Tag Archives: jewish identity

Pew Polls Jews

Pew’s recent poll, A Portrait of Jewish Americans, showcases the essential duplicity of jewish identity. The poll, conducted by Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, puts the oldest, best example right out front. They distinguish two main types of jew: “jews by religion” and “jews of no religion”.

The term “jews of no religion” presents a problem for those who misunderstand (or want others to misunderstand) the true nature of jewishness, specifically by mistaking it as a type of theology or “faith”. The second page of the report, Sidebar: Who is a Jew?, finesses the problem with the usual double-talk:

One of the first decisions that had to be made in conducting this study and analyzing its results was to answer the question, “Who is a Jew?” This is an ancient question with no single, timeless answer. On the one hand, being Jewish is a matter of religion – the traditional, matrilineal definition of Jewish identity is founded on halakha (Jewish religious law). On the other hand, being Jewish also may be a matter of ancestry, ethnicity and cultural background.

Jewish Crypsis – Half-Jews – Part 2 goes over the issue of matrilineality and the biological nature of jewishness in more detail. Suffice it here to note that even the “religious law” is actually a matter of ancestry. So the “ancient question” does in fact have a “single, timeless answer”. Being jewish is, and always has been, a matter of ancestry. All along the jews have also pretended otherwise.

The primacy of ancestry comes through in the flowchart Pew uses to describe how they categorized poll participants. Those who “were raised jewish or have a jewish parent” but profess no “religion” are counted as jews. Those who claim no jewish parent are excluded, even if they regard themselves as jewish.

It’s not on the flowchart, but Pew also inquired about the parents of those who claimed to be “jews by religion”. They buried those numbers (and another hint of the primacy of ancestry) in a brief reference in Chapter 3: Jewish Identity:

Nearly all Jews say they had at least one Jewish parent, including 96% of Jews by religion and 97% of Jews of no religion.

All in all, 98% of Jews (and, by definition, 100% of Jews of no religion) were raised Jewish or had at least one Jewish parent; 2% of Jews had no such background but indicate they had a formal conversion to Judaism, while 1% did not formally convert.

In other words, jewishness is 96-97% a matter of ancestry.

Here are a few more of the relevant and interesting bits from that same chapter. According to jews this is what being a jew is about:

U.S. Jews see being Jewish as more a matter of ancestry, culture and values than of religious observance. Six-in-ten say, for example, that being Jewish is mainly a matter of culture or ancestry, compared with 15% who say it is mainly a matter of religion. Roughly seven-in-ten say remembering the Holocaust and leading an ethical life are essential to what it means to them to be Jewish, while far fewer say observing Jewish law is a central component of their Jewish identity. And two-thirds of Jews say that a person can be Jewish even if he or she does not believe in God.

Importance of Being Jewish

More than four-in-ten U.S. Jews (46%) say being Jewish is a very important part of their lives, and a third (34%) say being Jewish is somewhat important to them. One-fifth of Jews say that being Jewish is not too (15%) or not at all important to them (5%). Jews by religion are nearly five times more likely to say being Jewish is very important to them compared with Jews of no religion (56% vs. 12%).

Nearly nine-in-ten Orthodox Jews (87%) and two-thirds of Conservative Jews (69%) describe being Jewish as very important in their lives. Far fewer self-identified Reform Jews say being Jewish is very important to them (43%). Among Jews who are unaffiliated with any particular Jewish movement or denomination, just one-in-five say being Jewish is very important to them (22%).

Pride, Connectedness and Responsibility

More than nine-in-ten Jews (94%) agree they are “proud to be Jewish.” Three-quarters (75%) say they have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people, and about six-in-ten (63%) say they have a special responsibility to care for Jews in need around the world.

Overwhelming majorities of both Jews by religion and Jews of no religion say they are proud to be Jewish (97% and 83%, respectively). Most Jews by religion also say they have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people (85%) and that they feel a responsibility to care for Jews in need (71%). Far fewer Jews of no religion share these sentiments.

