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Jewish demographics and politics not easily generalized

Reader comment on item: Republicans and Democrats Look at the Arab-Israeli Conflict
in response to reader comment: Is Jewish support for PM Cameron and PM Harper a leading indicator of change?

Submitted by Michael S (United States), May 17, 2015 at 11:17

Hello, Pez

Cameron's support seems to be aligned with voters who favor British sovereignty over absorption into a European system -- namely, anciently-rooted Englishmen and mature voters, what one might collectively call "the establishment". American Republicans tend to come from a similar base, with "Bible-oriented Northwest Europeans" substituted for "anciently-rooted Englishmen". Canadian support for Harper seems to come from this base as well. Both the American Democrats and the British Labor Party, on the other hand, tend to draw from relative newcomers and from others who look upon themselves as "outsiders".

Jews in America used to self-identify as "outsiders"; but it's hard to make a case for that nowadays. Like the Roman Catholics here, a larger and larger percentage of them have been insensibly drifting toward the Republican Party. I think the situation in Canada is different: a larger percentage of Jews there seem to be more recent arrivals; and where they identify as religious, they tend to be much more Orthodox and Obserbant than American Jews. English Jews, from what little I know, have been established for a long time in the country and have, by and large, been of a "Reform" bent since the 1800s.

Jews in the three areas, therefore, seem to be of very different backgrounds from one another; but in every case, their degree of "Conservative" political affiliation seems to correlate with how much they identify with self-identified "insiders" of their adopted countries: this shift doesn't seem to correspond so much to their religious identity, though Orthodox and Observant Jews certainly tend to be more inherently conservative than their less-observant brothers and sisters.

I'm really skeptical, about bringing inter-sectarian demographics into this discussion. Orthodox and Observant Jews tend, for various reasons, to have large families -- in Israel, larger even than those of the Arabs. If all other things are to be held constant, this, in itself, points to an ever-increasing Religious component of Jews worldwide. In America, though, the difference in birthrates is greatly leveraged by the tendency of the irreligious to leave Judaism. It is counterbalanced, on the other hand, by religious Jews being far more inclined than their fellows to do aliyah to Israel.

I think this is a complicated issue, not easily generalized.

Submitting....

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