The Jewish Year Gone By and One To Come

As 2013 Looms, What We Can Learn from '12?

Mainstreaming: In 2012, Jon Stewart played a role in popularizing Jewish identity.
Getty Images
Mainstreaming: In 2012, Jon Stewart played a role in popularizing Jewish identity.

By J.J. Goldberg

Published December 31, 2012, issue of January 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

To understand where you’re headed, it’s said, first understand where you’ve been. With that in mind, what can 2012 teach us about 2013?

Presidential campaign 2012. Both parties spent prodigiously wooing swing-state Jewish voters, while pundits insisted Jewish votes are insignificant. Consider: Florida’s Jews voted 66% for Obama despite intense GOP efforts (led by Sheldon Adelson, now the single largest political donor in U.S. history). Overall, white Floridians voted 37% Obama. He won the state by 74,000 votes. If Jews had heeded Republicans and voted like other whites, Obama would have gotten 148,000 fewer votes and lost Florida.

In other GOP Jewish failures, Jewish Republicans ran hard for the Senate (Josh Mandel, Ohio; Linda Lingle, Hawaii) and House (Randy Altschuler, New York; Shmuley Boteach, New Jersey; Adam Hasner, Florida). They all lost. The rising Christian passion of Republican base voters is making it hard for GOP Jews to win their votes.

Jewish Democrats were stung at their party’s convention when the platform was criticized (by right-wing bloggers) for ignoring Jerusalem. The leadership hastily brought an amendment for voice vote and ruled that it passed, though it obviously hadn’t. Liberals and Israel aren’t getting along these days.

In 2013, look for continued sniping at Democrats over Israel by Jewish Republicans, who sadly don’t have much else to do.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Gaza. Rocket attacks, after dwindling in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead, spiked in 2012 as Egypt’s revolution emboldened Gaza Islamists. Israel assassinated a Hamas military leader November 14, sparking a week-long exchange of heavy fire. Unlike 2009, Israel avoided a ground invasion. Gaza deaths were around 160, a fraction of the 1,400 killed in Cast Lead, sparing Israel another worldwide roasting. Israel lost just six people, thanks to the new Iron Dome anti-missile system. Following an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire November 21, Hamas claimed military victory.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict: West Bank. Israel and the Palestinian Authority marked a fourth year without negotiations. Israel said the P.A. refused to engage, though Israel’s own generals grumbled that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the stumbling block. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, humiliated by Hamas’s repeatedly challenging Israel, upped his game by winning U.N. recognition as a non-member state pledged to peace with Israel. Israel, after promising Washington not to retaliate, announced new settlement construction in the sensitive E-1 zone near Jerusalem.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.