What Does it Mean to be Jewish?

. . .

The survey asked Jews whether each of nine attributes and activities is essential to what being Jewish means to them, is important but not essential, or is not an important part of what it means to be Jewish. In response, roughly seven-in-ten U.S. Jews (73%) say remembering the Holocaust is an essential part of what being Jewish means to them.

From this it’s clear that jewishness is more about peoplehood than religion, more biological than ideological. In fact the ideological portion is just another facet of the biological portion. In spite of their many profound ideological differences, the core beliefs that jews share most religiously have to do with seeing themselves as part of and concerned for the well-being of their people, a biological collective.

Theologically speaking, note that the jewish collective sees God as unnecessary but regards their guilt-tripping and extortion narrative as essential.

A Reminder to HBDers and Race Realists

A comment to Steve Sailer’s Smith student in trouble for liking boys:

Michael said…

People telling Jews they can relax now since we’ve “won” remind me how easy it is for victory to lead to relaxation and then defeat. Yes, Jews are now the establishment, and it’s tempting to feel we can relax now, but that’s especially when we have to be most on our guard. Historically, victory is usually followed by softening and defeat. It’s only Jewish paranoia – one of the healthiest, strongest, and most positive of Jewish instincts. The lack of understanding gentiles have for this powerful instinct betrays a fatal weakness in their character and sheds some light on why they ultimately didn’t have what it takes to retain power – and an exceptionally tough and enduring will to victory that has a chance of sparing Jews from this historical pattern.

Comments on this site never fail to remind me of how dangerous the temptation to relax really is. I have no doubt if Jews did relax, guys like the hideous and creepy “agnostic” would immediately crawl out of the woodworks with their festering resentments and Jews would once again be banned from country clubs and similar places.

Fact of the matter is, we are dealing with whites, Aryans if you prefer, who have historically been the most virulently racist genetic group in history. All groups are racist, but none as virulently as European whites. It’s probably a genetic character trait but if you compare historical racist attitudes it is clear as day that no other race or civilization equals white Europeans. Even modern day white Western self-hatred, which although helped along by the Jews is an essentially white European construct, is a kind of racism in reverse! It’s the same need to demonize and hate an entire people that seems genetically white, just this time directed inward! Even the white attempt to get away from racism ends up being just racism in reverse, its surreal! It would be comic if it wasn’t so sad. Orwell said that Western Communism was just nationalism attached to another group, and its the same with Western anti-racism – it’s just racism attached to one’s own group.

The Muslims noted the Crusaders inability to treat any other race as equals. We are not dealing with a mildly racist people like the Chinese or the Arabs, with whom perhaps Jews might be able, over time and in the right cultural climate such as exists in the secular West today, to relax their guard.

9/19/13, 11:07 AM

This is a good example of how jews argue. Whites are condemned first for not being “racist” enough, for not having the instincts of jews. Then also for being too “racist”, for supposedly exceeding the jews at demonization and hate. The hypocrisy and contradictions are beside the point. The point is to condemn Whites, as a race, in direct contrast to jews.

This is a reminder that jews are 1) acutely aware of the reality and importance of race, and 2) see themselves as racially distinct from and at odds with Whites.

Typical Hyper-jew Behavior

Twitter / jonathanchait:

Age Of Treason — “A pro-White perspective on jewish influence” — calls me a “Hyper-jew.” Seems overstated. http://age-of-treason.com/2013/05/23/biden-on-jewish-influence/

For the hyper-jew, nothing is ever too jewy. Especially not himself.

They do, however, fret that Biden’s Praise For Jews Might Be Too Much.

Jews have power, but it is based on lies. The biggest lie is that jewish power doesn’t exist. The hyper-jew laughs, nervously, because he knows, and worries.

Peekaboo, Another Jew

A reminder from Venezuela regarding the cryptic, biological nature of jewish identity.

