While the public perception of Jewish Republicans is largely colored by a small number of figures, many of them liberal Republicans, the Jewish grassroots is trending more conservative.
While the article is from the Forward, a far left paper slightly to the right of The Daily Worker, it does capture the fact that the same tensions exist among Jewish Republicans between RINO bigwigs and a more conservative base.
The civil war now engulfing the Republican Party is laying bare a split among Jewish GOP supporters, as well.
Some of the party’s biggest Jewish donors are taking the lead in pushing for a more moderate conservative party following the Republicans’ defeat in last year’s presidential election. At the same time, grassroots Jewish supporters, many of them Orthodox, are finding a new home among socially conservative Republicans who populate the Tea Party movement and the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The emergence of a substantial Jewish presence in the party’s hard-right wing is reflected, among other ways, in the daily prayer minyan and kosher food options that have popped up at the CPAC meetings in the past two years — catering to the strongly Orthodox bent of these Jewish conservatives.
“I don’t feel very Republican these days,” said political operative Jeff Ballabon, the man behind CPAC’s kosher meals and Sabbath prayer services, adding, “Who needs two Democratic parties?”
Ari Fleischer, one of the co-authors of “The Autopsy,” in many ways exemplifies the older, more familiar image of the establishment Republican Jew.
Fleischer also cited Romney’s idea of “self-deportation” of undocumented immigrants. “The Autopsy,” which Fleisher co-wrote with four other activists, champions “comprehensive immigration reform” as key to winning support among Latinos.
The argument is being made that the 2012 election results showed that the Jewish vote is drifting toward a sharp partisan divide.
Tevi Troy, a former top Bush administration official, has been analyzing the correlation between the Jewish vote for Republican candidates and the candidates’ success in the general election. He found that until the recent presidential race, Republican candidates who fared relatively well with Jewish voters won the general elections. “In the past,” Troy said, “it was clear that the Jewish vote was a bellwether for winning over the moderates.”
This time around, Romney’s achievements among Jews did not signal any similar success with moderate voters. The reason, Troy said, may have to do with the changing face of the Jewish Republican voter, who is no longer necessarily a fiscal conservative with mainstream views on family and social issues.
This emergent, more diverse Republican Jewish electorate includes, alongside the socially moderate donors, more strongly ideological conservative thinkers that make up the party’s intellectual backbone, such as William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer and Yuval Levin. There is also a growing constituency of Orthodox Jewish voters who, according to Troy, “are not turned off by social issues.”
To the extent that there ever was an American Jewish consensus, it’s collapsing into the same partisan divide as the rest of the country, with left-wing Jews on one side and right-wing Jews on another.