Steve King wonders how American Jews can be Democrats

GOP congressman Christsplains American politics to Jewish voters

Published March 20, 2015 7:57PM (EDT)

Steve King                          (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Steve King (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Ultraconservative Iowa congressman Steve King slammed Jewish Democrats on Friday, charging that they were "Democrats first and Jewish second."

King embarked on his tangent against left-leaning Jews when asked during an interview on Boston Herald radio about members of Congress who boycotted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inflammatory address before Congress earlier this month.

“Well, there were some 50 or so Democrats that decided they would boycott the president’s speech. One thing that’s happened is — just look at the polling, that means — here is what thing that I don’t understand, I don’t understand how Jews in America can be Democrats first and Jewish second and support Israel along the line of just following their president,” King said.

Perhaps the rural Iowan simply doesn't come into regular contact with many Jews, but he may be surprised to learn social justice is a vital component of the faith, particularly for Reform Judaism, the predominant branch in America. It's hardly shocking, then, that Jewish voters don't look kindly on a party that countenances xenophobic extremists like King.

On issues from abortion rights to the social safety net, King's party is out of step with the vast majority of American Jews -- and adopting a hard line on Israel won't help. A 2012 poll found that 82 percent of American Jews supported a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and 76 percent wanted the U.S. administration to put forward a peace proposal; this is hardly a demographic that will be impressed by a party that casts its lot with Netanyahu.

Listen to King's Christsplaining below, via BuzzFeed:

By Luke Brinker

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