American Jews in political life viewed by a Washington Post writer with a blend of pop sociology, extracts from ""hundreds"" of interviews, and genial opinionatedness. Jewish scribes, ""court Jews"" and merchandizers have modern counterparts -- the entrepreneurial avoidance of bureaucracies and the anxiety of running for public office; the conservatism of pre-1848 European Jews fearful of the masses and the equating of ""Jewish liberalism"" to an American survival impulse -- these are interspersed with quotations from all sorts of participants and observers. Again, not ""liberalism"" but apprehension toward the right wing and a trade-off between nouveaux riches and party-funding needs is cited to explain Jewish support for the Democratic Party. After playing around with the question of whether ""Jewish money"" or ""Jewish influence"" exist, Isaac winds up with a brief on behalf of the ""new activism"" -- direct public pressure for narrowly Jewish interests, rather than traditional indirect intercession and identification with humanitarian causes. There are many readers who love to discuss and debate anything having to do with ethnicity -- and much of this is extremely debatable.