Jewish Democrats have long taken pride in the high number of American Jews serving as Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Given that the Jewish community in the United States constitutes less than two percent of the general population, the fact that nearly two dozen American Jews serve in the House and Senate is a legitimate source of pride, regardless of party.
For the past fifity years, Democratic Jewish lawmakers like Representatives Tom Lantos, Howard Berman, Steven Solarz, Shelley Berkley, Jane Harman, Nita Lowy and Elliot Engel; and Senators like Joe Lieberman and Frank Lautenberg; played key roles in forging and maintaining their party’s strong support for Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance.
In recent years, however, things have changed. As Democratic voters and leaders have become more hostile to Israel, and as Republican voters and leaders have become more supportive of Israel, Jewish Democratic lawmakers have increasingly adopted policies and accepted support from organizations that are harmful to Israel’s national security.
The current election cycle makes this point very clearly. As JTA reported this week, there are 36 Jewish candidates running as Democrats in House races. Half are incumbents, and half are challengers.