The closely watched Alabama Senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones “will rival the Alabama-Auburn game, in terms of TV viewership,” Larry Brook told us over the phone Tuesday night from Birmingham. Brook, editor of Southern Jewish Life, predicted that if Moore “winds up with even 3 to 5 percent of the Jewish vote, that’ll be a big surprise.”
“One of our attorneys is a Jew,” said Kayla Moore, the candidate’s wife, and some of the Moore’s friends are Jewish, too, she said, but Brook doubted that would help him. “Of course,” Brook explained, “in Alabama we’re not New York so there are a lot of Jewish Republicans here. But even so, Judge Moore, for the last 22 years, basically, has been a very polarizing figure. There are a lot of staunch Republican [Jews] who say they’re not voting for him.”
Their main objection? “There’s a whole laundry list,” said Brook. “From being kicked out of office as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court; disobeying rulings of higher courts about his Ten Commandments monument and same-sex marriage; his grandstanding for his views on Christianity; his willingness to disregard the law of the land if it conflicts with his Christian ideals … a lot of people simply cannot stomach the idea of voting for Moore, and that’s before we even get to the sexual allegations.”
Some Jews “looking at it from the national perspective, want to keep a Republican majority in the Senate,” but they’re “voting for Moore in the hopes that he will get kicked out” of the Senate, “and the governor will then appoint another Republican to his seat, rather than having Jones, his [Democratic] opponent win it.”
There are four Orthodox communities in Alabama, three are Chabad and one is Modern Orthodox, but though the national Orthodox vote has increasingly gone Republican, in Alabama, observed Brook, “Moore is not getting Orthodox support from the local community, no.”
Israel is an issue favoring Republicans, and therefore Moore. “In the last year,” said Brook, “he has done a position paper that is strongly pro-Israel. A few weeks ago, he urged Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem. And I actually saw him at the Alabama-Israel Task Force Gala near Decatur. I’ve been covering Christian-Zionist events in the state for years, and this is the first time I’ve seen him at one of those,” he said, though Brook acknowledged that his magazine covers the Florida panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, so Brook may have missed Moore at one of the Christian-Zionist galas along the way.