Israeli Ads against Marriage with American Jews are Part of a Population War

The Israeli government has been forced to withdraw advertisements aimed at Israeli-Americans, urging them to return to Israel and to refrain from marrying American Jews (depicted as ignorant of and distant from Israel).

Here is Aljazeera English’s video report on the ads:

Why would the Israeli government bite the hand that feeds it, and risk insulting the American Jewish community this way? The real issue here is demographics, that is, it is about Israel’s population war with the Palestinians. It is a war that Israel is losing.

There are hundreds of thousands of first- and second-generation Israelis in the United States, and the Likud Party wants them back. That is the point of the offensive commercials.

The advertisements for re-immigration to Israel have the same rationale as Israel’s campaign against the Iranian nuclear enrichment program. A third of Israelis say in polls that they would leave the country if Iran got an atomic bomb. There could be a panicked out-migration. Trying to stop an Iranian bomb is key to retaining Israel’s Jewish population (which finds it nerve-wracking to try to live in a hostile Middle East), just as the ads were thought key to attracting migrants out of Israel to return home.

[pdf] There are about 7.8 million Israelis, including 5.8 million Jewish-Israelis and 1.6 million Palestinian-Israelis (there are also three hundred thousand persons who are simply not Jewish. Within this group, there are some whose mothers were not Jewish and so are not counted officially as Jews, even though they might consider themselves Jewish and hold Israeli citizenship. Others have no claim on Jewishness at all. Neither group is being allowed to convert in any numbers by the Chief Rabbi).

Over time, the proportion of Palestinian-Israelis in the population will rise, and the number of Jews who do not strongly identify with Israel will likely do so, as well. Ian Lustick has argued that [pdf] in recent years the number of Jews who departed Israel probably equaled or exceeded the number who came in, so immigration as a method of retaining a Jewish majority is no longer viable.

Lustick [pdf] also quotes Israeli officials who estimate that up to a million Israelis live outside that country, some 600,000 in North America. Both Israel’s present and its future would look a lot different if Israel could entice these expatriates back. That was the point of the ads. Obviously, if Israeli-Americans intermarry with and assimilate into the Jewish-American community, they are unlikely to return to Israel in any numbers; indeed, if their children adopt Jewish-American ways and intermarry at high rates with non-Jews, a large proportion of their descendants wouldn’t even be eligible for full citizenship as Jews in Israel.

There are no further big Jewish communities that are likely to emigrate to Israel. Few American Jews want to live there. Some 50 percent of American Jews marry out into other communities, something that cannot even be done inside Israel. My suspicion is that more Israelis emigrate to Europe nowadays than European Jews emigrate to Israel. The Israeli Jews of European ancestry (Ashkenazim) and most of those originally from the Middle East (Mizrahim) have increasingly small families. An estimated 70-80 percent of Israeli Jews have other passports, just in case they need to jump ship, and a quarter of all Israeli academics live abroad.

The two populations in Israel with the youngest median age and the greatest likelihood of increase in numbers in the future are the Palestinian-Israelis and the Haredis or ultra-Orthodox Jews. These two groups will, through the 21st century, eclipse the Ashkenazi or European Jews, as well as the non-Haredi Eastern Jews. By 2030, 55% of Israeli school children will likely be either Palestinian-Israeli or Haredi, and they will be 47% of 15-19 year-olds, as well. (See this paper [pdf] by Richard P. Cincotta and Eric Kaufmann.) That is, by 2050 or 2060, if current growth rates continue and no dramatic changes take place in their political status, Palestinian-Israelis and Haredis will comprise a majority of voters outside the elderly.

Note that I am speaking of Israel proper, leaving aside the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel is likely also to inherit, since it won’t give them a state of their own. But leave that issue aside for the moment.

The problem for Israeli nationalists is that neither Palestinian-Israelis nor Haredim are typically Zionists. The Ultra-Orthodox often reject the legitimacy of the state of Israel because they believe only the Messiah can establish a Jewish state and rule Jerusalem, and it is hubris for secular Zionists to make the attempt.

Palestinian-Israelis will probably be 30% of the Israeli population by 2030. Although they would not get along with Haredim on most issues, both communities avoid service in the Israeli army (with the exception among Palestinians of the Druze). Neither will be dutiful taxpayers. An Israel made up of a joint majority of Palestinian-Israelis and Haredis will be militarily and financially weak.

