Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jews Left of Jews

One of the recurrent observations about the recent J Street conference is that the membership seemed to be well to the left of the leadership. Eventually, this may spark an identity crisis. But now that I think about it -- don't Jews always seem to be to the left of their leaders, no matter the context? J Street was founded, after all, on the observation that the rank-and-file Jewish organizations (e.g., AIPAC and the AJC) appear to be led by folks well to the right of the mainstream Jewish community that makes up their members. I'd reckon even a far-right organization like the ZOA has a membership that is considerably less conservative than Mort Klein. Likewise, at the institutional level the Jewish community has excellent relations with the national Republican Party, despite the fact that the overall communal Jewish view of the GOP has always placed them somewhere between the Southern Baptist Church and Jews for Jesus.

It's a weird phenomenom. I wonder why it is.

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