Is Intermarriage a Taboo Topic for Liberal Jews?

Feb. 11 2015

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, speaking at an event sponsored by the South Florida Jewish Federation, addressed the “problem” of intermarriage and assimilation. Her remarks were met with criticism by segments of the Jewish press offended that a prominent Jewish politician objected to intermarriage, and she later retreated from her comments. The episode, writes Jonathan Tobin, is symptomatic of a growing trend within Jewish institutions:

[Conservative and Reform] leaders as well as the heads of major Jewish organizations have decided that it is no longer possible to advocate in-marriage or steps that are aimed at encouraging Jews to marry other Jews. . . .

The reason for this shortsighted decision is obvious. Intermarriage is so prevalent that the intermarried and their loved ones are now so ubiquitous throughout Jewish life that they form a powerful interest group. Since many if not most of them have now come to regard advocacy of endogamy as an insult, it has become next to impossible for communal organizations, especially those umbrella groups like federations that revolve around fundraising, to broach the issue. Instead, they prefer to speak of [intermarriage] as an opportunity rather than a dilemma, a foolish position that ignores the stark statistical evidence . . . that shows the children of intermarriage are far less likely to get a Jewish education or raise a Jewish family than those who marry other Jews.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American Jewry, Assimilation, Intermarriage, Jewish World, Pew Survey

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy