Below is a recent is e-mail exchange that I thought interesting. I include it here for your contemplation and consideration.
From: David W.
Sent: Monday, September 07, 2009 5:20 AM
To: ‘Mike H’
Subject: Pretty Depressing, and Fulfilling of a Stereotype
Apparently, Michael, the Israelis would disapprove of your marriage and “assimilation”.
I’ve long held the believe (feel free to offer criticism) that it is and has long been the Jews’ collective refusal to assimilate into the cultures of other nations with the consequence that they become viewed at best as ethnic enclavists and at worst as dangerous outsiders that has prepared the ground for their persecutions. Now, I see that anti-assimilation is openly advocated.
I’m reasonably confident that this is at least in part due to the demographic time bomb that will in the decades to come engulf Israel as the Arab reproduction rates far exceed that of the Israelis. Likewise, the trend of emigration from Israel to, well, elsewhere has proven unstoppable. But to tell Jews outside of Israel to marry only Jews and this so as to make them more inclined to move to Israel seems at best unworkable and at worst an uncovering of deeply-rooted Israeli fears.
Ah yes, Miscegenation: It’s not just for ignorant, racist Southern whites anymore.
But to be fair, it never has been. Most ethnic and religious groups (whites, blacks, Chinese, native Americans, Europeans, Muslims, etc., etc.) prefer that their children marry within their group. In some cultures, a child can be killed — legally — for marrying or even dating an ‘outsider’.
Among Jews, since we’re singling out this group, there have always been ‘purists’ and ‘assimilationists’. One of the ironies of Hitler’s “Final Solution” is that the great majority of Jews that were rounded up and exterminated were ‘assimilated’ Jews who considered their German-ness (or Polish-ness, or whatever-ness) as a bigger factor in their lives than their Judaism. Many were no more religious than me, which is really really non-religious.
Israel has real demographic birthrate concerns, and their concerns are legitimate in the context of their country’s theo-democratic identity. Israel is not, after all, a secular democracy. In some ways, it’s as theocratic as many Muslim countries. The difference is that the government is a Parliamentary democracy, and the people making and changing laws are at least democratically elected. Israel also has an odd system of representation (I’ve read) which allows tiny ultra-religious parties to have disproportionate power.
Here, of course, we call them Republicans.
A voiceover asks anyone who “knows a young Jew living abroad” to call the hotline. “Together, we will strengthen their connection to Israel, so that we don’t lose them.
— Article Excerpt
Well, at least that leaves me out. I passed that ‘young Jew” designation about 20 years ago. ;)