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Contentions

Preventing a Budget Compromise Was Liberal Priority, Not a Jewish Issue

The congressional supercommittee’s failure to bridge the vast divide between the two parties on taxes and spending is being attributed by many in the mainstream media to one side alone. As the New York Times put it in a typically partisan editorial published this morning, “the only reason the committee failed was because Republicans refused to raise taxes on the rich.” The distorted and bias interpretation of a principled refusal on the part of some in the GOP to enact job-killing tax increases in the middle of an economic downturn is bad enough. But it also ignores the fact that a key element of the Democratic base was just as opposed to compromise as the Tea Party.

While the Grey Lady was gnashing its teeth over the standoff, some liberal groups were rejoicing. One such organization, the National Council of Jewish Women, released a statement saying, “no deal is better than a bad deal.” According to the NCJW, a stalemate is better than a deal that would have begun the necessary task of entitlement reform without which the nation is doomed to insolvency.

One of the curious aspects of the liberal lobbying against a budget compromise is the way liberal Jewish groups have been among the most outspoken defenders of the existing broken system. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports, a “faithful budget” coalition sought to pressure members of Congress to avoid cuts in entitlements. According to JTA, Rabbi Jack Moline, director of public policy for the Rabbinical Assembly (the association of rabbis affiliated with Judaism’s Conservative religious movement), led a public prayer meeting at Lafayette Park this past weekend. Moline stumped for the president in 2008 as the head of a “Jews for Obama” group.

It speaks volumes about the politicization of Jewish organizational life that supposedly bipartisan groups like the NCJW and the RA would allow themselves to be dragged into the budget fight. While they may argue that Judaism enjoins its adherents to take care of the poor, the notion that it endorses specific levels of taxation or government spending is a blatant misrepresentation of Jewish beliefs.

These statements prove the obstacle to budget compromise was as much left-wing ideology as it was of the principles of the right. They also illustrate how in some precincts of the organized Jewish world, the interests of political liberalism have long since become fused with that of Judaism. Suffice to say that while the majority of Jews may still be liberal, any effort to identify such partisan cant with that of the Jewish faith is unjustified.


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