When DougJ asked "why do so many right-wing Jewish Americans hate other Jewish Americans so much" in response to reading this Jennifer Rubin piece asking "Why Jews Hate Palin", I thought he might have been being a bit harsh. Then I read the Rubin article, and, geez, I'm eating my words. Rubin's piece simply drips with contempt towards the American Jewish community. They are just outraged that Jews are Jews. We saw the same thing when Norman Podhoertz published Why are Jews Liberal (Leon Wieseltier's evisceration of this was classic).
There are two things going on here. First is Rubin's befuddlement that Jews don't run like teen rock fans into the arms of anyone who is "vocally" pro-Israel. We're savvy enough to interrogate what that means, and not everyone who says (or even believes) they are pro-Israel actually qualifies in a manner consistent with how Jews understand the term. Palin's creepily maximalist positions on the conflict are way out of the Jewish mainstream -- her position here is a bug, not a feature! And no, it's not a manifestation of "stereotypes" against Christian evangelicals to say so. We're entitled to choose what constitutes being our friend.
Second, while Rubin at least doesn't succumb to the common misconception that Jews are single-issue Israel voters, she does brush all the other issues we care about aside with careless ease (how many brownie points is she supposed to earn because she didn't commit to pursuing an actively "creationist" agenda as Governor?). Sarah Palin inspires special animosity amongst Jews because Sarah Palin is currently the highest profile member of the purely anti-intellect, theocratic wing of the Republican Party that is an anathema to virtually all of the broadly held positions of the average American Jew. I doubt, say, Jim Inhofe would fare much better if he had been nominated for Vice President (I was trying to think of another politician who is not just as identified with the far right as Palin is, but at least approaches her positive vibration of hostility towards intellectual attainment).
And our other (supposed) attributes are met with nothing short of seething hatred. Jews are snobby elitists, Jews don't have respect for the working class, Jews look down on anyone who isn't sipping a latte at a Harvard bookstore, Jews would never stoop so low as to join the military or play hockey. It's amazing to me that it's a Jewish writer we're dealing with here -- this simply a litany of anti-Jewish stereotypes. Moreover, she even throws into the pile a bunch of supposed "problems" with Palin that had no linkage to the Jewish community whatsoever except through her amateur psychoanalysis. Jews don't like the "sexual" Palin because they like their female politicians frumpy. Jews don't like Palin having five kids because we're post-sexual revolution liberals who hold mothers in contempt (or something -- maybe it's because Jewish women are frigid? It was a bit more incoherent than usual here).
It is certainly true that Jews value education, intellect, and policy knowledge greatly. And we're perfectly willing to admire these traits when they manifest in persons of whatever background (Bill Clinton grew up dirt poor, and Joe Biden comes from decidedly working-class Scranton with degrees from not-exactly-elite Delaware and Syracuse). Governor Palin isn't just missing these qualities, she holds active contempt for them. She doesn't just govern on "instinct", she thinks wonks are worthy of scorn. She doesn't just come from a rural area, she thinks that city-dwellers aren't real Americans (I have continued concern about how the distinctive GOP trope rallying against "urban intellectual elites" is an anti-Semitic dogwhistle). She doesn't just lack basic awareness of important political issues, she actively seeds misinformation.
Of course we're going to dislike her. She is the culmination of every trend in the modern Republican Party that's led to its virtual abandonment by the Jewish community.
That's why Jews hate Sarah Palin. The question is, why does Jennifer Rubin hate us so much for it?
UPDATE: See also Ned Resnikoff, Capital J, and especially David Frum.