Why Young American Jews Are Choosing The GOP

My late grandfather, a rabbi and Air Force chaplain during the Korean War, was a lifelong Democrat. Throughout his life, the Democratic party was home for most American Jews. He was loyal even when, in recent years, the Democratic party did not seem to be.

For Jewish college students like myself in 2024, the feeling on the ground is different from my grandfather’s generation. When Jewish students are watching rioters chant for the death of Jews and the destruction of Israel, we take comfort knowing that Republican leaders support us. That—like Speaker Johnson did at Columbia on April 24, 2024—they will show moral clarity and call evil by its name.

Social justice is a core Jewish value. The Torah says, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” meaning “Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.” Jews have long been social justice advocates because we know what it means to be persecuted. We have historically gravitated towards Democrats because they were supposed to be the party of social justice. American Jewish spiritual leader Abraham Joshua Heschel marched hand in hand with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. Two Jewish civil rights advocates, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, died fighting for Black equality. But now that the Jews are in our time of need, our historic allies do not march with us. In fact, many support the terrorist organization Hamas and justify wanton violence and barbarity against us.

Jewish students have experienced the difference between states and universities with liberal leadership and those with more conservative leadership. At Columbia in New York and UCLA in California, lawlessness prevailed and virulent antisemitism metastasized. In Texas at the University of Texas at Austin and in Florida at the University of Florida, there was rule of law and both Jewish and non-Jewish students felt safer.

We will never forget the grotesque harassment we have been subjected to this year. We will never forget how most of the Democratic party and other minority groups we advocated for have betrayed us. But we will always remember the Republican leaders who stood with us and showed strength in the face of hatred.

The consensus among my Jewish peers is that the Democrats have pushed us away. Just as my grandfather’s generation was loyal to the Democrats, this generation of American Jews will be proud conservatives.

Young Jews have seen who our real friends are. The Democratic party has only itself to blame for losing my generation’s Jewish vote.

About the Author
Nathan Silverstein is a Polish Jewish American and recent Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Texas at Austin. At the University of Texas, Silverstein majored in Government and was involved in Hillel and pro-Israel advocacy. Silverstein also served as the Founder and President of the Polish Club, where he organized speaking events with three former Presidents of Poland and three US Ambassadors to Poland.
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