I’ve been saying this for a long time, but now we have polling evidence from a respected, nonpartisan group, the Public Religion Research Institute, that proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt: Eric Cantor is wildly out of touch with his fellow American Jews on Jewish religious and ethical values, Jewish political preferences, Israel, you name it. A few highlights from the poll.
*American Jews, other than Eric Cantor that is, overwhelmingly support “pursuing justice” (84% say this is important), “caring for the widow and the orphan” (80%), “Tikkun olam, healing the world” (72%), “Welcoming the stranger” (72%), and “Seeing every person as made in the image of God” (55%; just 23% say “not at all important”).
*”The most important issue for Jewish registered voters ahead of the 2012 election is the economy, with 51% reporting that this issue would be most important to their vote.” In contrast, just 4% of American Jews list Israel on their priority list for the 2012 elections, while just 2% list Iran. Yet if you listen to Eric Can’tor, you’d think that the ONLY thing American Jews care about is Israel, and of course only in the sense that they 100%, uncritically, support the right-wing government and policies of that country’s current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
*When it comes to Netanyahu’s policies, not surprisingly American Jews are divided, with 53% saying “they would support the establishment of a Palestinian state” (42% are opposed). Included in that 42%, apparently, is Eric Can’tor.
*With regard to President Obama’s policies towards Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, 35% of American Jews are generally supportive, 36% are not sure, and 28% disagree. Eric Can’tor is among that 28% minority of American Jews.
*On Iran, “Nearly six-in-ten (59%) American Jews agree that the U.S. should take military action to prevent Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon if economic sanctions are unable to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program, compared to 37% who disagree.” On that one, it appears that they are in agreement with President Obama, who has pushed for tough economic sanctions against Iran, far tougher than anything the Bush administration ever did, and has clearly stated that “containment” of Iran is NOT American policy, but that stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon in the first place IS our policy. Can’tor, apparently, is more in the John McCain/Lindsey Graham/Joe Lieberman “bomb bomb bomb IMMEDIATELY, don’t wait to see if tough sanctions work” camp.
*Only a small minority of American Jews (22%) believe, erroneously/absurdly, “that American Muslims ultimately want to establish Shari’a or Islamic law as the law of the land in the United States.” At the same time, “Two-thirds (66%) of American Jews agree that American Muslims are an important part of the religious community in the United States, compared to 32% who disagree.” Eric Can’tor, in stark contrast, has actually defended Rep. Peter King’s hearings on “radical Islam.” Once again, Can’tor is distinctly out of step with American Jewish attitudes.
*Finally, American Jews plan to vote for Barack Obama over Willard “Mitt” Romney by large margins (more than 2:1), with “support for Obama among Jewish voters…nearly identical to levels of support for Obama among Jewish registered voters at a comparable point in the 2008 campaign.” Once again, Eric Can’tor is in the minority of American Jews.
I’m very glad to see that I’m on the same side as strong majorities of my fellow American Jews on values, as well as on issue after issue, while Eric Can’tor is in the minority on those same values and issues. Apparently, Can’tor slept through the same Hebrew School classes where my Jewish friends and I learned about the strong, core Jewish concerns for social justice, economic fairness, working towards repairing the world (“Tikkun Olam”), helping the “least among us” as opposed to favoring the already rich and powerful, respecting the beliefs and human rights of everyone else, etc., etc. Either Can’tor slept through those classes, or maybe he stayed awake but was too stupid to understand what he was being taught? Either way, Can’tor is wildly out of touch with his fellow American Jews, just as he’s wildly out of touch with what’s right for America.