My mother, in true Sabra style, underwent a complete overhaul of the Shabbat dinner at our house a few months ago. It’s sasbich all the way, baby: hard boiled eggs, roasted eggplant, potatoes, spicy cilantro, purple cabbage, minced red onion, and amba, a spicy, pickled mango spread that makes up a percentage of any Iraqi’s bloodstream. The food has gotten lighter, but the conversation has not.

I’ve lived on farms and kibbutzim, built mudhouses in the Arava desert, and thought more than once about getting the prestigious club card. My brothers? One lived in Peru and wiped the asses of impoverished Peruvian babies; the older one is a lawyer – okay, not so hippie but he has aspirations of becoming a Zen master, by not trying to become one. Our liberal attitude never clashed with our parents’ conservative one. I think they believe it’s just a phase. But as political talk glides its way onto our table nearly every week, beliefs become more distinguished. See, my parents are great people. They’re also conservative neo-hawks who will vote for anyone as long as they support Israel and won’t hesitate to drop nukes in case shit goes deadly, think Democrats are lying, sleazy scumbags, and that Obama is a Muslim fanatic who no matter what he says, will side against the Jews. Yes, that’s our world.

“His middle name is Hussein,” they say. “He is in love with Louis Farrakhan.” And McCain? “McCain will protect Israel.” That’s cause he’s old and crazy. “Yes, yes he is. Old and crazy.”

I have been told that you have no heart if you’re young and a Democrat, but financially retarded if you’re old and still Democrat. But what gives? Do some Jews get bitten by the money mozzie at age 40 and start voting Red no matter what? I’m trying to make sense of this dynamic: are your parents like this? I can’t be the only one swimming through this rift. How do I get them to see the other side of the political story?

Either way. I’m canceling out my dad’s vote. Like a real son of a bitch.

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  • Both the very young and very old tend to be liberal. People tend to be conservative during there middle years when they are working and supporting a family and watching the government take their money and waste it on a stupid war or a bridge for 50 people. As soon as these people retire and start getting handouts(social security, medicare) they suddenly become very liberal and vote for democrats. IN GENERAL!

  • What you describe is very much like my parents and my experience. I used to think almost exactly like you do about them back when I was in college and for a little while after. I moved away to Cali after school and while away from my family and allowing my free loader hippie friends to live on my couch, I experienced both having to make my own living and form my own beliefs away from the PC and anti-American garbage I learned at school. I also experienced 911 and realized that there is such pure evil in the world that no amount of love and understanding I show towards those people, they want me dead just the same, and not because of what I believe, but because of what was born and where I live.

    Since that day, I veered far more to the right of even my parents, and then came back towards the center again. Money never had anything to do with it. Studying history, learning personal responsibility and developing pride in my people and my nation had much more influence on my politics than money. I don’t vote Red because I support them, I vote (mostly and really only at the presidential level) Red because I am terrified of the Blues taking us back to the type of country we escaped from. I vote Red, because I see that many of our enemies vote or endorse Blues. I vote Red, because the Reds have purge most of the racists and anti-Semites from their party much more than the Blues, and I vote Red because now that I do have my own money, I don’t want to give it back to the free loaders who stayed on my couch.

  • I always thought the saying went, “If you’re a Republican you have no heart, if you’re a Democrat you have no brain.” Or something like that.
    On another note, Aaron, could you please further elaborate on your Mom’s “amba” recipe? It sounds delicious!
    (^I guess that last just confirms that @ the end of the day, most of us vote not with our heads or our hearts, but with our stomachs.)

  • “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”
    – Winston Churchill during WWII

    I’m happy to have both a heart and a brain. It’s really easier than that. Many liberals are mostly driven by pessimism, idealism, collectivism, emotion, political correctness, moral relativism, etc. while many conservatives (and I’m not talking about Bible Thumpers or John Birchers) are driven by optimism, pragmatism and realism, rational, absolutism, and most important, individualism. The person over the people and over the state. I’d say, in liberalism, you are at the bottom on the totem pole.

  • I had a similar transformation like Alex. I’m still young but consider myself a moderate conservative.
    BTW, although the quote is correct (and has a lot of merir)it is incorrectly ascribed to Winston Churchill.

  • Oh? Who did pen that quote? I’m interested. I’m only 32, I feel old, but that pisses off everyone older than me. 🙂 I went through my transformation in my mid to late 20s though. And I ain’t ever going back… It does make it easier for me to see both points of view and I think that empowers me in debate. I rarely meet people who’ve moved in the other direction though although I’m sure there are a few non-idiotarians in that boat.

  • I too have moved more right. I’m a lib on environmental issues, privacy, and way of life. But fiscally getting more and more conservative. I am voting democrat though. Obama is just that sexy.

    Amba – Go to a persian or middle eastern market, and you’ll find it!

