I was horrified by reports that the powerful congressman, Henry Waxman, had said that Jews in the ninth New York district voted against President Barack Obama “to protect their wealth.” Could the obsession with backing Obama have led a leading Jewish politician to make such a stereotypical antisemitic remark?
In fact, Waxman’s statement was taken out of context. A usually happens, however, a proper understanding of what someone is saying teaches far more than stereotyping their argument.
Let’s examine Waxman’s statement as quoted in The Hill newspaper:
“I think Jewish voters will be Democratic and be for Obama in 2012, especially if you get a Republican candidate like [Texas] Gov. [Rick] Perry. But there’s no question the Jewish community is much more bipartisan than it has been in previous years. There are Jews who are trending toward the Republican Party, some of it because of their misunderstanding of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, and some of it, quite frankly, for economic reasons. They feel they want to protect their wealth, which is why a lot of well-off voters vote for Republicans.”
Let’s consider this statement. The first part is correct: More Jews are voting against Democrats and will vote against Obama, but the majority will continue to support them. The problem comes in the second part and an accurate reading teaches us several things.