August 2, 2006


Is Jewish support for Liberals eroding? (BRIAN LAGHI AND DANIEL LEBLANC, 8/02/06, Globe and Mail)

[S]enior Liberals say members of the Jewish community have been expressing concern over the party's position.

That position has been critical of Mr. Harper and calls for a more nuanced policy that would let government play a moderating role in defusing international crises.

Some Liberals believe backers of Jewish descent might take their votes elsewhere.

"I think some may," Mr. Grafstein said. "And the question is, it depends on what the new leadership does. This is not going to be solved this month or next month or the month after. This is, unfortunately, a protracted situation."

While small in number, the Jewish community is influential in major cities. Over the years, it has become well-woven into the fabric of the Liberal Party, acting as major donors and as advisers. An example is Onex Corp. chief executive officer Gerry Schwartz, a confidante to former prime minister Paul Martin.

But the community is currently anxious about Israel and some members are impressed by Mr. Harper's lack of equivocation.

And with pressure mounting from the Jewish community, a number of individual MPs, such as leadership contender Michael Ignatieff, have felt compelled to make their views on the issue public.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 2, 2006 9:59 AM

Public officials compelled to make their views public. What a notion? I hope it catches on here.

Posted by: erp at August 2, 2006 10:35 AM

The less overt influence of the evangelical movement in Canada may make it easier for Jews there to base their politics on the actual situation today, and not be so fearful about some boogeyman their parents and grandparents told them about when Hilter was taking over Austria and Czeckoslovakia in the 1930s that it automatically binds them to the political left in perpetuity.

Posted by: John at August 2, 2006 11:24 AM

Pardon my grumpy group-think, but it's about bloody time, Western, if not American quite yet, Jews started taking a damn hard look at the "progressives" whom they are so willing to march in the streets with, vote along-side, and argue in the same trenches with in academia and culture.

Just an aside... How many American Jews loathe Mr. Bush? And when the protests turned out in the DC streets in 2001 (I was there), the punch-card Int'l ANSWER signs said "End Israel's fascist occupation!"

So Israel did just that. ANd in 2004 and 2005, the signs said "No right of return, No peace!"

Uh-huh, nice way to moooooove those goal posts, thus validating what hard-line Israelis have been saying for decades, namely that it does not matter jack-diddly what Israel does, her enemies want her to die. Period. So do the "progressives", it seems.

And so do American Jews who march with them, apparently. I can't call them too dumb to understand this reality, so if anyone has a better explanation for this unfathomable alliance, please share.

Posted by: Andrew X at August 2, 2006 11:24 AM

Andrew, welcome to the conversation. I've been having this argument with friends for fifty years and it hasn't been adequately explained to me either, except to say that old attitudes die hard.

A very good friend who lives in Connecticut, is Jewish and who I'm sure will vote for Lamont, votes Republican in local elections (she lives in a tony suburb) because she doesn't want public housing, etc. in her town.

Does she think this is hypocrisy, no sirree bob.

Posted by: erp at August 2, 2006 1:01 PM