Hence the desperate propaganda attempt by PM Binyamin Netanyahu to convince the 600,000 Israeli-Americans and Israeli-Canadians to come home, and to avoid the taint of the soft deracinated (as the ads imply) Jewish-Americans.

In a globalizing world, the Likud Party’s frantic attempts to craft and maintain a Jewish Israel are probably doomed. They are doomed even if Israel is not forced ultimately to absorb the stateless Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, which it is highly likely to be forced to do over the long run. One could even imagine a Palestinian-Israeli and liberal Jewish-Israeli majority of 55 percent voting in the Palestinians in 2030 so as to avoid further economic boycotts (which will likely burgeon by then as Israeli Apartheid becomes less and less acceptable). In the US, non-Latino whites are already a minority in California, and will be in the whole country by 2050. Askhenazi Jews of Israel, like other white people elsewhere, will just have to get used to not being in charge all the time.

56 Responses

  1. 1) As an American Jew, I’ve been regularly astonished at how much Israelis can just be insufferable dicks. (I’m not even talking about the politics.) In my 30 years of life, I can attest to very few genuinely warm and pleasant interactions with Israelis. It’s gotten worse over time. There’s an edge and a defensiveness there. I’ve felt more comfortable just about anywhere in Europe. It’s not a wonder American Jews aren’t flocking there.

    2) Isn’t this a country with quasi-riots in the streets over housing costs and shortages? Wasn’t it something like 5% of the national population moved to demonstrate? Maybe they should figure that out before closing off marriage opportunities in the U.S.

    • I have a lot of Israeli friends and they are perfectly nice people. There is a gruffness of public life there.

    • Without a doubt, the most ‘pushy’ arrogant, ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’ tourists here in Berlin [and living in ‘Mitte’ we’re overrun with tourists, so have a sound comparative ‘base’… are without a doubt the Israelis. QED

    • Marcs comment kind of reflects the views of a number of friends or others that I know who are currently working in jobs that requires them to be in regular contact with those in foreign nations (although they used much more diplomatic language), even though they worked in different businesses and companies they all tended find the Israelis to be the most difficult and hard to work with due to their manners in a way that they didnt find with other nations.

      • You guys are way too hard on the Israelis. The same stereotypes of rude tourists exist about Americans (or of rude hosts in the case of Parisians). Some of it is insularity, some just urban culture. A lot of it is baseless stereotyping

      • As Juan says a lot of this is just baseless stereotyping mixed with self fulfilling prophecy. I wish you would think about how you would feel if someone said that about your friends or family.

    • “Israelis can just be insufferable”

      The Simpsons did a great episode on this a few years back. Sascha Baron Cohen played the obnoxious Israeli tour guide. I wonder how many Fox viewers were surprised by this portrayal of Israel. Actually, I wonder how many American evangelicals watch the Simpsons…

    • At a prior employer two of our important vendors were Israeli-based companies. Dealing with these people was insufferable. We accounted for 40% of their sales, yet they refused to make changes that our customers requested because their product was “perfect”, and instead made changes that none of our customers requested and that indeed broke our customers’ networks. When we found a bug in their product and reported it and requested that it be fixed they behaved as if we had just committed a personal insult, I’m surprised they never accused us of being “anti-Semitic” for daring state that their product wasn’t perfect and needed fixing. For one product we ended up having to reverse-engineer a major part of their product to make it actually function the way it was supposed to function, and attempting to get them to fix it ran into a constant wall of arrogance — “Our product works fine, why are you bothering us?” Remember, we accounted for 40% of their sales!!!

      We eventually spun off the division that depended on the Israelis simply because it was proving to be way too big a distraction from our core business. It doesn’t surprise me that Bibi’s government acted in such a ham-handed and arrogant manner with this campaign. That seems to be Israeli culture nowadays, from what I can tell through my interactions with Israelis in my industry.

      • I don’t think you can generalize to a whole country based on the behavior of two software firms. But then I’m not in the business world and for all I know there are national business cultures as some political scientists argue there are regime political cultures.

        • A few years ago when I was doing educational videos my company sent me to Israel to direct a 45 minute show about the mix of cultures in Jerusalem. I and my little staff did a great deal of research, and we went there as enthusiastically pro-Israeli as you can imagine. By the time we left two months later I was something close to an anti-Semite. I’d never encountered so many rude, utterly miserable human beings in my life. Too bad; I felt I’d lost a piece of my humanity there.