Venezuela’s ‘anti-Semitic’ leader admits Jewish ancestry, The Times of Israel, 13 May 2013:

In an interesting twist, [Nicolás] Maduro, the political successor of the late president Hugo Chávez, told the press last week that he himself was descended from Sephardic Jewish ancestors.

“My grandparents were Jewish, from a [Sephardic] Moorish background, and converted to Catholicism in Venezuela… The mother of [Minister of Communication and Information] Ernesto Villegas also comes from a similar background,” Maduro said last week

Yet, he said, “if there is a people that has a rich socialist tradition, it’s the Jewish people… We respect their history.”

He said the people who hated and killed Jews during the Holocaust were members of the far-right who built on the ideas of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and not supporters of the ideals advocated by the Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin.

“Karl Marx was a Jew,” he noted.

In casting left/right attitudes as pro-jew/anti-jew Maduro argues not only that jews matter, but that he identifies with them as a people, both biologically and ideologically, seeing himself on their side not only by heritage but in his view of history and politics as well.

The article is vague on this point but Maduro’s grandparents, like others of “similar background”, would most likely be descended from jews who last openly practiced judaism at least 500 years ago. After “converting” such crypto-jews somehow miraculously managed to identify a mate and raise a family with “similar background” through 25 or so generations.

The History of the Crypto-Jews/Hispanic Sephardi conveys the usual jewish explanation for this remarkable phenomenon:

The experience of the Crypto Jews in the Western Hemisphere was a litany of suffering, continual fear, social, political, professional, and religious suppression and murder. As late as the 1850s the Inquisition was finally officially ended in Mexico, and elsewhere a little sooner; however, overt discrimination and random incidents of lynching and murder continued until well into the 1950s in what we now call “Latin America”.

The final result of approximately one thousand years of persecution and murder of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (minus the three hundred years of the “Golden Age”) caused many families who immigrated to the New World to become Crypto Jewish, while living their public lives as Catholics. In the Americas, some of the Crypto Jews reverted back to being openly Jewish, only to find a few years later that the Inquisition had followed them to their new homes, and they were forced to go back into hiding again. All of these people, the “Conversos” or “New Christians”, were forced to submit to Catholicism, thus in Hebrew they are referred to as the “Anusim” or “those who were forced.”

It has been approximately fifteen-hundred years since the emergence of Crypto Jews in the Iberian Peninsula, and five-hundred years since Crypto Judaism moved to the Americas. Today we find a large Crypto Jewish presence throughout the Western Hemisphere. No one knows for sure how many there really are, however in Brazil alone an estimated 10 to 25% of the total population are Crypto Jews, which translates to 15 to 40 million people.

While not all people of Crypto Jewish lineage are prepared at this time to accept the challenge to return to living a fully Jewish life, there are thousands, if not millions who are hungry to learn and to reconnect with G-d as Jews.

Three things to note here.

Jewishness has more to do with genetic lineage and an awareness of oneself, furtively or not, as a jew. Religion ranks somewhere below both.

The jewish version of history is a one-sided “litany of suffering, continual fear, social, political, professional, and religious suppression and murder” of jews. According to jews, whatever mischief jews get up to the Other gets the blame for it all, including even for jews disguising themselves.

The period jews regard as their “Golden Age” occurred during the Moorish/muslim occupation of Spain. From the perspective of jews, however bad muslims have been, European Christians have always been worse.

Stephen Steinlight on Jewish Power and Interests

Stephen Steinlight writes about the interests of jews vis-a-vis Americans, Whites, and non-jews in general in Bridging America Project, AJC: Global Jewish Advocacy, October 2001.

Preface: Challenging A Crumbling Consensus

In a rare experiment in candid public discourse about America’s changing demography, American Jewry needs to toss reticence and evasion to the winds, stop censoring ourselves for fear of offending the entirely imaginary arbiters of civic virtue, and bluntly and publicly pose the same questions we anxiously ponder in private.

