Why Are Jews Liberals? (Paperback)
From the bestselling author of World War IV, a brilliant investigation of a central question in American politics and culture.
During his career as a neoconservative thinker, Norman Podhoretz has been asked no question more often than “Why are so many Jews liberals?” In this provocative book he sets out to solve this puzzle. He first offers a fascinating account of anti-Semitism in the West to show the historical roots of Jewish mistrust of the right. But, Podhoretz argues, since the Six Day War of 1967 Jewish allegiance to the left no longer makes sense, and yet most Jews continue supporting the Democratic Party and the liberal agenda. Reviewing the history of Jewish political attitudes and examining the available evidence, Podhoretz argues against the conventional explanations for Jewish liberalism—finally proposing his own.
About the Author
Norman Podhoretz, the author of eight previous books on subjects ranging from contemporary literature to foreign policy, was editor in chief of "Commentary" for thirty-five years and is now the magazine's editor at large and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. A graduate of Columbia and Cambridge Universities, as well as of the Seminary College of Jewish Studies (where he earned a Bachelor of Hebrew Literature), he has been awarded a Pulitzer Scholarship, a Kellett Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, the Francis L. Boyer Award from the American Enterprise Institute, and five honorary doctorates, including one from the Jewish Theological Seminary and another from Yeshiva University. He lives in New York City with his wife, the writer Midge Decter.
“A fine and bracing examination of a question that has vexed Podhoretz for decades. He displays, along the way, the skill for supple reasoning and pugnacious argument that was the hallmark of his long editorship of Commentary magazine.”
—Wall Street Journal
“Thought-provoking. . . . Sheds new light on an intriguing enigma.”
—The Boston Globe
“[Podhoretz writes] ably, learnedly, charmingly, with his characteristic lucidity and incisiveness. . . . You’ll find revelations in every chapter.”
—David Klinghoffer, National Review
“Podhoretz takes on a provocative subject, rejects conventional wisdom, and delivers a book that is important, original, and thought-provoking.”
—Henry A. Kissinger
“Why are Jews liberals? God only knows. But Norman Podhoretz offers as lively and convincing an explanation as we’re likely to get from a merely human source. I particularly liked his comparison of today’s Jewish liberals to the Church Father Tertullian—one likely to offend both liberals and Tertullianites!”
—William Kristol, editor of Weekly Standard
“Norman Podhoretz has written a characteristically vigorous and well-informed book about one of the most interesting and persistent questions in American politics. He gets right to the heart of the matter, and provides a convincing explanation of why American Jews tend to vote against their own interests, and those of Israel.”
—Paul Johnson, author of A History of the Jews and Modern Times
“This is another uncompromising, hard-hitting, brilliant, and richly provocative Norman Podhoretz book. Nearly every chapter offers a compelling answer to questions you always wanted to ask . . . and then hesitated. Podhoretz’s fresh angle for looking at history, especially modernity, brings intellectual excitement of a very high order.”
—Michael Novak, winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion
“Norman Podhoretz tackles one of the most intractable questions of modern politics: Why do Jews act against their enlightened self-interest in conditions of political freedom? Part of the answer comes in his survey of the historical connection between the Jews and liberalism, the rest in his up-to-date analysis of how liberalism became a proxy for Judaism. Want to know why Jews in overwhelming numbers voted for Barack Obama? Read this wise and insightful book.”
—Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University