Jews in United States of America constitute a paltry two percent of the population. However, they have managed to succeed and become an influential minority. In fact, it is the rock-solid support of USA that has kept the state of Israel strong despite the massive challenges it faced and continues to face.
The importance of Jews in American society has been amply demonstrated in the politics of the country. As of last year, six percent of the members in the US House of Representatives belonged to this community and eight percent of those in the Senate. Way back in 1993, as many as 10 per cent of the US Congress, amounting to 51 members, came from this religious minority.
But now, there is a danger that, following the next set of elections to the Congress, which will take place alongside the Presidential elections, the number of lawmakers from this religious denomination may decrease substantially.
Currently, there are 27 Jewish members in the House of Representatives. Two of those, both women and belonging to the Democratic Party, Nita Lowey and Susan Davis, are retiring after their term expires. Three other members of the House belonging to the Jewish community are up against a tough challenge in the upcoming elections.
New York's Eliot Engel is in serious danger of losing at the primary stage of the election. Same is possible for Staten Island's representative Max Rose. Another person facing tough odds in the primary round is Jerrold Nadler from Manhattan but his chances look far better of coming through.
Implications for policy towards Israel
So, what does all of this mean for the larger American foreign policy towards Israel? Well, the strong relations between the two countries are far too deep to be completely put off track by a decrease in the number of Jewish members of Congress. However, subtle changes may well be occasioned.
If Engel loses his election, he would no longer be able to head the House Foreign Affairs Committee. That may be a concern for supporters of Israel as the Congressman is one of them. In recent times, the Democratic Party has seen the arrival, in their Congressional camp, of politicians with a very negative view of Israel.
However, the American public, at large, is still sympathetic to the Jewish state. There is no great support to the calls for boycott of Israeli products such as is being witnessed in several European countries including the United Kingdom. The support of President Trump for the country has been steadfast.
But if the Democrats continue to be dominated more by people who are farther to the left in their foreign policy views, the bipartisan support enjoyed by the Jewish state in the Congress may well develop some cracks.