But we should ask the hard questions no matter what, recognizing that only straight talk will get us anywhere. We cannot consider the inevitable consequences of current trends � not least among them diminished Jewish political power � with detachment. Our present privilege, success, and power do not inure us from the effect of historical processes, and history has not come to an end, even in America.

Abandoning the Field to Nativism and Xenophobia

Not far down the list of awful consequences, our unspoken acquiescence leaves the anti-determinist camp, with some notable exceptions (such as the thoughtful and moderate Center for Immigration Studies), largely in the hands of classic anti-immigrant, xenophobic, and racist nativist forces. The white “Christian” supremacists who have historically opposed either all immigration or all non-European immigration (Europeans being defined as Nordic or Anglo-Saxon), a position re-asserted by Peter Brimelow, must not be permitted to play a prominent role in the debate over the way America responds to unprecedented demographic change.

Posing the Sphinx Questions

What are some of those large vexing questions we would prefer not to speak aloud? Let’s throw out a few and see how many sleepers we can awaken. The big one for starters: is the emerging new multicultural American nation good for the Jews? Will a country in which enormous demographic and cultural change, fueled by unceasing large-scale non-European immigration, remain one in which Jewish life will continue to flourish as nowhere else in the history of the Diaspora? In an America in which people of color form the plurality, as has already happened in California, most with little or no historical experience with or knowledge of Jews, will Jewish sensitivities continue to enjoy extraordinarily high levels of deference and will Jewish interests continue to receive special protection? Does it matter that the majority non-European immigrants have no historical experience of the Holocaust or knowledge of the persecution of Jews over the ages and see Jews only as the most privileged and powerful of white Americans?

Facing Up to the Gradual Demise of Jewish Political Power

Not that it is the case that our disproportionate political power (pound for pound the greatest of any ethnic/cultural group in America) will erode all at once, or even quickly.

It is also true that Jewish economic influence and power are disproportionately concentrated in Hollywood, television, and in the news industry, theoretically a boon in terms of the formation of favorable public images of Jews and sensitizing the American people to issues of concern to Jews.

Supporting Immigration by Reducing Its Scale

It is also, frankly, in our own best interest to continue to support generous immigration. The day may come when the forces of anti-Semitic persecution will arise once more in the lands of the former Soviet Union or in countries of Eastern Europe and Jews will once again need a safe haven in the United States. The Jewish community requires this fail-safe. We will always be in support of immigration; the question is whether it should be open-ended or not? The question is what constitutes the smartest approach to supporting immigration?

Immigration Policy and Identity Politics

Our current policies encourage the balkanization that results from identity politics and the politics of grievance.

Jews and Identity Politics

We Jews need to be especially sensitive to the multinational model this crowd (many of them Jewish) is promoting. Why? Because one person’s “celebration” of his own diversity, foreign ties, and the maintenance of cultural and religious traditions that set him apart is another’s balkanizing identity politics. We are not immune from the reality of multiple identities or the charge of divided loyalties, a classic staple of anti-Semitism, and we must recognize that our own patterns are easily assailed, and we need to find ways of defending them more effectively as the debate goes on.

For Jews, it is at best hypocritical, and, worse, an example of an utter lack of self-awareness, not to recognize that we are up to our necks in this problem. This has been especially true once we were sufficiently accepted in the United States to feel confident enough to go public with our own identity politics. But this newfound confidence carries its own costs; people are observing us closely, and what they see in our behavior is not always distinct from what we loudly decry in others. One has to be amused, even amazed, when colleagues in the organized Jewish world wring their hands about black nationalism, Afrocentrism, or with cultural separatism in general � without considering Jewish behavioral parallels. Where has our vaunted Jewish self-awareness flown?

