Why Would Any Jew Be a Republican?

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This originally appeared in my Broke-Ass City column in the San Francisco Examiner

I completely get why so many rich, white, straight, Christian men are Republicans. The party’s ethos is devoted to serving that segment of the population. What I don’t understand is why anybody else would be one.

Why would working class people support the GOP when they create laws that give tax cuts to the rich, while taking services away from the poor? Why would people of color be Republicans when the party has done everything in its power to undermine the socioeconomic advancement of black and brown people ? Why would queer people join the GOP when they continually try to deny the LGBTQ+ community of their civil rights? Why would women vote for men who don’t want them to have autonomy over their own bodies?

As a Jew, a loud obnoxious one at that, I’m also repeatedly flabbergasted that other Jews are Republicans. I’m not talking about the people who believe in small government and lower taxes – while I don’t agree with them, we can have a dialogue about our ideological differences. It’s the entire rest of the party that is so vile.

If you’re a Jew, your ancestors were kicked from country to country for 2000 years. If you’re an American Jew there’s a 75 percent chance that your ancestors fled Europe to get away from pogroms, Nazis, and other murderous things. The people who are coming to American now as refugees are fleeing the same types of evils our ancestors did. To know that some of my fellow Jews support the camps at the border, and support raids that take parents away from their children, and don’t see the similarities between what happened in Nazi Germany and what’s happening now…well, it sickens my soul. But the fact that there are Jews who still support Donald Trump after his refusal to condemn white men marching in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us!”…well that wrecks my head. Anti-Semitism doesn’t get any more blatant than that.

Just this week Donald Trump promoted himself as “King of Israel” on Twitter – yes really. And he also pulled out a tired anti-Semitic trope when he said that Jews who vote Democrats are disloyal. The dog whistle here is that Jews are neve loyal to any country they are in and that they are always working to overthrow it. Yet, somehow, there are Jewish people who still back this insane bigot.

Luckily, for my piece of mind, most Jews do not support the white supremacy pushed by the GOP. Nor do they back the Golem of hate that sits in the Oval Office. A total of 71 percent of Jews voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, which is a substantial number, and I imagine that if that election happened today, it would be even higher.

Despite the vast majority of Jews despising the Trump Administration – and their fascist actions — the lying, sniveling, hate-filled GOP keep hiding behind their “Jewish friends” when they do or say something racist.

When Donald Trump got backlash for finger-mashing out tweets calling for four congresswomen of color to “go back” where they came from, he then raised up the specter of anti-Semitism to defend himself. In further tweets, he called the congresswomen “Anti-Semitic,” “Anti-America,” “Anti-Israel,” and “Pro Al-Qaeda”.

Just last week Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib (two of the congresswomen told to “go back”) were denied the ability to visit Israel and Palestine because Trump encouraged the country’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to bar them. Both congresswomen have been highly critical of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations, and they’ve endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement as a way to curb Israeli aggression towards the Palestinian people. Senator Lindsey Graham used this as an opportunity to try and score points by hiding behind anti-Semitism saying “If you openly joined an international movement to destroy the state of Israel, then you’ll suffer the consequences.” As these congresswomen have been vocal about the horrific things the US government is doing, Graham is trying to punish them by saying they are anti-Israel and therefore anti-Semitic.

This is problematic in so many ways.

First off, you can be critical of Israel and be critical of the United States without being anti-Semitic. I do it every day. Trust me, there is plenty to be critical about both places (that’s for an entirely different article though).

Secondly, American Jews don’t represent Israel, and Israel doesn’t represent us.

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, these racists don’t actually care about Jews or Israel. The Republican Party only started caring about Jews and Israel (which they equate as the same thing) around the time George W. Bush got elected. A large portion of Evangelical Christians believe an interpretation of Revelations that says the Jews need to be in Israel for the Second Coming of Christ to occur. Since it was with Bush’s election that Evangelicals became a serious power in the Republican Party, Israel suddenly became important to the GOP.

It was 9/11 that made the rest of the GOP care about Israel because suddenly they were the United States’ ally (or pawn) in the never ending War on Terror.

So to my fellow Jews who still somehow support this ugliness, I’m asking you wise up and realize when you’re being manipulated by people who honestly don’t care about your wellbeing.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.