House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, asked in a nationally televised interview why most Jews are Democrats, invoked the idea of tikkun olam , the Jewish mandate to repair the world, which the Virginia Republican called “a very charitable concept.”
“There is the ability to characterize all the social programs that exist at the federal level as reflecting that need to repair the world, and to help those who can’t help themselves,” he told Lesley Stahl of CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”
Cantor, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, also said that his party, historically, “wasn’t really good at welcoming immigrants, wasn’t really good at saying, ‘Hey, we want to give you a helping hand,’” and that led many Jews to vote Democratic.
Stahl, in the interview broadcast Monday, asked what he thought of those who say that his policies conflict with Jewish ideals, such as helping those in need. “I care about the poor. I care about helping people who need the help,” Cantor said. ” As far as taxing the rich, I think we should make sure that everybody, middle class and the rest, hardworking taxpayers in this country, are able to keep as much of what they earn as they can because they, too, can help the poor” through charity.
In the last presidential election, 78% of the Jewish vote went to Democrat Barack Obama.