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.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous said...

I find your suggestion of a split in the Jewish traditions in America confusing. There are so many splits it does not make sense to make any observation as to a "belief". Even the term zionist is ill defined as the distinction between Zionist - and zionist exists.

I myself am the descendant of Russian Jews, and recognize that I am part of a cultural experiment. Notwithstanding, my heritage, and many Jews that are my relatives are described in a book called "Imagine My Joy" by Larry Freund. I think if I look at my own network of relatives, I recognize a definite incoherence to make any blanket statement about Jews and even the term Zionism/zionism.

I have learned many of the intimate Jewish traditions, and have a sense of self totally distinct from my brother and sister. Another curious observation occurred when I convened a meeting of our whole neighbourhood of 60 years ago. It was amazing how many of our closest friends had major disputes in their family. My own as well. So if in our own family we cannot make statements about our perceptions of a singular Jewish morality - how can others? Even the rabbis cannot agree on the simple meaning of : Shmay Yisreal Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echod. This one phrase has so many interpretations it would shock the listener to hear them all. The basic translation in the New Testament : as Hear O Isreal the Lord our God the Lord is One. and if we cannot agree on this simple fundamental essence of our religion - what can we agree upon?
Today there is in my family one who calls herself an "aethiest" Jew. I wonder what Shmay Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echod - translates in the mind of an aetheist?

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Peacemaker said...

Warm Greetings:
As an educator in global affairs for the past twenty years I have noted a number of anomalies that I would like to bring to your attention. The first you are likely aware of. The attachment of rights and responsibilities. This occurred in my life between the Planetary Initiative for the World We Choose in 1983 and the actual reading in the final Vienna Conference documents in 1994. This I can proudly say I contributed to.
The second was the discovery of the word PO and its application and use to assist in changing mindsets. A "po" is an idea which moves thinking forward to a new place from where new ideas or solutions may be found. The term was created by Edward de Bono as part of a lateral thinking technique to suggest forward movement, that is, making a statement and seeing where it leads to. It is an extraction from words such as hypothesis, suppose, possible and poetry, all of which indicate forward movement and contain the syllable "po." Po can be taken to refer to any of the following: provoking operation, provocative operation or provocation operation. I have found that PO can be even more useful. A PO is another way of looking at any situation. Not yes. Not no But other. Not in between, not maybe. Opening the room for discussion of all possibilities, Physically, mentally emotionally, and spiritually. Looking at economics, ethics, energy and health aspects. Use PO when not 100% knowing. PO is more than a noun, it is a verb, an adjective, and a hammer and a screwdriver all at the same time.
It is with this in mind that I write to you. We are looking for a spokesperson for PO. We are asking you, and other leading figures, to adopt PO into their personal use of language in order to affect change. We trust you will do the right thing, and educate all your staff in the use of PO and discover new ways for the word to work in the field of social change. I believe you have the attention of people that will listen to your thoughts. Please take the time necessary to understand PO as we present it to you, and to assist in finding other uses of the word for the common good.


Mitchell L Gold
homeplanet virtual "uni"versity
Ambassador for Energime University

At 8:51 AM, Blogger D Tubian said...

I find your characterization of Sephardic Jews being "backward" quite racist. It's obvious that Jews who don't support Clinton or Obama are either "backward" or "sociopaths" according to you. The majority of Sephardic Jews didn't vote for Obama in 2008 even though almost all Ashkenazi Jews did so. In 2012, most Ashkenazi Jews again fell for his poison. It's obvious now that at least Sephardic Jews had the foresight to know 8 years ago that Obama was bad for Israel. I agree with you that Ashkenazi Jews are more liberal than Sephardic Jews but that doesn't mean that if a community is less "liberal" in their social beliefs they are then "backwards". Sephardic Jews put more emphasis on an American President's view on Israel than Ashkenazis, who care more about gay rights, gun control, abortion and other social policies. Those issues dominate their political views over Israel for them. But don't let your left wing liberal views get the best of you and show how condescending and racist you are to those Jews who don't see the world through your spectrum.

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m an Iranian-American Jew from Los Angeles. Without a doubt Iranian Jews from America overwhelmingly support Trump. Your observation that Sephardic Jews are more conservative is accurate. However, your characterization of Sephardics as uneducated is patently false (at least when it comes to Sephardics in America). They tend to be just as, or in some cases, more educated than even Ashkenazi Jews. In Israel things have changed too. The reason Sephardics long struggled with lack of education and poverty in Israel is largely due to their (forgotten) plight and exodus after the Arab-Israel conflict started. Prior to the founding of Israel, Jews from Middle-East held private land amounting to five times the size of Israel. When their Arab and Muslim hosts kicked them to the dust, they deprived them of everything. They came to Israel with whatever suitcases they could carry. They also did not have much opportunity for higher education in their Middle-East host countries. Most of them were merchants and small business owners. This might help explain why they are not socialist oriented like their Ashkenazi brethren. Their conditions have drastically changed however in the past 30 years. You’re right that a relatively large portion of them are orthodox oriented, which has constrained their growth. That said, your characterization of them as “backwards” seems to derive from your own socialist left wing bias. I think socialism is backwards and immoral. I believe in liberty of the human being and that government’s role is limited to protecting people’s most cherished rights. Socialism is a form of slavery that forces people to depend on government to survive instead of themselves.


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