  2. Apparently, Israeli political leaders haven’t figured out that they are much more likely to stem the tide of outward emigration and make it more palatable for American, Canadian and European Jews to move to Israel if that government would stabilize the region by reaching a palatable peace accord with the Palastinians. Frankly, as an American Jew, I have no interest in taking a “holiday in hell” (as PJ O’Rourke titled one of his books, about being a war correspondent) as long as there is a chance that bombs or rockets might make the vacation my last. Why on earth would I want to live in a war zone, especially since I disagree with so many of Israel’s foreign and domestic policies?

    More to the point, rather than running frankly offensive ads on US television, Israel would be better served by having its government start acting like a mature democracy and stop its illegal blockade of Gaza, its illegal settlement policy on the West Bank, and actually negotiate with the Palastinians rather than continue bullying its neighbors and the world.

    • Charley, the core issue is the demographic one Juan mentioned, and the Jewishness of the Israeli state. One thing that Israelis are fond of talking about in reference to American Jews is that American Jews in their soft comfortable refuge don’t understand why the Jewish people need a Jewish state as a place of final refuge. They then start talking about Europe’s history of one anti-Jewish pogrom after another (the Holocaust was just an exclamation point on that history, probably as many Jews died in pogroms before that as did in the Holocaust), about how Jews in nation after nation thought they had a safe place only to find out that no, their neighbors wanted to exterminate them there too but no other nation would take them in so they died in large numbers, and so forth. The State of Israel, they state, is the solution to that, in that if Jews in any nation on the planet run into problems where suddenly their neighbors want to exterminate them, they now have a place to run.

      The end result of that attitude of perpetual persecution (based on historical fact, alas) is this: Israel will *never* support any solution to the Palestinian issue which results in Jews being a minority within the state of Israel. And if the number of non-Jews within the state of Israel reach a number that is viewed as a threat to the Jewishness of the Israeli state, the non-Jews *will* be expelled, even if it requires Israeli gunboats escorting cargo vessels full of “refugees” to Beirut Harbor (likely destination of said cargo vessels, since poor little Lebanon has no military capable of dealing with such a thing). Israel was founded on the bedrock of ethnic cleansing — something that Israel’s own archives now verify — and given that, any solution to the Palestinian issue which involves the Palestinians becoming Israeli citizens is a non-starter. And given that Gaza and the West Bank even if not blockaded simply are not economically viable as an independent Palestine due to lack of water (assuming Tel Aviv doesn’t give up any of its current water allocations), land, and resources, you arrive at the current stalemate.

      Solution? I don’t have one. But maybe this helps understand the Israeli attitude towards American Jews a little.

      • As a Jew, I’m inclined to agree with you here. One need only search the web briefly to see that plenty of people are still quite fine with another final solution, and many of my co-religionist know it. Since I’m not a believer, I vote for one giant self abnegation of the religion in order to avoid more suffering, but thats just a dream. Curious for your alls thoughts.

        • That is bizarre. There is no significant Jewish community anywhere in the world such at its government wants to wipe it out, including in Iran. WW II was an unusual period of history and that kind of violence has been in steep decline. A tiny fringe of haters doesn’t typically make history.

      • The days when Israel has the overwhelming technical and military superiority to act in such a brutal and unacceptable fashion toward its own citizens, even if it wanted to, is rapidly passing. Your reference to poor little Lebanon exhibits very old thinking. In 2006 Hizbullah broke Israeli encryption, ran rings around the latter, and made 1/4 of Israelis move out of their homes.

  3. At the same time they are running these ads, the right-wing Israeli government is passing a raft of antidemocratic measures and haredi-inspired measures against women that will probably drive more secular Israelis out of the country.

    • Ah, the irony of it all…

      I moved here from Andover, MA where about 1/3 of our Unitarian Congregation was of ‘Reform’ heritage… a group that would not be counted on as ‘Jews’ in Israel… hence no rights a citizens… add in the ‘Conservative’ Jews, same ‘not welcome’…

      Then Juan your statistics on the make-up of school age populations is a certain ‘deal-breaker’ for the young families in US/Canada featured in the rather ‘numb’ ads: who would want to take their young kids and subject them to such a class make-up… a terrible learning situation [please don’t be offended, Juan] that we see here as the ‘white’ families of young school age kids are increasingly pulling them out of schools overrun with students of ‘non-German’ [euphemism for Turk and Arab kids who can’t learn as they do not have the basic language and cultural skills of the community where they live]… The same would obtain in Israel. Who wants to use their kids as ‘Guinea Pigs’?

