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Kristol: Democrats, Republicans, and Jews

12:35 PM, Jun 13, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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There's an article in the May/June Boston Review on an interesting study that seems (I wonder why?) to have gotten little attention. Neil Malhotra, of Stanford Business School, and Yotam Margalit, who teaches political science at Columbia, report on a survey of 2,768 American adults in which they "explored people's responses to the economic collapse and tried to determine how anti-Semitic sentiments might relate to the ongoing financial crisis."

They asked, "How much to blame were the Jews for the financial crisis?", with respondents given five categories: a great deal, a lot, a moderate amount, a little, not at all. Among non-Jewish respondents, 24.6 percent of Americans blamed the Jews a moderate amount or more, and 38.4 percent attributed at least a little level of blame to the group. This alarms Malhotra and Margalit. Or perhaps 75 percent of Americans saying a little or no blame (with 60 percent saying no blame at all) isn't really too bad.

But what the Stanford and Columbia academics find "somewhat surprising" is the partisan breakdown among the American public: "Democrats were especially prone to blaming Jews: while 32 percent of Democrats accorded at least moderate blame, only 18.4 percent of Republicans did so (a statistically significant difference)." Why is this surprising? Because of "the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party's electoral coalition."

Or maybe most American Jews foolishly continue to maintain allegiance to a party that includes lots of people who don't like them much (and who certainly don't like Israel much)? And maybe there isn't in fact a higher degree of tolerance (for Jews, at least) among Democrats than Republicans?

In any case, just to restate: In a survey administered by (apparently) liberal academics, looking at attitudes not towards Israel or Likud but towads Jews per se--Democrats are almost twice as likely to be hostile to Jews than Republicans.