notable findings from this survey which add further confusion to the stark divide between conservative politics and religion, three-quarters of American Jews think there is more anti-Semitism in the U.S. today compared to five years ago, while 53 percent say that “as a Jewish person in the U.S., they personally feel less safe than they did five years ago.”
Another interesting finding was that 82 percent of American Jews said “caring about Israel is either ‘essential’ or ‘important’ to what being Jewish means to them.”
“About six-in-ten (58%) say they are at least somewhat attached to Israel, and those who have been to Israel are especially likely to feel this way (79%),” Pew added.
This juxtaposition between political affiliation and the value of Israel as part of a Jewish identity seems strange given the deep divides between the American Right and Left when it comes to Israel, and particularly the ongoing conflict between the Israeli military and Hamas terrorists.
During a press conference, President Joe Biden, a Democrat, failed to mention or condemn Hamas this week while offering the view that “Israel has a right to defend itself. (The Biden administration later released a read-out of Biden’s call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which “condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas.”)
After Biden’s presser, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized Biden’s vague response as “taking the side of occupation.”
In addition, anti-Semitic attacks have reportedly risen to “near-historic highs,” according to Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.
“In our annual Anti-Defamation League Audit of Antisemitic Incidents for the 2020 calendar year, released Tuesday, we found that Jews in the U.S. reported a disturbing 2,024 incidents of antisemitism last year, a rate of harassment 10 percent higher than in the year before and one of the highest overall in the last five years,” wrote Greenblatt.
According to the audit, “Nearly half of the assaults [against Jews] nationwide took place in the five boroughs of New York City, including 11 in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.”
This article has been revised to note that the Biden administration said Wednesday that Biden “condemned the rocket attacks by Hamas” in a call with Bibi Netanyahu.
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