Las Vegas Jews Caught in Adelson's Shadow [View all]
By Josh Nathan-Kazis
Published November 01, 2012, issue of November 09, 2012.
In Sheldon Adelson’s hometown, Jews are angry about the presidential election.
That contrasts with Jews in the swing states of Florida and Ohio, who will vote despairingly in this year’s race. In Las Vegas, they’ll storm the polls. Audiences at community-sponsored political events here boo heartily. Partisan wars split synagogue listservs. Political lawn signs disappear in Jewish neighborhoods.
Some of the passion here is over the economy. But in the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country, the Jewish conversation is focused strikingly on Israel.
At the local Jewish Community Center one morning, a current events discussion group spent an hour talking politics and bruising each other’s feelings. One 78-year-old said that President Obama “has disdain for Israel.” A 70-year-old accused Obama’s Jewish critics of racism and later stormed out in a huff.