Reorienting Israel’s Relations with American Jewry

Feb. 11 2016

For decades, the core of American Jewish support for Israel lay in what was once the communal mainstream: upper-middle class, non-Orthodox Jews. But evidence suggests that this support is rapidly declining even as the numbers of non-Orthodox Jews are also shrinking. Taking into account demographic and opinion surveys, Owen Alterman argues that Israel should recalibrate its outreach to American Jews to appeal to two groups whose numbers are on the rise, and whose support for Israel is greater than often assumed. (Article begins at p. 43.)

While decades of intermarriage and assimilation have eroded the established core of American Jewry, they have also produced millions of Americans who do not self-identify as Jews but who have a familial or other affinity to Judaism. . . . The 2013 Pew study identifies and defines two distinct groups of Americans who themselves are not Jewish but who have a particular link to Judaism. The first is the “Jewish background” group: Americans with a Jewish parent who do not (or no longer) identify as Jews. The second is the “Jewish affinity” group: non-Jews without a Jewish parent who nonetheless see themselves as linked to Judaism in some way. The links to Judaism are varied, ranging from those citing that “Jesus was Jewish” to those citing a Jewish spouse or Jewish grandparents. . . .

Taken together, these “Jewish background” and “Jewish affinity” sectors are enormous, [and] show a reasonably strong connection to Judaism and Jewish institutions, which sets them apart from non-Jewish Americans. . . . The sectors also show a strong emotional connection to Israel. A large proportion . . . believes that the United States is “not supportive enough” of Israel. Significantly, [this proportion] is actually greater than [that of the non-Orthodox] communal core holding this belief.

Similarly, Alterman continues, the ultra-Orthodox are often assumed both to be unsupportive of Israel and to have limited financial resources, but neither assumption is true across the board.

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Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: American Jewry, Intermarriage, Israel and the Diaspora, Pew Survey, Ultra-Orthodox

 

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.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

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