      But to push this one degree further, even the Israeli Haredim’s right-flank will not participate in the responsibilities of citizenship when there, and the ‘trouble-makers’ in Brooklyn consider Aliyah ‘unclean’… go figure!

      Ah, the ways to ‘shoot-one’s-self-in-the-foot’ as a society, perfected by Israel’s ever more reactionary leadership and legislation.


  4. I suppose they have some sort of logic to support refusal of a two state solution and then freaking out about becoming a minority in a one state solution, but whatever it is I can’t say it gets much sympathy from me.

  5. Nothing but a sea of Catch-22s for the government, is there? If they get into a shooting war, they can use that to forbid Israeli Jews from leaving the country, but that means no one in his right mind would emigrate there, so one is stuck with the losing hand of modern white birth rates. Also, the trapping of the population is right out of the USSR, and once begun it can never end.

    The easiest solution would be to admit they have long had a genuine nuclear deterrent. We didn’t all move out of the USA the moment the Soviets got the Bomb. However, you could say that’s because there would have been no place to run from a US-USSR nuclear war. But the real problem is, Israel always justifies land-grabbing on the grounds of creating a buffer zone (what an archaic concept) against the Arab armies. Admitting you have 200 nukes makes the buffer zone pointless. Real estate has become a cornerstone of the Israeli economy, just like in other aging right-wing capitalist states, so the grabbing must continue regardless.

  6. Don’t worry, Israel, redneck reinforcements are on the way:

    link to
    link to

    These are about extremist evangelical Christian attempts to get legally recognized as part of the “Nation of Israel”, aided by the Likud. They’re already putting up facilities in the illegal settlements, and promising “military training”. Since the Army-settler coalition has tyrannical power over Israeli law, a million Christian settlers willing to live in the settlements and join the Army would quickly supplant actual Jews as the power within Zionism.

    And why shouldn’t the Likud replace Jews with murderous Red-State gun nuts? Just like in America, it’s about who will best serve the political-economic elite.

  7. A “Jewish State” on a land populated by non-Jews was always a recipe for conflict, dispossession, oppression and discrimination – which is what the Zionist project has boiled down to. If demographics eventually dissolve this discriminatory entity, it will be the best peaceful outcome, as the Jewish State in its current format is a flash point for WWIII and a source of never ending conflict.

    • Ron, the core national identity for Israel is two words: “Never Again”. That is, never again will millions of Jews die for lack of a nation willing to take them in. The purpose of the state of Israel is as a place of final refuge for the world’s unwanted Jews. Remember, the Jews who died in the Holocaust died not because Hitler hated Jews (though he did), but *because the rest of the world hated Jews* and refused to take in the unwanted Jewery of Europe. Hitler had no problem with deporting the Jews rather than exterminating them (much cheaper than building extermination camps), but *nobody would take them*. Even the United States turned away shiploads of Jewish refugees fleeing Europe, just as Britain turned away shiploads of Jewish refugees attempting to reach Palestine.

      If not in the Middle East, where the State of Israel is a fait accompli, where else do you propose such a place of final refuge to exist? And given that such a place inherently has to be run by Jews or else it’s possible to become a place of NON-refuge, how else other than via ethnic cleansing do you propose to create such a place?

      Your attitude towards the Zionist project is a common one amongst left wingers. I must say that I am not pleased at all with the way things are going down in the state of Israel myself. But there are certain things that are simply inherent in the two words “Never Again” that are not negotiable on the part of Israelis and the Jewish people as a whole, and one of those things is that Israel is, and will forever be as long as it exists, a Jewish state — and if that requires discriminating against non-Jews or even outright ethnic cleansing, that is what they will do, however distasteful that is to you or me.

  8. Already 2/3’s of us live in the worldwide diaspora in preference to living in COMA, the Citadel of Misplaced Arrogance.

    The fact that 75% of Israelis have obtained foreign passports ready to jump ship, surprises me not one jot.

    Already 10% of British Jews are Israeli.

  9. There’s a mistake here and as someone who lives in Israel I must put in my two cents: you are pretending Israel works like America. It does not.

    In the US advertisers really try to represent their customers and reflect something about them. Tactfully and to the point. So an ad program like this would be a big insult, because it would imply that that’s what Israelis really think about Americans.

