Monday, June 26, 2017

The inexorable erosion of Jewish identity in USA

From Caroline Glick, 23 June 2017:


Vilifying Israel on campus

Caroline, refers to two studies of the American Jewish community and its future trajectory.

...The first study was published by the Jewish Agency’s Jewish People Policy Institute. [JPPI] It analyzes the data from the 2013 Pew survey of American Jewish attitudes. The Pew survey demonstrated that the Jewish identity of American Jews is growing increasingly attenuated and superficial.

Famously, the study noted that while 19% of American Jews said that they view observance of Jewish law as an essential part of their Jewish identity, 42% said they viewed having a good sense of humor as an essential part of their Jewish identity.

The JPPI study analyzed the Pew data regarding rates of marriage and childbearing among American Jews aged 24-54. The study started with the data on intermarriage. Sixty percent of non-haredi American Jews are married to non-Jews. A mere 32% of married American Jews are raising their children as Jewish to some degree.

From there, the JPPI study considered marriage and childbirth rates in general. It works out that a mere 50% of American Jews between 24 and 54 are married. And a mere 40% of American Jews between those ages have children living with them. In other words, the majority of adult American Jews are childless.

The JPPI study tells us two important things.

First, in the coming years there will be far fewer American Jews. Second, among those who are Jewish, their Jewish identity will continue to weaken.

Clearly, it would be unwise for Israel to believe that it can depend on such a community to secure its interests in the US for the long haul.

The second study shows that not only can Israel not expect the American Jewish community to help it maintain its alliance with the US. The number of American Jews willing to spearhead anti-Israel campaigns is likely to grow in the coming years.

The second study was produced by Brand Israel, a group of public relations experts that for the past decade has been trying to change the way young Americans think about Israel. The idea was to discuss aspects of Israel that have nothing to do with the Palestinians, with an emphasis on Israel as a hi-tech power. The hope was that by branding Israel as the Start-Up Nation, leftists, who support the Palestinians, would still support Israel.

Fern Oppenheim, one of the leaders of Brand Israel, presented the conclusions of an analysis of the group’s work at the Herzliya Conference this week and discussed them with the media. It works out that the PR campaign backfired.

Far from inspiring increased support for Israel, Oppenheim argued that the hi-tech-centric branding campaign made leftist American Jews even more anti-Israel. She related that over the past decade, there has been an 18-point drop in support for Israel among US Jewish students.

To remedy the situation, which she referred to as “devastating,” Oppenheim recommended changing the conversation from hi-tech to “shared values.”

The problem with Oppenheim’s recommendation is that it ignores the problem.

Young American Jews aren’t turning against Israel because their values are different from Israeli values. By and large, they have the same values as Israeli society. And if they know anything about Israel, they know that their values aren’t in conflict with Israeli values.

Young American Jews are turning on Israel for two reasons. 

First, they don’t care that they are Jewish and as a consequence, see no reason to stick their necks out on Israel’s behalf.

And second... supporting Israel requires them to endanger or relinquish their ideological home on the Left. Since their leftist identities are far stronger than their Jewish identities, young American Jews are joining the BDS mob in increasing numbers.

...The only way to diminish the groundswell of American Jews who are becoming hostile toward Israel is to defeat the forces of political BDS on campuses. To do this, Israel should turn not to the Jewish community but to evangelical Christians, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

As for the American Jews, Israel needs to stop viewing the community as a resource and begin to view it as a community in crisis....
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