From the bestselling author of World War IV, a brilliant investigation of a central question in American politics and culture.
During his career as a neoconservative thinker, Norman Podhoretz has been asked no question more often than “Why are so many Jews liberals?” In this provocative book he sets out to solve this puzzle. He first offers a fascinating account of anti-Semitism in the West to show the historical roots of Jewish mistrust of the right. But, Podhoretz argues, since the Six Day War of 1967 Jewish allegiance to the left no longer makes sense, and yet most Jews continue supporting the Democratic Party and the liberal agenda. Reviewing the history of Jewish political attitudes and examining the available evidence, Podhoretz argues against the conventional explanations for Jewish liberalism—finally proposing his own.
Eminent neoconservative Podhoretz (World War IV) surveys the centuries of atrocities that, he says, have pushed most Jews to the Left, notably the persecutions by medieval Christendom, from blood libels to expulsion to ghettoization, and in modern times the Dreyfus affair and Nazism. Immigrant American Jews were attracted to the Democratic Party, says Podhoretz, because it was the closest counterpart to the European leftists who had favored Jewish emancipation. Phenomena like conservative opposition to fighting Hitler and Truman's recognition of Israel in 1948 kept Jews faithful to "the 'Torah' of liberalism." But Podhoretz calls on Jews to shift their allegiance, maintaining that Democratic attitudes toward Israel range from unsympathetic to passionately hostile while the Republicans, with some exceptions, have been solidly to fervently supportive since the end of the 1967 Six-Day War. Podhoretz writes scathingly about what he views as the Nation magazine's naked anti-Semitism, taking particular aim at a 1986 piece by Gore Vidal, but, refreshingly, also excoriates conservatives like Pat Buchanan and right-wing publications like Chronicles magazine for their anti-Semitism. Although preaching to the converted and at times rambling, Podhoretz is an astute and joyously provocative and partisan observer of the political landscape. (Sept. 8)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.