Academic Rubbish about Jewish-Asian Marriage

In their recent book JewAsian, Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt (themselves a married couple) explore marriages between Jews and Asian-Americans, unions that, statistics suggest, seem to be disproportionately common. The vast majority of the couples they interview stressed that shared “cultural values”—which they often described as being particularly Jewish, Chinese, or Asian—brought them together. Kim and Leavitt also found that a majority of these couples have chosen to raise their children as Jews. In her review, Naomi Schaefer Riley skewers some of the conclusions they draw from their data:

Kim and Leavitt are concerned by the fact that these families seem to be doing less to emphasize Asian values. So they speculate: “Jewish American and Asian American couples may choose to instill Judaism in their children as a way of trading their minority racial status as Asian or racially ambiguous for a religious identity that is closely associated with whiteness in the United States.” This, of course, is complete academic rubbish. The most likely explanation is that it’s more difficult to pass down culture from one generation to another than to pass down religion. You can try to teach children to appreciate language or food or history. But it is religion that tends to last because it involves holy rituals that can be practiced regularly and together.

Kim and Leavitt, however, have a specific agenda. They are worried that the notion of a “model minority” is an invidious stereotype. “This narrative,” they write, “continues to support the ‘bootstraps’ model of advancement while also silencing not only Asian Americans who may not fit this model of advancement but also other racial and ethnic groups who may also hold the same values but may not be able to succeed because of institutional and racial [discrimination].”

[Other studies have] torn that fear to shreds by showing that Nigerians have much better outcomes in America than American-born blacks even though they would presumably suffer the same kinds of institutional discrimination—because of the values with which they are raised.

The aim of Kim and Leavitt in studying these marriages is not to figure out why they occur and why they seem to exhibit less tension than other intermarriages with regard to child-rearing. Instead, they wonder whether “both groups might eventually be permitted to see themselves differently, freed from the constraints of the model-minority narratives that bind . . . them.” For the sake of their children and the future of America, let’s hope not.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Commentary

More about: American Jewry, Intermarriage, Religion & Holidays

 

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority