The Jewish Angle of the White House
The media reports that Bernie Sanders is culturally Jewish. It means he is not practicing the Jewish religion. He was raised Jewish in his youth and went to a kibbutz for the summer. He went to Sha’ar HaAmakim, a kibbutz that was established by leftist Yugoslav immigrants to Israel. Since Yugoslavia established the democratic socialist system called self-management, I wonder if Sanders got his political ideas at that time.
But not only Sanders has Jewish connections.
The second husband of Hilary Clinton’s grandmother, Max Rosenberg, was a Russian-born Jew, and Hilary’s son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky is a practicing Jew. You could say her granddaughter is Jewish too.
Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, converted to Judaism and is married to a practicing Jew. They keep Kosher at home. Donald Trump’s grandchildren are Jewish.
If Bloomberg runs, we have another Jew that might inhabit the White House.
Adding Cruz and Rubio as contenders for the Presidency means that four out of six candidates to inhabit the White House have a connection to Judaism. There is a good chance a person with strong Jewish affinity might be the next most powerful person in the world.
Is this good for Israel or not?
I suggest that it is not.
Jewish people, I find, have a conflict about their Jewishness. They are defensive about it. They will bend over backwards so that no one who is not Jewish will accuse them of being supportive of Jews, or biased towards Jewish causes.
I suggest that the Jewish people feel more guilty or ashamed of being Jewish than feel proud of being Jewish. It is reflected in the decisions they make. Some hide their Jewishness. Some manifest rejection of anything Jewish so they are not identified as sympathizers of Jewish causes. Take Sanders. He is trying to downplay his Jewish background as much as possible.
As a result of this defensiveness, I expect a President with a Jewish connection to be more critical of Israel, not less. And because of their Jewish connection. Not in spite of it.
We have examples of this phenomena happening throughout history. Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of Britain, who was a Sephardic Jew by birth, was not too sympathetic to the Jewish cause. On the contrary. He converted.
The owners of the New York Times are Jewish by background too. They bend over backwards to not support Jewish causes, to not be accused of bias. As a matter of fact they show bias in the opposite direction. Often they are being accused of being anti-Israeli.
As is, the situation is tense between Washington and Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Jewish population in the United States is not united in supporting Israel. Thus, whoever is in the White House does not have to worry about the Jewish vote if he or she makes decisions Israel does not like.
A President with Jewish affinity who is not in debt to the Jewish vote is a double jeopardy for Israel.
It is not going to be easy.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes