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Why Are Jews Liberals?
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Why Are Jews Liberals?

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  13 reviews
From the bestselling author of World War IV, a brilliant and provocative examination of a central question in American politics and culture that is sure to generate tremendous controversy.

Norman Podhoretz says he has never in his entire life been asked any question on any subject as often as “Why are so many Jews liberals?â€-or in its more specifically political form, â€
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by Doubleday (first published 2009)
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3.93  · 
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 ·  84 ratings  ·  13 reviews


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thewanderingjew
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a really interesting book tracing the reasons Jewish people are bent toward the liberal philosophy rather than conservative philosophy of politics, although it is sometimes counterproductive to do so.
Part of the reason is that they chose what seemed the lesser evil of the two. More democratic environments eventually gave them freedom to coexist in the society, although only in so far as they served a useful purpose..while the more conservative environments did not even acknowledge their
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Sam
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Interesting question to ask: Why Are Jews Liberals? Podhoretz spends most of the book going over the reasons why Jews are liberals based on historical facts of the past two thousand years, the advent of Christianity, then Islam. During this time, the Jews have been mercilessly persecuted by each of the "spin-off" religions, with each of them, to this, still trying to eliminate Judaism from the face of the earth. Jews, on their part, have identified with the down-trodden and other persecuted peop ...more
James
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book makes a valiant but not totally successful effort to explain why Jews "earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans." The attachment to Jewish causes is well-known and legendary. Jews are active in academia, government and entertainment, as well as the professions. While most support Israel, on other issues most are quite liberal, almost socialist. Mr. Podhoretz tries to explain this contradiction.

He takes us on a long and rather interesting trek through European and then Americ
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Andy
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
A very interesting look from the eyes of a conservative (politics and faith) Jew. He shares something that a lot of conservatives I know, Christians and atheists alike, struggle with: Why do Jews routinely support political parties and movements that appear to fight against all they hold dear, policies that routinely ignore their perspectives and goals, and worldviews that are openly hostile to their faith?
He answers these questions and many more in a very satisfying way, calling on history and
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Bradley
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a fantastic and enticing look at the phenomenon of Jews and the left, yet might be too simple of an examination than what is really necessary. Nevertheless, a worthy read to start just such an examination.
Greg
Sep 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: judaism
The conclusion of this book is extremely inflammatory. Essentially the author explains the persistence of liberal (in the sense of New Left, not classical liberalism) politics among Jews as a consequence of Jews replacing Judaism (as defined as the normative Eastern European orthodox tradition circa 1750) with what ever new -ism is fashionable--at one time Marxism and replaced by the New Left.

I do not find the argument very persuasive. Although it is undeniable that given current Jewish demograp
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Cheryl
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Norman Podhoretz does an excellent job explaining the history which leads to Jews rightly concluding that they had much more to fear from the right than from the left. He also makes a strong case for why this position no longer makes sense. He discusses the history of Jewish political attitudes towards each President since FDR including the percentage of the Jewish vote that each president received. I was very surprised that in 1980, many Jews abandoned the Democratic Party and voted for Reagan ...more
Samuel Leopold
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The history of why Jews are liberals is very well described and makes complete sense. The fear of European right-wing governments in the late 19th and early 20th century and hundreds of years of persecution by Christians of all flavors embedded the defensive mechanism in Jews to be progressive and to support politically progressive organizations. Simultaneously, lack of trust of right-wing groups of any sort, and Christian groups, is a natural reaction to hundreds of years of history.

The theory
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Dan
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Look Mr. Podheretz is a wonderful writer and almost anything he does sings.

But the bottom line on this book is that, when you get past the music of his writing, his answer is unsatisfying.
It's true, as far as it goes, and may explain the liberalism of some-to-many self-identified Jews.
But the answer is lacking in that it refuses to accept that there really are Jews who care deeply about Jewish tradition and just disagree with him on issues.

I think that's beneath someone who has written so well,
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Robert Melnyk
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting book explaining the historical reasons leading Jews to conclude that the left is more friendly to them than the right. It also explains that while that may have been the case in the past, it may no longer be the case today. It is interesting that the author, Norman Podhoretz is himself Jewish, and was once a liberal who is now a Republican. While he is critical of both parties, he makes the argument that the right is now more friendly to the Jews than the left, but unfortunately (in ...more
Mary
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The author answers the questions, Why are so many Jews liberals? – or - more specifically, Why do most Jews always vote for Democrats? He explores some inadequate explanations. Finally he proposes his own answer to the great puzzle of why most Jews remain as committed to liberalism as ever. quote
Jason
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
A great subject, but just an ok (at best) book. I am not convinced of the author's theory. I expected a little more.
Chris
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Setting aside the politics, a very informative brief history of anti-semitism.
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