Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Jewish Week on Jews on Minorities

Krum as a bagel
Further to this post, the new Jewish Week reports on a recent survey which surprisingly shows that, despite the perceptions of increasing conservatism, the attitude of Jews on a variety of political issues remain relatively static. What struck me is the similarity between the views of Jews and African-Americans:

Asked if "little or nothing will be done to deal with the issue of race and poverty" following Katrina, 66 percent of African-Americans and 65 percent of Jews agreed. The figure for whites and Hispanics was 47 percent.

Similarly, only 16 percent of African-Americans and 27 percent of Jews agreed that "President Bush cares about the needs of minority communities in America," while 47 percent of whites and 38 percent of Hispanics agreed.
I guess these numbers should not be surprising. Jews have always been, and continue to be, more liberal politically than white Gentiles. But the views expressed in the survey are reflect more than just liberalism. It's more like concern and empathy towards other minorities. Jews appear to be adopting black people's perceptions of injustice towards them.

How to explain it?
The findings of the FEU study "are not a surprise," said Diane Steinman, executive director of the AJCommittee’s New York chapter." Jews have been in the vanguard over the years of savoring civil rights," she said. "Jews tend to endorse liberal reasons" — such as racism and inadequate government funding for anti-poverty programs — "for the socio-economic disparities between blacks and whites."

I would love to see how the responses broke down by denomination or level of observance. This would give us perhaps a more accurate read on whether the anecdotal perceptions noted here are correct. More on this later.

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