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Jews, Abortion, and Wichita’s Wailing Wall

A Jewish-themed anti-abortion monument grows in Kansas

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Over at The National Review, Yuval Levin has a bone to pick with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In a post titled “Abortion as a Jewish Value,” Levin takes aim at her for an answer she gave during an interview with Jewish Life Television:

LEE LAZERSON: Has the president done anything wrong with respect to the Jewish vote?

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. On the contrary, the president has an incredible record of support and advocacy on the issues, domestically, that Jews care about–fighting, for example, to make sure that women have the right to make their own reproductive choices; fighting to pass the Affordable Care Act, to make sure that being a woman is not a pre-existing condition, and that insurance companies can’t drop us or deny us coverage, making sure that we have access to affordable birth control without a deductible or a co-pay, while Mitt Romney and the Republicans fought to take us back to a time when we couldn’t make our own reproductive choices, when you didn’t have access to birth control. And we’re re-fighting the same cultural and social battles with the Republicans because they’re controlled by the extremists in the Tea Party. So President Obama’s earned the support of the Jewish community.

Following the quote, Levin quips:

Politicians used to insult Jewish voters by implying that all they cared about was Israel. Surely this is much worse.

Fortunately (h/t Dan Klein), I had a copy of the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2012 Jewish Values Report handy, which had to say this about Jewish attitudes on abortion:

American Jews are overwhelmingly in favor of abortion in all (49%) or most (44%) cases. There is little denominational or demographic variation on this level of overall support.

That’s 93%, folks. The report goes to explain that while opinions are more varied by political affiliation among Jews, over 75% of Jewish Republicans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. From the data, it seems that Wasserman Schultz isn’t saying anything that isn’t reflective of the vast majority of Jewish opinion. In fact, it seems that access to abortion is the issue upon which the most Jews agree.

Now if Levin really wants to fret about the politicization of abortion and Judaism, I’m inviting him to fly to Wichita, Kansas. Just mere miles from the spot where Dr. George Tiller was shot in 1993 as well as the church where he was assassinated during Sunday morning services in 2009, evangelical pastors are building a full-sized exact replica of the Western Wall as part of The International Pro-Life Memorial and National Life Center.

The activists view the Western Wall as the embodiment of remembering Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. Now they want the wall, which they refer to by another of its names – the Wailing Wall, to memorialize the death of some 60 million fetuses killed by abortion.

Pundits used to insult Jewish readers by implying that all they cared about was Israel. Surely this is much worse.

Replica of Western Wall Planned in Kansas [The Forward]

Abortion as a Jewish value
[National Review]
Western Wall replica to be part of anti-abortion center [JTA]
Jewish Values in 2012 (PDF) [PRRI]

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I agree with the intent of the pro-life activitists but not with the use of a replica of the Western Wall adorned with crucifixes. Pastors Rob Rotola of the Word of Life Church and Mark Holick of the Spirit One Christian Ministry are trying to have a bet each way.
They must know that the First and Second Temples stood many centuries before
the appearance of their “saviour”. They are trying to appropriate a Jewish symbol for their own ends.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

to clarify you left a word out of your quote from the report on Jewish values that is very important.
“American Jews are overwhelmingly in favor of LEGAL abortion in all (49%) or most (44%) cases. There is little denominational or demographic variation on this level of overall support.”

No one is in favor of abortion. The word LEGAL is very important. The NARAL website states:
“We believe that women should have option to choose abortion. Today they can, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. But even though access to abortion is legal, our right to it is far from safe. Anti-choice groups attack our right to choose at every opportunity.” It is a women’s choice that I believe the statistics about American Jews support.

PhillipNagle says:

Jews are like most Americans and don’t consider abortion a major issue. Most Jews are outraged at the state of the economy and the mess Obama has made of it. There are certain professions where Jews are heavily engaged (public school teachers and bureaucrats, trial lawyers, government bureaucrats, et al) where they vote Democrat in their own interest rather than in the interest of the country. Israel tends to be a secondary consideration, as up until Obama, there was bipartisan support for Israel.

    And you get your data about the interests of Jews and those “special interests” from where? Did you create this in your own mind, out of whole cloth or is simply and assumption that you have made?

