A recent Gallup Poll about support for the Iraqi Occupation notes something very interesting: Jews are more likely to oppose the war, even after party affiliation is taken into account. Gallup states, “It is unclear why Jewish Americans show such strong opposition to the war.” My answer?
Because we’re fucking smart.
Just kidding. Seriously, here are some reasons why I think Jews disproportionately oppose the war (full disclosure: I’m Jewish):
1) Back in 2001, when Bush referred to our anti-terrorism efforts as a crusade, many noted that Muslims would feel threatened by this language. But there’s another group that doesn’t like crusades: Jews. Typically, we were the spring training for the big show in the Outremer (although sometimes, after murdering Jews, the Crusaders got bored and went home, having never reached the Levant).
2) If the Christian Right supports it, do the opposite. While I think that’s a wise strategy for just about anyone, there is a long, awful history of suffering at the hands of Christian zealots. Combine that with the Dominionist right which thinks the End Times will involve both the physical and spiritual annihilation of the Jewish people, and we get really nervous about being in the same ideological room with these guys.
3) On average, I think Jews follow Middle East politics more closely because of support of Israel (or at least Israel’s right to exist, if not Israeli policies). The “good guys, bad guys” world view just doesn’t seem particularly realistic.
4) The Israeli occupation of Lebanon. I know I wasn’t the only Jewish person who thought that the occupation of Iraq would be very similar to Israel’s occupation of Lebanon. In retrospect, it’s frighteningly similar.
5) The whole neocon “Israel will be our surrogate army for our lunatic schemes” strikes me (and I think others) as a willingness to fight to the last Jew (which is better than outright slaughtering us, I suppose). It’s bad for everyone involved.
That’s what I’ve come up with.
Update: Juan Cole has more.