The reason American Jews are liberal is because they tend to sympathize with the less fortunate and with minorities: 54% of Jews believe government should be bigger, with more services, compared to just 40% of the public at large who believe the same. And 82% of Jews think that homosexuality should be accepted by society, while just 57% of the general public believes so.

Tellingly, Jews sound a lot more like a minority when it comes to discrimination than one might expect from a group of people who are mostly white. Despite problems between Israel and its Arab (and Persian) neighbors, 72% of Jews say Muslims in America are discriminated against, versus just 47% of the public at large who say that. While 64% of Jews say there is discrimination against African Americans, only 47% of all Americans do. This gap extends to attitudes towards Latino Americans, as well.

The roots of these liberal values probably lie in Jews’ own understanding of what they went through in their history, with 73% of Jews holding the belieef that remembering the Holocaust is an essential part of being Jewish. Indeed, Jews say it is the most essential part of what it means to be Jewish. Third on the list, though, at 56%, is working for justice and equality.

It’s unlikely that outreach by religious Christians, who tend to be very conservative, on the issue of Israel is going to break this pattern.