It's no secret that Americans Jews, as reflected in poll numbers, are wavering in their support for Israel's
policies. Last week, the New York Times' Paul Vitello described "The
struggle to define the middle ground" in "the relationship between
Israel — a state whose government is now dominated by nationalist and
ultrareligious politicians — and the predominantly liberal-leaning and
secular base of Jewish support in the United States."
There are many likely explanations for the trend, including shifting Israeli policy and an American Jewish community that, with time, is growing more distant from its old-world roots. But Media Matters' M.J. Rosenberg has another theory. He makes his case in a lengthy column titled, "The Answer Is Jon Stewart," which explores the demographics of the generation of American Jews born between 1946 and 1964.
They are the "Jon Stewart" generation. Whether they watch Stewart's "Daily Show" when it's broadcast or just on YouTube, he typifies their world view. Not surprisingly, he is a late Baby Boomer, about the age of the parents of the youngest of the Millenials.
And what is the worldview Stewart conveys? It is skepticism about any and all ideology, a belief that racial and ethnic boundaries between people are just plain dumb, and, above all, that true believers in anything are downright funny.
Not surprisingly, Jon Stewart is Jewish and assertively so. Being a Jew is part of his shtick. But he's clearly neither religious nor an ethnic chauvinist. As for his politics on Israel, I'd classify him as J Street. And that makes him typical of both the late boomers and their kids.