I was a guest on a Dallas radio call-in program several years ago. One caller told me that after having given the matter considerable thought, he finally understood why most Jews were Democrats. “You vote for the Democrats,” he declared, “to show the rest of us that you’re not as smart as we think you are.”

I should have been offended. But as he spoke, I was reminded of a not dissimilar observation set in a different time and place: when the late Hannah Arendt, the noted Jewish political theorist, wrote in the early 20th century that the Jews of Europe, in particular German Jews, were politically naive and confused, desperately clinging to the Staatspartei, even as political circumstances deteriorated and their partisan “loyalty at any price” became irrelevant at best, dangerous at worst.

Most American Jews today are liberal Democrats clinging to a partisan affiliation dating back to the 1930s New Deal and a political perspective whose roots can be traced to the mid-19th century when “liberalism” promised social emancipation and political freedom.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, when Jews’ most dangerous enemies were concentrated on the political right, it was reasonable and prudent for Jews to seek allies on the left. What once was prudent, however, may have become a matter of “loyalty at any price,” preventing Jews from properly assessing current political realities and, perhaps, discovering that the old political paradigm they’ve internalized is no longer helpful.

Most U.S. Jews tend to view the world through liberal Democratic lenses, a type of eyewear that allows them to see enemies only on the right and friends only on the left.

Even the most partisan Democrats in the Jewish community must have noticed by now that nearly all of the voices raised in defense of Hamas and against Israel in the wake of Hamas’s savage murder of 1,200 Israelis in October emanated from the left, often from within the Democratic Party.

The attacks are not just from Hamas apologists and fellow travelers in the congressional “squad.” Ten of the 11 senators who signed a Bernie Sanders-sponsored resolution in January questioning Israel’s human rights record in the Hamas-initiated war were Democrats.

This new anti-Zionism no longer even pretends to distinguish itself from antisemitism. In polite American society, vehement criticism of Israel is often little more than a veiled form of antisemitism.

Hamas’s charter, which seems to call for the destruction of all Jews, not just Zionists, offers some intellectual clarity on this point.

Jewish Democrats need to stop pretending that Hamas and its ilk don’t mean what they say. And the self-proclaimed Jewish anti-Zionists represented by groups like “Jewish Voice for Peace” and “If not Now”—which hold noisy demonstrations supporting Hamas and demanding that Israel end its “apartheid system” and “genocide” in Gaza—might profit from reading and thinking about what their “friends” actually have to say about them. It even might be relevant to recall that the Soviet butcher, Joseph Stalin, used to call his foreign supporters “useful idiots,” and sometimes had them liquidated when they were no longer useful.

Membership in the Democratic coalition has, until now, allowed Jews to exercise considerable political influence in America. For many Jews, Democratic Party membership is almost a religious affiliation—and Jews are notoriously averse to conversion.

I recently attended religious services at a large Washington congregation where the rabbi said with a condescending tone that he knew a few of his congregants supported the Republicans. He urged members of the congregation to be tolerant and to try to understand why some Jews might stray into the GOP camp. His comments were met with smiles and nods.

Three-quarters of a century ago, during the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt (no friend of Jewry) gave America’s Jews what seemed like a political home. Most are reluctant to leave. Perhaps the growth of antisemitism on the left and within the Democratic Party will cause them to think deeply about the costs of loyalty at any price.