I’ll confess it, at least: like thousands of other typical Jewish kids of my generation, I was reared as a Jewish nationalist, even a quasi-separatist. Every summer for two months for 10 formative years during my childhood and adolescence I attended Jewish summer camp. There, each morning, I saluted a foreign flag, dressed in a uniform reflecting its colors, sang a foreign national anthem, learned a foreign language, learned foreign folk songs and dances, and was taught that Israel was the true homeland. Emigration to Israel was considered the highest virtue, and, like many other Jewish teens of my generation, I spent two summers working in Israel on a collective farm while I contemplated that possibility. More tacitly and subconsciously, I was taught the superiority of my people to the gentiles who had oppressed us. We were taught to view non-Jews as untrustworthy outsiders, people from whom sudden gusts of hatred might be anticipated, people less sensitive, intelligent, and moral than ourselves. We were also taught that the lesson of our dark history is that we could rely on no one.

I am of course simplifying a complex process of ethnic and religious identity formation; there was also a powerful counterbalancing universalistic moral component that inculcated a belief in social justice for all people and a special identification with the struggle for Negro civil rights. And it is no exaggeration to add that in some respects, of course, a substantial subset of secular Jews were historically Europe’s cosmopolitans par excellence, particularly during the high noon of bourgeois culture in Central Europe. That sense of commitment to universalistic values and egalitarian ideals was and remains so strong that in reliable survey research conducted over the years, Jews regularly identify “belief in social justice” as the second most important factor in their Jewish identity; it is trumped only by a “sense of peoplehood.” It also explains the long Jewish involvement in and flirtation with Marxism. But it is fair to say that Jewish universalistic tendencies and tribalism have always existed in an uneasy dialectic. We are at once the most open of peoples and one second to none in intensity of national feeling. Having made this important distinction, it must be admitted that the essence of the process of my nationalist training was to inculcate the belief that the primary division in the world was between “us” and “them.”

I say all this merely to remind us that we cannot pretend we are only part of the solution when we are also part of the problem; we have no less difficult a balancing act between group loyalty and a wider sense of belonging to America. That America has largely tolerated this dual loyalty � we get a free pass, I suspect, largely over Christian guilt about the Holocaust � makes it no less a reality.

At the very least, as the debate over multinational identity rises, I hope the Jewish community will have the good sense not to argue in favor of dual citizenship and other such arrangements. I would also advocate that those who possess dual citizenship to relinquish it in order not to cloud the issue and to serve the best interests of the American Jewish community and of American national unity. The recent case of the Israeli teenager who committed a murder in suburban Maryland (his victim was a young Latino) and fled to Israel, where he was permitted to remain despite attempts at extradition by U.S. prosecutors, with considerable congressional support, must never be repeated. That incident inflicted serious damage on Israel’s good name, and it shapes the public’s perception of Jews as people in a special category with additional rights who have a safe haven where they can escape the reach of American justice.

Dr. Stephen Steinlight was for more than five years Director of National Affairs (domestic policy) at the American Jewish Committee. For the past two and a half years he has been a Senior Fellow at AJC.

It is a long piece and there is much more, but that is enough for the following analysis.

Steinlight acknowledges that jews have enormous power. He is both a representative and spokesman of that power, which he wants jews to retain and even increase. To accomplish this he believes jews should advocate more openly and loudly, be more self-aware and self-concerned, strengthen their identity and engage more actively in identity politics, and continue to create and maintain “safe havens” for themselves. He says this even as he pathologizes and demonizes others, especially Whites, for thinking or doing anything similar, or for that matter objecting in any fashion to jews doing any of this.

Steinlight’s critique is a call to action for his fellow jews, who in his mind aren’t working smart or hard enough in pursuit of their own collective best interests. His thoughts, on the surface riddled with contradiction and hypocrisy, only appear that way to those who will not see how they are rooted in the ruthless pursuit of answers to a single burning question: What is best for the jews?

Furthermore, and more to the point for those of us who aren’t jews, Steinlight sees the best interests of others as, at best, in conflict with, and at worse, as a threat to the interests of jews. Us and our interests are trifles, of no consequence whatsoever except to the extent we can be co-opted, manipulated or otherwise exploited as he and his tribe see fit.