Features

'Torah of liberalism'

"'Torah of liberalism'" Continued...

Issue: "O Jerusalem," April 10, 2010

Q: And in the United States? This carried over into the United States, where the closest counterparts of the hostile forces of Europe seemed to be the Republicans, and the friendly counterparts seemed to be Democrats or to the left of the Democrats, the Socialists and at one point even the Communists. Nobody, up to a certain point, would have wondered why Jews were liberals. What else would they be?

Q: But in the 1960s everything changed. . . The real problem arose, as I date it, after 1967. For various reasons related to the culture of the '60s, there was a very dramatic reversal of roles between right and left, not just in the United States but everywhere in the world. This had to do with the State of Israel but spilled over into Jews in general. Whereas the right had always been unfriendly, enemy territory, it was suddenly becoming friendly. Whereas the left had been friendly territory, it was suddenly becoming hostile. This reversal has developed further and further, until today you could say without any equivocation that the most passionate supporters of the State of Israel in the United States are the evangelical Protestants, probably even more than the Jewish community itself by now.

Q: Who are Jews' worst enemies? The worst enemy of the Jewish state, and of Jews generally, is anti-Zionism, which is what anti-Semitism used to be. The canards, libels, and hatreds that were developed against the Jewish people in the past have been translated into the language of foreign affairs and directed against the Jewish state. The worst enemies of the Jewish state, and of Jews generally, are now to be found on the left, both here and around the world.

Q: Why do so many Jews refuse to recognize, acknowledge, and act upon this huge change in political culture that is now almost 50 years old? In the third part of my book I try to analyze the various theories that have been propounded to explain this puzzling phenomenon. I try to show that there are sociological, historical, and religious theories, and while they all have an element of truth, most are inadequate or just plain wrong. What I try to explain is that liberalism has become much more than a set of political opinions for political Jews: It has become a religion in its own right, with its own Torah of liberalism and its own set of commandments.

Q: Does this new Torah supersede the old? To the point where whenever they conflict, the new Torah will always trump the old. The devotion of three-quarters of my fellow Jews in America to liberalism and the Democratic Party is as passionate and scrupulous and faithful as the devotion their great-grandparents had toward the Torah of Judaism. They are very loyal to it, and they regard any move from left to right, or from liberalism to conservatism, with the same horror that their grandparents and great-grandparents felt about conversion to Christianity. There was a time when Orthodox Jews would actually go into mourning if a child converted. Many of my friends on the left went into their form of mourning when I became an apostate as a neo-conservative. They didn't know that they were aping their grandparents, but that's what they were doing.
To hear Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Norman Podhoretz, click here.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    From cool to cold

    A long-term study finds middle-school popularity often doesn’t end well