  • that’s where my family is from! We are ramat ganim. It’s where we learned to spit garanim. You know those Iraqis…

  • I believe the quote is to the affect of :

    “if you are not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 40, you have no brain.”

    I think this very aptly describes the tendency of the young and inexperienced to make decisions based on emotion, while those who have had more life experience tend to base decisions on reasoning and logic. I’m glad that both viewpoints are there, they help to balance each other. As a conservative, I value the opinions of those that work, support families, and achieve individually in our society over those who accept handouts or those who are still in school and have not yet had to earn a wage.

    The overwhelming majority of those who achieve in this country are conservatives. Reward those who achieve, rather than punish them.

  • Bravo. My friend has been working in this country for 5 years but is a Swedish citizen. He has produced and created far more than most of our liberal friends combined. He will also pay more in taxes than many of our friends earned in a year. So our votes will affect his life in respect to taxes and economy more than those same friends will feel it. His taxes will assist them in some way, yet they’re “contribution” to society is virtually non-existent. However, they will get to vote a socialist into power and my friend will take the hit. He can’t vote. I think we need to reassess the terminology “for the people”. Which people? This case is similar to the people who claim we should all be involved with the decisions of our government including whether or not we go to war. I am of the belief that the vast majority of Americans don’t have the knowledge, experience, nor intellect necessary to make educated decisions like that. I feel this extends into voting in general.

  • Thanks baba…You da

    I used to blog at

    It’s full of rants and raves.

    When I moved to Israel I started a new blog at

    Here’s a satire piece I wrote that you will enjoy:

    Any for you, I’ll write more food stuff. You got it holy baba!

  • Many Jews adopted socialism/liberalism as a substitute for Judaism – the old “Judaism is just about social justice” dodge.

    More and more of these people’s children/grandchildren are realizing that the left/liberal camp has drifted very far from the ideals of individual worth, liberty, and opportunity that were part of the classical “liberal” position – and are instead imposing hard-left distinctions between people, setting up PC schemes in which some groups of people are more equal than others.

  • I came to be conservative when I was 20 and tired of the same crap all my professors were spouting…also the whole anti-Semitism on campus by the lefty crazies made re-think my liberal ideals. I think of myself as a classic liberal aka, now days that’s a conservative. I’m now 24 going on 25 and still changing and learning a lot.

    I know it’s attributed wrong but who originally said it I’m not sure, but wiki attributes it to mid-nineteenth century historian and statesman François Guizot.

    BTW are you of Russian decent?

  • Half Hungarian, Half Israeli/Iraqi. Culture is fun. Both my parents were born in refugee camps!

    I was born at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.

    So classic liberal = conservative? Can you explain that transition?

  • So, how many Palestinians have you happy izzies murdered lately? Ever think about whose land you occupy? Ever think that you are no different than the nazis who occupied France?
    Ever think about the squats on Palestinian land your parents donations to the unnamed entity have supported?

  • Question 1: none.
    Question 2: no and false question.
    Question 3: never think about it, false question.
    Question 4: another false question.

    Kass, did anybody tell you you’re full of shit? Did it occur to you that you defend people who target civilians? Do you realize that three times in the past century the Arabs had a chance to compromise with the Jewish community and build their own state, only to reject this option every time? Do you recognize that Israel and its leadership has never used the language of genocide while the Palestinians use it all the time? Do you realize that your country’s contributions to the EU and the UN often end up as weapons in Palestinian hands that are used to attack civilians?

    If only the Arabs didn’t attack in 1948…

  • All I can think of is that in fifty years from now, the Netherlands will be completely flooded – and I’ll have a house with seaview. 🙂

  • Oh, and the father of one of my student’s is currently visiting family in Ashkelon – eleven rocket hits in their neighbourhood alone in the past few days that haven’t received any news coverage over here yet.

  • Maybe you should look into a seaside house in Colombia, which Hugo Chavez called today the Israel of South America.

  • TM: They do have a kosher cafeteria at Columbia U. I’m sure they sell felafel…

  • Aaron- sorry I wasn’t clear, I meant to write I think as a subscriber of classical liberalism. Although in high school and at the start of college I was as left as you can be, except on the issue of Israel. There’s this great line by Milton Friedman that goes something along the lines that conservatives shouldn’t be called “conservative” because it’s actually reacting to Liberal policies like the New Deal which has become the conservative doctrine in America.

    Basically I believe in limited government, I believe the smaller the government is the better it is for people, to put simply government is teh suck.

  • You got it wrong. The saying goes that, if you’re not a socialist (or liberal) when you’re 20, then you have no heart, but if you’re not a conservative when you’re 40, you have no brain.

  • Aaron, your parents rock! Twenty years ago, I too was a left liberal pinko communist. Since then I got a job, got married and am raising children. Like an ex-smoker who has quit a bad habit, I have seen the error of my ways. Something to do with Oslo, 9/11 and unremitting terrorism.

    But don’t worry, it’s just a phase you’re going through….