Europe’s Custodial Jewish Vote

Yesterday in London, more Jews than ever voted not only as Londoners, but as concerned Jews as well. On Sunday, throughout France, the same pattern will be repeated. That is, if the media hype is to be believed, and I think in this case it is.

Statistics on Jewish voting trends in Britain and France are hard to come by. The communities in both countries seem to have drifted rightward over the last few decades. In Britain, the shift in the Jewish vote has been less pronounced, with many Jews still voting Labour, particularly during the Tony Blair years, and the changes due less to communal concerns or the parties’ Middle-East policy than to increased affluence and a growing distance from working-class roots.

Margaret Thatcher was considered a Judeophile not because of particular support for Israel, but the affinity between her Methodist values and the Jewish ideals of self-reliance and hard work, which was reflected in the large number of Jewish members in her cabinet. But even under Thatcher, many constituencies with large Jewish communities remained under Labour control. It is even harder to discern a clear trend in the London mayoral elections, as these have only taken place three times in the past.


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