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The Takeover

Samuel J. Abrams
Tablet, Aug. 30, 2023

“Today, the preeminence of the Jewish-liberal alliance is threatened not from the right but by the rising power and increasing population of Jewish progressives.”
For the past century, American Jews have consistently leaned to the left of most other Americans. Exceptions, like Orthodox Jews or recent immigrants, are dwarfed in size and influence by the majority of American Jews who identify as liberal and whose politics have shaped both the modern Democratic Party and the national political culture.

Today the preeminence of this Jewish-liberal alliance is threatened not from the right, but by the rising power and increasing population of Jewish progressives. While their numbers are still small relative to the overall community, left-wing progressive Jews are organized, vocal, engaged, and disproportionately influential on the national political scene. These progressive Jews are appreciably less engaged in Jewish life and with historic Jewish institutions than their more moderate liberal and centrist counterparts. Additionally, they lack the traditional pro-Israel sentiments that have been a hallmark of the Jewish American community for decades. As such, this growing bloc of progressive Jews may fundamentally alter the political priorities and preferences of the Jewish community going forward, with radically new views about social justice and Israel and notably anti-institutional and anti-religious inclinations.

The year 2018 may mark the start of a distinctive wave of progressive organizing and popular identification, both in the larger American society and among American Jews. It was 2018 when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib all ran for Congress and formed the progressive political bloc known as “the Squad.” That same year saw the revival of Jewish Currents, a magazine founded in 1946 and which, in its latest progressive incarnation, has sought to both preserve and transcend its origins as an organ of the Communist Party. … [To read the full article, click here

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