Progressives don’t deserve the Jewish vote

February 13, 2024

This article was originally published in the Washington Times on February 13th, 2024, written by Adam Milstein

It is no secret that Jewish Americans have historically skewed left politically. We have long been considered an important voting bloc for Democrats, and our involvement in the Democratic Party dates as far back as the early days of the labor movement.

In recent years, however, radical progressives have begun to take over the Democratic Party. These progressives are proud anti-Zionists who frequently cross the line into antisemitism. Their takeover of the party has unsurprisingly alienated Jewish voters. But this has never been more apparent than in the aftermath of Hamas‘ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

When Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, they set out to kill as many Jews as possible, to exterminate our people, and abolish the Jewish state. It was the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust — this was the goal, and Hamas was clear about that.

The United States has always been an important ally to Israel, so we expected our allies to stand with us. As American Jews, we expected an unequivocal condemnation of these horrific acts of violence from leaders across the political spectrum. But that did not happen. Instead, when pro-Hamas protesters flooded the streets chanting for the destruction of Israel, the progressive left turned a blind eye.

This came as a shock to some because liberal American Jews have long supported progressive causes. From supporting the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ‘60s to fighting for LGBTQ rights to supporting critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in education, liberal American Jews have often been at the front lines of promoting progressive causes. By and large, we have fought for, supported, and voted for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, racial equality, and religious freedom.

As a result, many of us felt blindsided and even betrayed when our political leaders and fellow activists turned their backs on us. Instead of condemning the terrorists who slaughtered, tortured, and kidnapped our people, they called us colonizers. Instead of mourning with us, they callously blamed Israel for the bloodshed.

In the weeks after the Oct. 7 attack, antisemitic incidents reportedly increased by 400% in the United States. This concerning surge in antisemitism has not subsided over the last two months; it has only gotten worse. Progressive leaders and activists not only refuse to speak out against this, but many of them are actively involved.

Unsurprisingly, American universities have become hotbeds of antisemitism. At two universities, pro-Hamas protesters called for “glory to the martyrs.” At the University of California, Berkeley, a professor offered students extra credit to attend a protest hosted by an antisemitic organization. At Harvard, students notoriously wrote a letter blaming Israel for the violence perpetrated by Hamas. And all the while, faculty and university leaders turned a blind eye or worse, encouraged this behavior.

In theory, the CRT and DEI initiatives that many of us supported were supposed to foster inclusive environments that welcome those of all racial and religious backgrounds. These initiatives should encourage a variety of beliefs and diversity of thought. Instead, DEI and CRT have been used by the radical left to create an “us vs. them” mentality and promote victimhood. DEI and CRT adherents welcome minorities, but only “the right kind” of minorities.

What many liberal Jews failed to realize is that we do not fall into that category. From a DEI perspective, Jewish people are not oppressed; they are the oppressors. They are not marginalized or persecuted; they are colonizers. This line of thinking has allowed antisemites to come out of the shadows under the guise of righteousness, and it sets an incredibly dangerous precedent.

Just last week, Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Cori Bush of Missouri voted against a bill to bar all Hamas members and anyone involved in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel from entering the United States. They said the bill was “anti-Arab,” “anti-Palestinian” and “anti-Muslim.” They made no mention of the Jewish people, whom this bill was written to protect.

A November poll found that 70% of American Jews reported feeling less safe since the start of the IsraelHamas war. Yet the progressives in Congress continue to turn their backs on the Jewish people.

American Jews are now refusing to support or donate to academic institutions that refuse to condemn antisemitism. A number of wealthy, high-profile donors have pulled funding from Harvard and other well-known universities. So far, we have seen some results, with a number of failed university presidents stepping down.

But this is just the beginning. We need to continue to fight the DEI programs that allowed antisemitism to take root in the first place, and we need to take the fight to the political arena. As the 2024 elections approach, American Jews will have an opportunity to take progressive politicians to task for their failure to support the Jewish community. No longer can the Democratic Party blindly count on the Jewish vote. The left has taken us for granted for too long. This is the year we say, no more.


Adam Milstein is a business investor and a venture philanthropist. A native of Israel, he served in the Israeli Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War and immigrated to the U.S. in 1981, earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and began a career in commercial real estate. He is a co-founder and board member of the Israeli-American Council and served as its national chairman from 2015 to 2019, as well as the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation.