Monday, April 30, 2007

Ever To The Left

The new president of the American Jewish Congress has pledged to restore the group's progressive domestic policy focus. I particularly like the increased emphasis on outreach to other ethnic groups and organizations, including Muslim groups. Jews have always been an integral part of "Rainbow" coalitions, and I think it is important to nourish that activism and assuage concerns that the contemporary Jew is still as committed civil rights and equality for all Americans as we have been in years past.

In recent years, the AJC had been getting a reputation for moving to the right, even occasionally (and unjustly) being called a "conservative" organization. Much of this has been overstated, but I'd just as soon nip things in the bud on that count. Jews remain overwhelmingly liberal, our political commitments are strongly in line with the Democratic Party mainstream, and it's important for the broader political community to feel that our organizations accurately represent the views of the American Jewish population writ large.


PG said...

How do you think progressive Jewish organizations can work constructively with the few but unduly prominent African American organizations that have somewhat anti-Semitic leadership? do you think a coalition can be formed with such groups?

David Schraub said...

Depends who we're talking about. I doubt we're going to be making pals with the Nation of Islam anytime soon. But folks whose history is a bit...fuzzier (Jesse Jackson, for example) I think can be dealt with. There's some concerns in the Jewish community about latent Black anti-Semitism, but I think they're overcomable. Jews and Blacks still have a strong history together, and there are plenty of old warhands from the civil rights struggles that can bring that out. And the next generation of Black leaders (folks like Obama, Cory Booker, and Keith Ellison) have proven themselves quite amenable to working with the Jewish communities.

So I'm optimistic. "Deep roots", as the wise sage once said, "are not reached by the frost."