By RONN TOROSSIAN
The recent groundbreaking UJA poll on the Jewish community showed that 74% of all New York City Jewish children are Orthodox, explosive growth in the Orthodox & Hasidic communities and a dramatic decline in Jewish observance amongst reform and conservative Jews. Undoubtedly, the Jewish community today is much more conservative on issues – and likely to become even more so with age demographics.
One wonders if the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish establishment organizations read the survey – and will the Jewish establishment recognize this trend and actually serve the “community” they claim to care so much about? The ADL is a major Jewish human rights organization that has done much good work. But if their purpose is devoted to combating antisemitism they must remember they aren’t the Jewish wing of the Democratic Party.
In the year 2012 alone, the ADL:
- Issued a press release defending the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit declaring Section 3 of the 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) unconstitutional. What exactly does an organization purportedly dedicated to fighting Antisemitism have to do with a statement on their website which says “DOMA represents a form of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation that has no place in American society. This unanimous decision makes it clear that all legally married couples must be treated equally by the federal government.” Is this a consensus issue in the Jewish community? Or is it a consensus issue solely among liberals?
- A few days later, a press release “praised President Barack Obama for his administration’s decision not to seek deportation for as many as 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, calling the move “a responsible and important step in the right direction” toward comprehensive immigration reform. Naturally, Republicans say Obama should have waited for Congress to overhaul immigration laws instead of bypassing lawmakers with this directive.
- In January 2012, the head of the ADL, Abraham Foxman said to a Republican candidate that ‘’religious appeals to voters are simply unacceptable and un-American.” Says who exactly? I think many modern religious – and certainly Haredim – would certainly disagree.
- In an op-ed “Opinion: The Threat of Sharia Law: It’s All a Matter of Myth Making,” Foxman says that “the threat of the infiltration of Sharia, or Islamic law, into the American court system is one of the more pernicious conspiracy theories to gain traction in our country in recent years.” He is accusing Americans wary of Sharia of bigotry. Liberal values.
If the ADL and other Jewish communal leaders are aware of the demographic shifts in our community, how can they continue to push such liberal divisive viewpoints? The Jewish community of the past may be focused towards the Democratic Party and liberalism but today’s Jews are conservative, religious – and if the ADL wants to represent Jewry they better wake up.
It is incumbent upon all of the Jewish community to recognize the words of Ze’ev Jabotinsky the great Zionist leader who said: “Silence is despicable, it leads to a loss of flesh and blood.” Jews today are proud, conservative and religious – that doesn’t mean liberal and democratic.