      PhillipNagle says:

      Probably from the same place Debbie Wasserman Schultz gets her data on why Jews should support Obama. Of course in my own synogogue talking to those who are school teachers and their wild and often ranting defense of the failing public school system I can’t imagine them doing anything that might harm their inflated and undeserved paychecks,

gemel says:

For Orthodox Jews and anyone else who follows Halacha, abortion is forbidden
except in the case where it is a matter of saving the life of the mother. This is of course separate from the legality issues.

    Umish Katani says:

    Orthodoxy is not the end all of all opinions, Put 10 rabbis on a stage ask a question and you get 10 different answers. The rabbis do not speak for 90% of American Jewery, and for sure do not represent my political views. Halachachaly speaking, stay out of politics and other peoples lives.

Umish Katani says:

Debbie Wasserman Schu;tz is a good democratic lap dog, politically astute and PC for her handlers. She will say or do anything to promote the Democratic party, right or wrong. I was at the GLBT day parade this year in florida and she spoke on the podium telling the clueless crowd how much her boss has done for these people and how he supports gay marriage etc. He only came out with this because Biden forced his hand. Look, bottom line the democrates will say anything to win, but then again so will the republikkkans. Both sides lie, cheat and look for loop holes to advance their causes regardless of the overall consequences. The economic rewards for the victor is too great. THe Kotel is just another one of the PC issues used to rally the troops but Wasserman, a “Jewish shiksa”, is the last person to use as a source of statistics and information. Bottom line Jews as a cultural group may support 100% access to abortion if needed, but i dont think any person in their right mind supports abortion as birth control and as a procedure of first note. Abortion is an extreme act not a casual procedure like brushing your teeth. However you view the fetus, this procedure is a private, matter and up to the women and her health care professionals, not up to the dictates of extreme christian groups with a monocratic mindset. No offense, Chistians were never good for the Jews, and now they usurp their symbols to promote a cause which is not an issue in the jewish world.

    Natan79 says:

    shut up rosh katan

      Umish Katani says:

      I just love it how people who do not agree with your opinion or stance take to name calling to justify their inability to be civil and have a discourse to discuss the issues. Once again Natan79, der chuchem has taken to use my nom de plum in vain and assume it is hebrew…( just for you, im ratziti lichtov b’ivrit, ani yechol aval lo manyen oti la’asot et zeh po) As far a small headed… well given his response, we are not dealing with an educated individual but the type that would support Debbie Wasserman and her leftist propaganda unquestionably and without reserve…. Instead of disputing the facts I presented, mr natan 79 needs blowhard…. I stand by my remarks that wasserman is a lapdog and a good one for the democrats, ok she is no shickza but a nafka for the dems, that the democrats are no better as a political group for americans than the republikkkans, but better yet both parties are out of touch with Americans and are dangerous. Dems are so far to the left as the Republikkkans are to the right. There is no center…. Debbie spewed BS in fort lauderdale July 4 and if you think she was fooling anyone… well it seems you were fooled into believing her rhetoric. Obama is a weak president, more worried about his image than accomplishments… More in the line of a Jimmy Carter without the help of Billy. As far as the other issues I raised.. Please let me know which one bothers you, the rights of women, the attitude to the evangelical goyim, birth control, brushing your teeth! Mr Natan79, when you have something constructive to spew forth, please elucidate it in a coherent manner so English speaking people can understand your lack of logic.

TheHolyBeggar says:

The word “favor” is a token used in political discourse, a style of communication that has now appropriated that of sports reporting. What grabbed me is the picture of one white robed pope, with two black suited “rabbis” (probably) and two black robed (with red and white (?) yarmulked priests (archbishops?) behind them. Note the body language of the middle pair as compared to those of the others. Says to me that Jews are limber, able to move in any which way but also perhaps the energy is scattered, whereas the others are limited in a fixed way, awaiting a great hand from the sky to move them as if they were chess pieces.

As fro the “memorial” project, it’s not likely to move forward as the minister is busy passing out bibles on the property of their local islamic center and getting arrested. What is more troubling is what’s going on in Washington D.C. Please do not forget to vote in 2012 and urge everyone you know not to be lethargic. These are really distractions from the reality that vigilance is critical.

marjorie ingall says:

Bravo, Adam.


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Jews, Abortion, and Wichita’s Wailing Wall

A Jewish-themed anti-abortion monument grows in Kansas

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