May 30, 2021
Congressmen Elliot Engel & Jerrold Nadler. (Photo Credit: Sasson Tiram)
I have an Orthodox rabbinic colleague on the American political left, one of the very few still to be found among American Orthodox Jews. He was quite all over the place last autumn, promoting the Biden campaign and attacking President Trump. In fact, because there are so very few of that mindset among American Orthodox rabbis, he found himself getting quoted and featured in most left-wing Jewish media organs seeking to find an Orthodox rabbi for Biden over Trump. There was such a dearth of others to interview. I used to hear and read lots from him last October about how great it will be for Israel and Jews if only Biden and the Democrats would replace Trump and the GOP. Suddenly, alas, I have not heard or read a political insight from him the past six months. I almost miss reading his political predictions about how Biden and the Democrats would be bringing peace. A few weeks ago, I even invited him to share his political views with some of my rabbinic collagues and me. But no response. Crickets.
We know where the anti-Semites in America are. We see them on videos incorporated into Twitter feeds, as some Arabist Islamist sympathizers rampage on streets from Los Angeles to New York, Chicago to Atlanta. Some Jew-haters appear as TV "comedians" of the political "progressive" Left. No one on the other side of the aisle ever watches them. When it comes to Israel-haters like John Oliver and Trevor Noah, I don't even know their last names. And then there is "The Squad" in Congress, the AOC Democrats — AOC: Antisemites Of Color.
Missing amid the minor chaos are Joe Biden's little Jews. Remember them? Brave Chuck Schumer described himself to the Jewish voters of New York as "Shomer." He told the voters that his surname means he stands as their shomer, their guardian. And yet, behold this guardian of Israel both slumbers and sleeps. Thus, we are reminded in Psalm 146:3-4 — and we recite it every morning: "Do not put your faith in princes, in humans from whom there will come no saving. When his last breath leaves, he returns into his spot in the ground. On that day his thoughts disappear." Schumer the Shomer? There is only One Guardian of Israel in whom to put our faith. Psalms 121:4.
We are witnessing overtly what many of us began perceiving a decade and more ago — the end of the "Jewish Chapter" in America or, if you prefer, the "American Chapter" in Jewish history. Jewish history has moved from America to Israel, as has the predominant Jewish population in the world. When a Pew survey now avers that there are 7.5 million Jews in America, that is abject nonsense. More correctly, there now are 7.5 million who tell interviewers they are Jews or who want to be identified as Jews or who think they are Jews. However, students of the situation on the ground know very well that the 6 million American Jews of the 1960's now are fewer than 5 million, comprising some two percent of the population, down from three percent.
Not only are Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist converts not Jewish, but likewise the children of such "converted" women. As septuagenarian and octogenarian Jews threaten to disown their intermarrying sons and grandsons, and to delete them from their wills and bequests, Reform rabbis race in to assure the disgusted progenitors that all their patrilineal descendants, born of non-Jewish mothers, still will be deemed "Jewish" at the temple for bar and bat mitzvah. But of course they won't be any more Jewish than was the "converted" Marilyn Monroe. All lies and jest; still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.
The influence of Jews in America is finished, and yet Israel is none the worse for it. I remember the New York State Democrat presidential primaries in the 1960s and 1970s when candidates fell over themselves pledging support for Israel. Likewise the U.S. Senate primaries there. The days of Hubert Humphrey and Henry Jackson, Jacob Javits and Daniel Moynihan. Those days are so over. Nowadays, the major Democrat candidates take one look at their Democrat Jews, don't even bother getting photographed biting into a knish, and instead pledge to protect abortion on demand, and promise to open the borders to Muslims like Ilhan Omar begging to come in from Somalia and Syria and wherever. They know their Jews better than anyone else because they study scientifically what their prospective voters want to hear.
So the plethora of "Jewish groups" on the American Left like J Street, "IfNotNow," "Jewish Voice for Peace," "NeverAgainIsNow," and so many others of that ilk now have so many non-Jews among their "Jews" that even they don't know who among them is Jewish. That is where our analysis begins: huge numbers of today's "progressive" American Jews simply are not Jews.
Beyond that, in 2018 New York's own AOC — Antisemite Of Color — exposed a fascinating flaw in the American democratic electoral system that always existed but rarely was highlighted. In America, there are 436 seats in the House of Representatives, and each seat demands reelection every two years. In America's early years, each House seat represented 35,000-40,000 people. Nowadays, each House seat represents approximately 700,000 or more people. Keep that number in mind.
Many Congressional districts in America are "competitive," where either a Democrat or Republican might win the November "general election," but a great many more are not. For reasons beyond this discussion's purview — reasons including reapportionment, redistricting, gerrymandering, and the simple preference of people to live among like-minded people of a shared race or ethnicity or language — most November Congressional elections result in landslide wins for the candidate of the party that predominates that district. No matter the comparable qualities of the contenders, a Democrat will win the November "general election" in predominantly Democrat districts, and a Republican will win in predominantly Republican districts. Therefore, the more important Congressional race in essentially "One-Party Districts" is not the November general election but the springtime intra-party primary to determine who gets to be that party's candidate in November.
Remember how each Congressional district encompasses some 700,000 people? AOC's district has 696,664 people. More than 540,000 of them are old enough to vote. Half of her district (347,621) are Hispanic or Latino, and the other half (349,043) are not. The district has the third highest concentration of Hispanics in New York State. It is sixth among 27 districts in people below the poverty line.
