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Monday, September 14, 2009

Israeli Ads Warn Against Assimilation

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While I was checking one of my favorite blogs today, mymy, I was startled to read about an Israeli government advertising campaign that warns Jews in the Diaspora against marrying non-Jews. The ad goes on to encourage young Diaspora Jews to move to Israel.

Hmmmmmm.....

Is it me, or is there something askew here? Why would a government that represents a group of people who have been gravely discriminated against throughout history, back a campaign warning its citizens not to intermarry with "those other people." Seems I'm not the only one perplexed by this effort. Jonathan Cook's article which appeared in the Abu Dhabi publication, The National states:

The campaign quickly provoked a storm of debate on Jewish blog sites, especially in the United States, with some terming it “divisive” and an insult to Jewish offspring of intermarriage. A link to Masa’s “Lost” campaign had been dropped from the front page of its website yesterday, possibly in response to the backlash.

Cook's article also says:

The issue of assimilation has been thrust into the limelight by a series of surveys over several years carried out by the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, a think-tank established in Jerusalem in 2002 comprising leading Israeli and Diaspora officials.

The institute’s research has shown that Israel is the only country in the world with a significant Jewish population not decreasing in size. The decline elsewhere is ascribed both to low birth rates and to widespread intermarriage.

According to the institute, about half of all Jews in Western Europe and the United States assimilate, while the figure for the former Soviet Jewry is reported to reach 80 per cent.

Israel, whose Jewish population of 5.6 million accounts for 41 per cent of worldwide Jewry, has obstructed intermarriage between its Jewish and Arab citizens by refusing to recognize such marriages unless they are performed abroad.

The advertising campaign is directed particularly at Jews in the United States and Canada, whose combined 5.7 million Jews constitutes the world’s largest Jewish population. Most belong to the liberal Reform stream of Judaism that, unlike Orthodoxy, does not oppose intermarriage.

Check out what David Duke (who now has a Ph.D in History y'all!) has to say about the ads.

Don't believe it? See for yourself:

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK this is deep!
Thanks Sis!
TA

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

De nada hermana!
I was quite taken aback by the campaign. It just seemed like not a smart thing to do.

Alicia

(im)perfect_black ☥☥☥ said...

peace alicia,

thanks for the post. i am sorta mixed on the topic. on the one hand i am an advocate of black on black love. just as jewish officials worry about "losing" jewishness, i worry about black people "losing" blackness assimilation. that said people should be free to love without intrusive policies or pressure from the state. kwame

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Kwame,
Nothing at all wrong with black on black love bruh.
But I guess when I read about this campaign, I immediately thought what you said in your comment: "people should be free to love without intrusive policies or pressure from the state."
That says it ALL.
Thanks for commenting.
Peace and many blessings,
Alicia

kwame said...

p.s. forgot to mention that i hadn't heard about Duke's Ph.D. Yikes! I wonder what is dissertation committee was thinking? kzs

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Kwame,
I was pretty shocked about Duke's Ph.D also. This told me two things -- he's far more serious than I thought he was and he's not playing -- not sleeping. We'd all better wake up!
alicia

PatricktheRogue said...

A few thoughts: Only in Israel, when I started a conversation with a female I thought attractive, invariably the question would come up, "Are you a Jew?" And when I answered in the negative, the conversation was basically over. So, there is already a fair bit of self selection going on there already.
Of course, if they are really interested in preserving Jewish DNA, the Israelis would have been a lot more scrutinizing of the onslaught of Russian "Jews" who have immigrated over the last couple decades. After the USSR broke up, loads of Russians and Eastern Europeans discovered their previously forgotten Jewishness, which came with a free trip to Israel, Israeli citizenship, and assistance setting up shop in the country. Which is a heckuva better deal than they were getting in Russia. Not to say that every one of those who emigrated was faking it, but it was well known in Israel that many were. But it was allowed because it bolstered the Jews' numbers against the Muslims in Israel (yes, Israel, not the West Bank) where they will outnumber Jews in the next twenty years if current trends continue. So, there are very practical concerns the Israelis are pushing in this campaign. I don't completely fault them, but I would never conduct my love life in line with a political campaign.
Ultimately, I must agree with Dr. King, who said, "Hearts know only other hearts."

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Shaun,
Great comment and a very needed history lesson about the Russian Jews. I din't know about that. I find the practical concerns that Israeli's have for pushing the campaign unsettling. What will happen next? Will they make it illegal for a Jew to marry a non-Jew? I hope not.
Thanks for commenting! You always have an informed and enlightened perspective on things.
Alicia

myabubakar said...

this is a good take on the issue and as you said it seemed like not a smart thing to do. i have posted a link to the illinois supreme court's decision to uphold what the jewish advert was talking about. this infringes on the 4th amendement and i hope it goes right to washington dc supreme court. americans should not support this kind of racist shenanigan

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

myabubaker,

That Illinois case is quite intriguing. The fact that the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that
Max Feinberg and his wife were within their rights to disinherit any grandchildren who marry outside faith is curious. Seems like you can put just about anything in a will, huh? I also hope the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court and I agree that the case seems racist.
Thanks for commenting!
Alicia