Saturday, August 27, 2016

Is There A Trumpist Split Between Ashkenazi And Sephardic Jews?


It's no secret that Señor Trumpanzee isn't charming the socks off any minority groups. He's in single digits among African-Americans and not only doing far worse than any other Republican ever among Hispanics, his hate-filled campaign has inspired tens of thousands of Hispanics to get citizenship so they could vote against him and hundreds of thousands more Hispanics that normal to register to vote for the first time, voting against Trump the main motivation. Asian-Americans have been similarly repulsed by Trump's racism and extremism and by turning the fastest growing American minority off to the GOP, he is putting down-ballot races in California, Nevada, New Jersey and Virginia in jeopardy. Even traditionally Republican-leaning conservative Filipinos have been alienated by Trumpanzee bigotry.

So, what about American Jews? Since 1916, when most Jews voted for Woodrow Wilson, the majority of Jews have been a dependable mainstay of the Democratic coalition. The waves of Ashkenazi Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe were extremely progressive and tended towards assimilation. Jews who prefer separation from non-Jews and who tend towards religious immersion and fanaticism also tend towards conservative politics. Something like 90% of Jews-- a group that has the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group-- backed FDR, the same percentage of Jews that subsequently backed LBJ against Goldwater (who was himself of Jewish ancestry). Popular Republicans-- like Reagan-- have been able to garner around a third of the Jewish vote. George W. Bush was supported by 19% of Jews in 2000 and 24% of Jews in 2004. In 2008, Obama took 83% of Jews but just under 70% in 2012.

The other day Roland and I had a business/social dinner with a 28 year old realtor, our first in-person meeting with the guy. He seemed very much like a hipster and is an enthusiastic world traveler and a dedicated foodie. At dinner it also turned out that he is a dedicated and enthusiastic Trumpist, which came as a bit of a shock to me. He's a Sephardic Jew, his family having come here from Morocco. That reminded me of an old friend of mine I had been talking to earlier in the week, also a Sephardic Jew (from Morocco via Israel) who is not just a Trumpist but who insisted that "the Jews are overwhelmingly going to vote for Trump." Both he and the young realtor are into the outwards appearances of religion--keeping kosher or, at least, kosherish, observing Shabbos, going to Temple occasionally and socializing primarily with other relatively new Sephardic immigrants.

One of my Sephardic friends told me Hillary is "weak" and wouldn't be good for Israel. The other one told me he "heard" Hillary hates Jews. I don't want to ask where they get their misinformation but I hope they hear about the report from a court case yesterday in the New York Daily News on the top fella Trump hired to run his campaign, Steve Bannon. Bannon's ex-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, avowed in a court declaration, under penalty of perjury, "that Bannon didn't want their twin daughters attending the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles because many Jewish students were enrolled at the elite institution."
"The biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend," Piccard said in her statement signed on June 27, 2007.

"He said that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews," Piccard wrote.

"I told him that there are children who are Jewish at (a competing school), and he asked me what the percentage was. I told him that I didn't know because it wasn't an issue for me as I am not raising the girls to be either anti-Semitic or prejudiced against anyone," she wrote.
Unlike most Jews of European ancestry (Ashkenazi Jews) the Sephardic Jews are not especially progressive or educated or socialistically-oriented and their beliefs are generally lumped in with Orthodox Judaism. Several centuries ago, the Sephardic Jews of Spain and Portugal were considered the aristocrats of Judaism. That's a long time ago and is a very different ballgame from poorly educated Iraqi, Syrian, Yemenite and North African Jews. The Sephardic Jews from the very beginning of the split were more traditionalist and, one might say, socially backward, the split itself having come over polygamy, which the Sephardic Jews refused to give up, while the Ashkenazi Jews quickly jettisoned. The first Jews in America were Sephardic but the Sephardic community was quickly swamped by Ashkenazi Jews coming here from Germany, Poland, Russia. Ukraine and the rest of Eastern Europe. Post-Holocaust Israel was largely an Ashkenazi project as well but today the more conservative and socially backward Sephardic Jews are in the majority there. It's no coincidence that the socialist-oriented, forward-looking, idealistic and successful Israel of the country's first 3 decades is now a bitter, right-wing and increasingly backward apartheid country. And it's no coincidence that blue collar Sephardic Jews in America have tended to gravitate towards "the stupid party" and, lately, towards Hehr Trumpanzee.

This morning the Jewish Insider reported a poll showing that Florida's large and active Jewish voter base has made up it's mind on who it wants to see as president-- and it isn't Señor Trumpanzee. Jewish voters in the Sunshine State are backing Hillary against Trump 66-23%. She's up by 43 points-- and 71% of the state's Jewish voters have an unfavorable view of Trump.
The only group Trump is doing well is among Orthodox Jewish voters (6 percent of the Florida Jewish electorate). According to the poll, Trump leads Clinton 66-22 percent among Orthodox Jews. Among all non-Orthodox voters, Clinton leads Trump 77-22.

The Times of Israel is reporting today that even right-wing sociopath Sheldon Adelson-- who fancies himself the ambassador to the GOP from Israel's Likud Party-- is so irked at Trumpanzee that he hasn't spent a shekel on him yet. The toad-like Adelson is angry Trump hasn't visited Israel like he told him to and angry that Trump picked the neo-Nazi Pence as a running mate, instead of Adelson crony Newt Gingrich. Addison is spending his money on Senate and House races instead.

"Gonif" means thief, if your Yiddish is rusty

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At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not Jewish, so I don't claim to understand the entire back story. But I do have to ask WTF? Can anyone here explain the attraction of Trump to certain Jews?

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting! Good thing I am an Ashkenaze Jew. Whew.

Another possible case for a clothespin vote for Hillary?

At 5:44 AM, Blogger cybermome said...

Interesting. My daughter is getting married and her fiancee is a Jew from Chile. His Fathers Family came to South America in the 30's from Turkey and his Mother's family came to South America ALSO in the 30's from Hungary . He ( fiancee) was born here but raised in Santiago AND here's what I DIDN'T know

Santiago Jews were BIG supporters of Pinochet. Not his parents though. But he has an Uncle who grew up under Pinochet now lives here and supports Trump.

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Putz" and "Schmuck" are normally thought of as opposites (erect vs flaccid). I suppose it's possible Trump could manage to be both.


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