In November 2018, when AOC ran for her first time in the Democrat primary against the incumbent Joe Crowley, she won with 16,898 votes to his 12,880. Understand what that means: AOC got the vote of three percent of her district's eligible voters, but her opponent got only two percent. More than 90 percent did not vote. Digest that. That primary victory allowed her to run as a Democrat that November in a district where no Democrat has lost in more than a century. In that election, she got 110,318 votes, barely one-fifth of her district's eligible voters. In 2020, her second time, she got 46,582 votes in the intra-party primary as she ran a more heavily funded campaign and had a more experienced team. Even so, she drew only eight percent of the eligible voters. Then in the November election — again, it basically is a one-party district — she drew 152,661 votes (approximately 28 percent of the vote).
These data evidence several facts that explain the disappearance, possibly forever, of Democrat Jews who stand firmly for Israel:
1. In a one-party Democrat Congressional district, the internal Democrat primary in the spring essentially determines the election winner, not the November general election against the Republican.
2. Remarkably few voters actually vote in House primaries. Therefore, an extreme-left candidate whose extreme progressive positions win favor with the left-wing mainstream media can win a House primary with less than 10 percent of the eligible vote because 80 pecent of the District's eligible voters do not care enough to vote in a primary — even though that is the race that matters more for most House seats.
Now, let's take a Jewish Congressman who once stood solidly with Israel, Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan. His one-party Congressional District has 732,732 people. Approximately 570,000 are of voting age. In the 2016 Democrat House primary, he won with 25,527 votes, comprising less than five percent of eligible voters. In the 2020 primary, he got 51,054 votes, comprising less than nine percent. With that track record, if someone dynamic challenges him in a primary within the Democrat party, he definitely can be defeated.
And there it is — the end of the Jewish chapter in American life. Nadler has an actual Judaic background. He attended Crown Heights Yeshiva, the only Congressman ever to have set foot in a yeshiva except to solicit votes and raise or dole out money (same thing in politics). He knows the shtick, the walk. To grasp what Nadler once was and what a tragedy he has become, you absolutely must watch this YouTube clip as he plays the Munkatcher Rebbe like a fiddle. (Listen for "im yirtzeh Hashem" at 3:40 and at 6:10, for example.) In time, Nadler became chair of the House Judiciary Committee, so he seems now to be very important and powerful. But not really. Somehow, this same Nadler not only did everything in his power to destroy President Trump during each of the two House impeachments but also became a disturbingly nasty lout, as when he wielded his power to refused to allow Attorney-General William Barr to have a brief restroom break.
Rep. Jerry Nadler Visits The Munkatcher Rebbe Shlita
AG Barr calls Rep. Nadler a 'class act' as committee melts down over taking a break
What happened to Nadler? He saw what AOC did and what some other extreme-left AOCs — Antisemites Of Color — have done by running successful House Democrat primaries and successfully unseating incumbents although attracting less than ten or even five percent of the eligible vote. He is terrified. He likewise knows that this new crop of AOCs deeply hate Jews and particularly Israel. So, to ward off a primary challenge next year, this is the despicable "even-handed" statement that this once-briefly Crown Heights Yeshiva bochur issued during the recent Hamas War:
"I unequivocally condemn the abhorrent terrorist attacks being committed by Hamas and other groups against innocent Israeli citizens. There can be no justification for these indiscriminate acts of terrorism and I support Israel's right to defend its citizens against such violence. I remain deeply concerned by the violence in Jerusalem, including Israeli police violence, and I urge all parties to exercise restraints. I also encourage the Government of Israel to halt the unjust eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah."
Thus another of our "guardians."
Schumer the "Shomer" is terrified of a primary challenge next June, so he now has transitioned from Schumer to Shtummer — the brave Senate Majority Leader who now is a Jew of Silence. Nadler is terrified that AOC will primary him, so he now condemns "Israeli police violence" and issues his own court verdict on the landlord-tenant eviction dispute in Sheikh Jarrah without even knowing the facts, just the AOC primary threat.
Other Democrat Jews in Washington now are similarly terrified that any strong support for Israel can spark an AOC primary challenge that will evict them from Congress and force them to earn an honest day's living. So they now focus passionately on abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, binary gender pronouns, reducing effective policing, leaving the country's southern border unprotected, and the "science" of irreversible climate change. (AOC says the world will end in less than ten years unless everyone retrofits their homes and office buildings with Green New Deal paraphernalia, stops flying on planes, and stops eating meat. She really does.)
Biden's Little Jews of Silence are correct about that last one. The climate in Washington indeed has changed, possibly irreversibly. Even so, as Mordechai the Jew told Queen Esther, "If you remain silent and hold your peace at this time, then relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, and you and your father's house will perish. And who is to know whether it was precisely for a time like this that you reached the highest echelon of power?" Esther 4:14.
As the Schumers and Nadlers fade away, cowering, new support for Israel has emerged from many Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz and many Christians like Pastor John Hagee and the ten million members of Christians United for Israel. Jews of faith know that our survival relies only on the True Guardian of Israel Who neither slumbers nor sleeps. That eternal truth will never require Nadler's "im yirtzeh Hashem" campaign ploy.