One of our readers, Alexander Chester, writes in response to my blogpost about Obama's knowledge of Judaism. He argues that Orthodox Jews don't vote Republican because of Israel or economics (as is commonly thought), but because of group cohesion, insularity, and their resulting attitudes toward minority-group politics:
The Berman survey [of Jewish voting patterns in 2008] indicates that among Orthodox Jews who self-report that “all their close friends are Jewish,” McCain enjoyed a victory over Obama of ninety percent to ten percent. Orthodox Jews who report only that “most” of their close friends are Jewish supported McCain over Obama just sixty percent to forty percent…
The strong cohesiveness of the Orthodox community leads many Orthodox Jews to assume that all minority groups act likewise, looking out for themselves first. They notice Obama’s support among the African-American community not as a point of suspicion, but one of justified ethnic pride. Many Orthodox Jews still possess a “ghetto mentality” long abandoned by more liberal Jews, which espouses that the responsibility for any wrong committed by one Jew will be applied to the entire community. This explains [for instance] why some Orthodox Jews oppose the idea of a Jewish president. Such Jews do not consider themselves racist for automatically connecting Obama to other blacks simply by virtue of their shared race any more than they consider themselves anti-Semitic for making the same connections between Jews.
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