    But Israeli ads do not ‘represent’ the way US ads do. The daily advertising fare in this country is so over-the-top, in-your-face, over done, and other ways exaggerated to the extreme, that it long ago lost touch with reality. The ads are crude, grotesque caricatures. Restaurants show people stuffing food into their face. Toilet cleaners feature a crude picture of a toilet with the product with over-sized logo on it held inside.

    So an Israeli program to say ‘come home’ will rightly go far overboard in every way to make the point, as these ads do.

    The truth is the opposite: Israelis worship the US. They drool over it. They copy the US in every way they can. This is just quite overdone of an issue, this ad thing, if you ask me, because US people do not understand Israeli advertising.

    • thanks for the insight, AA – but it begs the question: why wasn’t someone in the Ministry for Immigrant Absorption wise enough to understand that a commercial for an american audience needed to be pitched psychologically/sociologically so as not to offend that audience? If Israelis indeed love the US so much, and want to be in synch with it, that ought to have been a no-brainer.

      To me, this entire flap is symptomatic of Israel’s self-isolation and bubble mentality. Moreover, according to the NYT, this ministry is headed by a Russian woman affiliated with Yisrael Beitenu – a party associated with hard-right ultra-nationalism = hardly where I’d expect enlightened outreach.

      • On second thought, I understand that the commercials were supposed to be pitched to Israelis who live in the US – so perhaps the ministry expected that the psychology of the ad would work with them. But does the ministry assume that Israelis who live in the US inhabit some sort of bubble into which non-Israeli Jews or Gentiles are never allowed? For a country whose government has prided itself on how savvy its public diplomacy is, this entire affair seems strictly fubar.

    • But AA, the US does have something like what you described.

      “The daily advertising fare in this country is so over-the-top, in-your-face, over done, and other ways exaggerated to the extreme, that it long ago lost touch with reality. The ads are crude, grotesque caricatures.”

      Fox News!

  10. The ads are part of a growing sense of fear over the future of the Zionist project and the isolation of Israel. And I agree with the demographic issues Dr. Cole raised, not to mention the issues of water rights and the rise of Muslim identity in the region that will affect the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. I have said it many times that there is one thing Muslims (not just Arabs or Palestinians)can ensure Jews and that is the right to live freely between the Nile and the Euphrates in peace and security, but not as usurpers. I know its difficult for Israelis, who are still politically, militarily and economically powerful to accept, but I see no alternative.

  11. If you think there’d be a panicked out-migration if Iran got the bomb, just think what a full-scale Israeli attack on Iran would produce. Missiles raining down on Israeli cities would drive flocks of Israel Jews into the Diaspora, and Western governments would be only to happy to accept them — not as a way of making up for their shameless immigration policies of the 1930s but rather because Israelis are every Western government’s idea of the perfect immigrants: educated, enterprising, energetic.

    Bibi is playing with fire. The more he convinces Israelis that attacking Iran is the only solution, the more Israelis line up at Western embassies in search of second passports.

    • Hmmm, could we put in our order for the ‘educated, enterprising and energetic ‘ ones now then and somewhere else can have the rude, racist, religious extremists ( and tell them not to come by boat- Australia’s not keen on boat arrivals)

      • The rude, racist religious extremists will all move back to Brooklyn where they came from. The US alone will have a Lobby demanding that we take in an unlimited # of refugees and instantly give them citizenship and subsidies, so we will get stuck with everyone that no one else wants. Lieberman’s Russians will reunite with their cousins who have emigrated straight to Little Odessa. Better to have them all in Brooklyn, though, than on the front lines of a nuclear race war.

  12. Juan I really enjoyed this post and love your other writings as well. You have also displayed an admirable ability to police your comments and posts from racist statements, which you concisely define as negative generalizations about large groups of people. Thats why as an Ashkenazi American Jew (although not observant) I was offended by your remark that “we” have to get used to not being in power all the time. I am not in power, nor are my parents, friends or extended family. We’re normal American citizens-doctors, social workers, and school teachers who want nothing more than to live our lives. Thanks.

  13. I’m a white guy in Los Angeles who witnessed the gradual inflow of Latinos over the past 40 years. I enjoyed watching the invasion, especially the gorgeous Latinas. I don’t see why people define themselves by their race or nationality to the extent that they do. Nationalism seems to make sense if your a beleaguered group like the Tamils or Palestinians. But I’ve never felt like going to bat for the white race, and I’m proudly un-American.

