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Why Are Jews Liberals?


Norman Podhoretz (View Bio)
Hardcover: Doubleday, 2009.

Why Are Jews Liberals?

“Podhoretz is an astute and joyously provocative and partisan observer of the political landscape.”—Publishers Weekly

Norman Podhoretz says he has never in his entire life been asked any question on any subject as often as “Why are so many Jews liberals?”—or in its more specifically political form, “Why do most Jews always vote for the Democrats?”  He proposes to solve this puzzle, and offers a fascinating account of anti-Semitism in the West to show why for a long time Jews quite sensibly concluded that they had much more to fear from the right than the left. But since the Six Day War of 1967, he argues, this position has no longer made sense, and yet most Jews go on supporting the Democratic Party and the liberal agenda. Reviewing the history of Jewish political attitudes and thoroughly examining the available evidence, he then demonstrates that all the usual explanations—such as a passion for justice allegedly deriving from the prophets of the Hebrew Bible—are either inadequate or flat-out false. Finally he proposes his own answer to the great puzzle of why most Jews remain as committed to liberalism as ever.

There is no more vigorous thinker or skilled polemicist in American intellectual life than Norman Podhoretz. In WHY ARE JEWS LIBERALS? he sums up his thinking on the political inclinations of his fellow Jews, confounding conventional wisdom and changing the way we view American politics.

"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

"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

"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

"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

"Podhoretz takes on a provocative subject, rejects conventional wisdom, and delivers a book that is important, original, and thought-provoking." — Henry A. Kissinger

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