    • The far right is freaked that because of intermarriage there will eventually be less or no “white” people (whatever that construct means). I figure by then we’ll either all be dead by global warming or genetically engineering or children, and it wouldn’t matter anyway unless your superstitious.

      • For one faction of the Right it’s simply a matter of math; 2/3 to 3/4 of Latinos are historically likely to vote Democratic. For another faction it’s the closely related sin of “not acting white enough”; they believe that inferior poor people inexorably use their votes to destroy the proper oligarchy of the Founding Fathers, so they just don’t want any impoverished minority to vote.

        50% of this year’s kindergarteners are non-white, so things will come to a head in America long before a 3 degree Celsius increase in temperature.

        • Apropos ‘50% of this year’s kindergarteners’…

          we’re already seeing the ‘end-time’ here in Germany. A hundred yards from my ‘house’ here in ‘the East’ is the old wall line. It’s now the southern border of the largest zone of ‘EUrabia’… dominated by Turks and Arabs, complete with their own gang systems, mini ‘mosquettes’, and their apartment balconies readily identifiable by the satellite dishes.
          The rest of us either use the ‘net or TV. But there was a quirk case of German constitutional law [something to do with history makes a lot of German law ‘├╝ber-P.C.’] that all residents were entitled to receive news in their native language. The unfortunate results is the lack of acculturation [as noted previously] of the kids arriving in the public schools from Islamic families, were the mother is not permitted out of the house on her own, has no contact with the culture or language of her residential country, and thus can not prepare her kids for a successful participation in the place they live.
          The kids are therefore last in line for jobs, other than Halal fast food service, for which they might otherwise qualify. This leads to anger and frustration. Plus, not to mention, no access to their peer group women, and no tolerance of homosexual relatonships either.
          ‘The West’ thought in the late 60’s the best source of cheap labor to replace a population of young workers decimated in the war was Turkey. Now into the 3rd – and willfully unitegratable generation as noted.

        • These same things are alleged of all immigrants. You should see what Anglo Protestants here wrote about Polish immigrants circa 1900.

          It will be all right, and good for Germany. Give it time.

        • Here the young Turk and Arab Muslim women, often direct-imported cousins are, just as their Haredim/Halakah and Born-again Christian counterparts, denied birth control… so the most common sight is a pregnant woman in her 20’s, in Naqib, trundling a ‘doublewide’ baby carriage. And no self-respecting male of her family would consider it within his dignity to help her! QED

    • When you’re part of a disenfranchised, put-upon, and persecuted group, it may get to the point your racial identity is all you have left. You cling to it within increasing fervor the worse things get.

      And in a community where there are so many others unlike you, when you do spot a compatriot, you recognize each other and bolster each other; you help each other find a place to life, leading to a ghetto…to put it in the most derogotory sense. Italian-Americans and every other ethnicity that has come to the US has, even absent the persecution the Jews have known, followed this essential force that’s not unlike gravity.

      The Eastern European Askenazi, speaking in generalities, seem to exude more of this identity-centered racism (and that’s what it is), than their North American kin. Liebermann a case in point.

    • Isn’t there obviously a natural hyper sensitivity Jews have to Germany?

      In any number of other cases where the setting is a provocative one I’ve seen a defensive chip-on-the-shoulder reaction from any number of groups. Think of when Southerers insist on running up the confederate flag from time to time.

      I’m thinking in this case of a Jewish friend who as an unemployed engineer in the US had a contract opportunity in Munich. There was none of the above behavior, and his client seemed nothing if not welcoming. But the sum total of all the stories he’d been told, the uncle with a tatoo, and socialization he’d gotten while growing up, made him simple weak in the knees. He eventually took the job and everything went fine, but he in a sweat about things, and the behavior you’ve noted does not surprise me.

      • Yes I think you’re right. I think many people don’t understand the socialization of the Jewish community. The constant wonder of whether your gentile friends would save you in the case of another Hitler, making sure passports are always updated etc. Maybe its neurosis, but it is what it is.

  14. This is silly. Professor Cole is right about the ad campaign and the demographic anxieties reflected therein (about Israelis Jews, and Israeli Palestinians, and ultra-orthodox Jews, and Ashkenazi elites).

    But the majority of respondents to his post do not appear to be talking about real people, just a caricature, and a crude one that does not reflect a single human face. In doing so, they fail compeletly to understand one part of the motor driving Israeli culture and the I/P conflict. They remind me of rightwingers blathering on about Arabs, or Palestinians, or Muslims, so I guess this puts them in some not so-very-good company.

    About the offensive ad campaign, I think Pr. Cole might be wrong about one small thing. Israeli expats, at least in NY, tend to create very warm and insular communities. Some or many of them often seem not to integrate very well with American Jews, even in places where they do in fact mix. Largely this may have to do with the fact that most Israeli emigres tend to be uninterested in religion, and do not feel part of or interested in the social club that is the American Jewish community. There’s that thing called the internet. People skype home. People get homesick. They miss the human fabric. They want to be close to parents or to old freinds. Job opportunities open up. People move back and forth. It’s interesting to note that many of their children maintain strong devotion to Israel, speaking Hebrew, returning to serve in the army, etc, etc. New York City newstands are full of almost all the major Israeli newspapers and some general interest magazines. These things are fluid, not COMA-tose at all.

    In that respect, and in that respect alone, the creators of the ad probably understood a large part of their target audience. That they could not anticipate the bigger blowblack suggests a complete failure to understand the American Jewish community. This also is an old story, the failure of Israelis and Israeli elites (and now Russian Israeli Jews) to understand the human face of the American Jewish community. I’m very happy they got called on it.

  15. Some basic realities …

    – For probably the next decade, Israel will be a combat zone with low grade war 24/7 with occasional flare-ups.

    – As Juan notes, the non-Jews in the west bank and Gaza are NOT going anywhere. The problem will just continue to fester until Israel is forced to absorb them as full citizens (two states is no longer possible unless Israel gets a leader with sufficient political and military power to forcibly remove half a million Jewish settlers from the WB).

    – Global Peak Oil will happen and will change the balance of power in the ME and make Israel much poorer.

    – Jews can be and are very successful and safe all over the world.

    The bottom line is when a Jewish person rationally looks at where they can have the best life, Israel rapidly drops to the bottom of the list. This is why more and more Jews do NOT live in Israel. The things they give up to be in the mythical land are just not worth it.

    • Spyguy-
      Your statistics are wrong. Israel is the only country in the world where the Jewish population is growing. The Jewish birthrate there has grown in recent years.
      Thus, your statement “more and more Jews don’t live in Israel” is incorrect. The percentage of world Jewry living in Israel is continually increaseing and is approaching 50% now.
      You say “Jews can be successful and safe all around the world”. I am sure you are aware that was not always the case, and in fact, in recent history it certainly wasn’t true. Even if it is true today, can you promise that this will remain the situation indefinitely?

  16. I am amazed at the suggestion that Israel will inherit, or be forced to absorb, the West Bank and Gazan Palestinians. Inherit how, from whom? Forced how, by whom? And for sure, the Palestinians would also need to be forced.

    No, the only solution to preserve Israel as a Jewish state, and satisfy the aspirations of the Palestinians, involves two states, as Olmert realised. The settlers are, of course, a big problem, but equal land swaps around the pre-67 borders could already put some big settlement blocks within Israel. A boundary commission, with a tough independent chairman with a remit to examine security, water, resources and transportation, and also the views of existing residents, could, hopefully, come up with a line acceptable to both parties.

    • It is no longer plausible. The Israeli squatters have gobbled up the West Bank. It is over.

      We face decades of Apartheid and statelessness, growing tension and boycotts and likely ultimately a one state solution.

      A third of Palestinians would take that desl today.

      • Indeed – and why Bibi, Obama, Hillary and the Dennis Ross’s and other people who demand resumption of the “peace process” don’t admit to that is criminal. Bibi, one can understand: it’s been a charade all along, playing for time until the absorption of the West Bank is complete. That our Nobel Prize-winner president put politics over justice and played his own part in the charade may have been practical in re-election terms, but no less disgraceful for it.

  17. Juan

    Can you give us some real population statistics of Israel:

    How many actual people actually reside in Israel proper. How many Jews, Palestinians and others. How many Palestinians, Jews and others in the West Bank. How many Palestinians in Gaza.

    Lets not consider overseas Israeli or Palestinian emigrants.
    If we consider these then we should also consider the Palestinians in refugee camps.

    • The Israel Census Bureau report to which I linked purports to concern residents of Israel. Ian Lustick charges that they double count West Bank settlers. Others have wondered whether they are counting people who have actually moved abroad.

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