The Jews Are Going Extinct

Why that’s bad, why it’s coming, and how to stop it.

Posted Feb 21, 2015

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Jews have made outsized contributions to society. For example:

  • Here are some of the well-known Jewish psychologists: Sigmund and Anna Freud, Albert Ellis, Bruno Bettelheim, Erik Erikson, Victor Frankl, Carol Gilligan, Jerome Kagan, Daniel Kahnemann, Lawrence Kohlberg, Abraham Maslow, Stanley Milgram, Ulrich Neisser, Fritz Perls, Steven Pinker, and Martin Seligman.
  • Although Jews are less than 1/5 of 1% of the world’s population, 22% of Nobel Prize winners have been Jewish, including nine winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Jews have been key to the civil rights movement.
  • Israel is the world’s only Jewish state while there are 49 predominantly Muslim countries. And Israel is the Middle East’s most democratic and fair to women, and where you can practice whatever religion or no religion.
  • Israel has the world’s highest per-capita percentage of medical patents, saving countless lives worldwide. For example, Israel scientists have just developed a way to create 3-D holograms of a fetus enabling a thorough medical exam and diagnostic "invasive" tests with complete safety because it's done merely on a hologram. This will not only facilitate diagnosis and treatment of a local fetus but enable high-quality remote surgeries for patients anywhere in the world.
  • Top technology companies (e.g., Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Google) have research centers in Israel.
  • Israel provides free medical care in Africa, Haiti, even Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country. THIS video, although filled with facts as well as still images, brought tears to my eyes.
  • Israel made the world’s largest per-capita contribution to the U.N. fund that is stopping Ebola.  

The Jews are on the road to extinction

Yet the Jewish people’s existence is very much threatened. 83% of the world’s Jews live in just two places: Israel (43%) and the U.S.(40%.)

A Pew study concluded that American Jewry is well on the way to extinction. One reason is the Jews’ high intermarriage rate--It's up to 58 percent, far from the unfair stereotype that Jews are insular.

The threat to Israeli Jews is more external. In the service of Palestinians’ legitimate right to a permanent, safe homeland, they elected as Gaza’s government, Hamas, sworn by charter to Israel’s destruction and viewed by the U.S. and others as a terrorist organization. The people of neighboring Egypt elected Hamas’s sister organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. Then there are similarly inclined terrorist groups: Hezbollah, Al-Aqsa, and Al-Shabaab, not to mention ISIS. Terrorists have blown up Israeli cafes, buses, shopping malls, nightclubs, and bar mitzvahs. And then there is the incessant rain of thousands of rockets. Imagine the psychological impact of living amid that constant terror. Imagine how your children would feel?

Those terrorist groups are strengthened by Iran, whose former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad famously denied the Holocaust and before the U.N. said that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated.” The Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed that Israel must be “annihilated.” Imagine the psychological impact of being a person whose nearby leaders say must be annihilated. And the U.S.'s agreement with Iran is releasing billions of dollars to Iran, which could be used to fund anti-Israel initiatives, including terrorism.

Without a critical mass of Jews in the U.S. and Israel, Jews in other countries are even more likely to intermarry and raise their children not-Jewish.

That trend can only accelerate as Europe, the other major pocket of Jewish population (9%,) is seeing a level of anti-Semitism unthinkable given the lessons of the Holocaust just 70 years ago:

  • A The Economist magazine article, “The Return of Jew Hatred” began, “Toulouse, Brussels, Paris and now Copenhagen. The list of European cities where Jews have lately been murdered for being Jews grows longer.”
  • A Newsweek cover story, “Why Europe’s Jews are Fleeing Once Again” pointed out, for example, that the explicitly pro-Nazi New Dawn Party won 10 percent of the vote in the latest Greek elections and that an “Anti-Defamation League survey of 53,000 adults in 102 countries found that 26% held deeply anti-Semitic attitudes…A survey by the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union found that 29% (of European Jews) had considered emigrating as they did not feel safe.”
  • Deborah Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at Emory University reported that in some European countries, “Children who attend Jewish schools are warned — if not ‘forbidden’ — from wearing anything that would single them out as Jews. No school insignias on the book bags, no school symbols on their jackets, no kippot. Nothing….Young Jews repeatedly spoke of their contemporaries who ‘are going underground.’ Students feel it increasingly uncomfortable to say “I’m Jewish.” 

 Imagine the psychological terror all that is causing.

In sum, it’s likely that the Jewish people will, in this century, become essentially extinct.

What to do?

Reduce the double-standard.

Jews seem to be the only minority that can, without media outrage, be stereotyped. Canada’s Center for Digital and Media Literacy issued a report, the first sentence of which is, “Anti-Semitism is experiencing a modern revival in popular media, not only in Canada but worldwide.” Ronald Lauder, former U.S Ambassador to Austria and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs and currently President of the World Jewish Congress said, “In England, France, and the U.S., we are seeing on TV and in the newspapers a one-sided view…There is this fanning of anti-Semitism.”

Israel is trying to survive, albeit perhaps, like many people, with sometimes too much zeal. With the constant psychological and existential threats described above, isn't that understandable? To stem the terrorism, Israel retains buffer land between Israel and Syria (West Bank) legally purchased from Arabs and sanctioned by the 1993 Oslo Accords, builds apartment communities (the “settlements”) on 1.7% of the West Bank (See map,) set up checkpoints at the border of the disputed territory to prevent terrorist arms getting smuggled into Israel, and recently held up tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in response to a Palestinian attempt to get Israeli leaders declared war criminals. Israel has not, however, sunk to the tactics of its enemies, for example, placing its forces in residential areas to use civilians as human shields. On the contrary, Israel, before attacking those, notifies civilians to evacuate, even though that means giving away the element of surprise. 

If Canada or Mexico were to do to the U.S. what Israel’s enemies are doing to it, would we not respond at least as assertively?

The Israelis have never murdered newspaper cartoonists despite a steady stream of anti-Semitic cartoons and articles, nor athletes at the Olympics, nor hijacked an airplane and flew it into the World Trade Center, nor educated their children to so hate Israelis that they’re willing to blow themselves up to kill Israeli people. Nor have the Israelis called for “death to the infidels,” that is, anyone who isn’t a fundamentalist Muslim, let alone beheaded them or paraded them in cages before burning them alive.

Even after the Holocaust, the survivors did not turn to violence. As Elie Wiesel said in a speech to children of its survivors, “That your parents…did not yield to impulses to commit violence remains an astonishment…Had they set fire to the entire planet, it would not have surprised anyone.” But they didn’t. Instead of being violent, the survivors rebuilt, made responsible lives for themselves and their children. mainly in the U.S. and Israel. The children, as Thane Rosenbaum wrote in God, Faith, and Identity from the Ashes, “for the most part were measured and disciplined in their pursuits, buying into all the promise and possibilities of civilization like Black Friday consumers on the hunt for bargains.”

Yet significant elements in the media treat Israel with a double standard. They pay more attention to Israel’s security fence and apartment communities than, for example, the rampant unspeakable violence throughout much of Africa—from mass kidnappings to macheteings to clitorectomies.

The BDS-Israel movement—boycott, divest, sanction—is accelerating Israel’s and the Jews' demise. That sliver of Biblically-Jewish desert was allocated to the Jews by no less than the United Nations after the Holocaust as a safe haven against centuries of attempts to obliterate the Jewish people—from the ancient Romans to the Inquisition to the Pogroms to the Holocaust to today’s double-standard, perhaps borne in part of jealousy of the Jewish people’s outsized contributions.

Society encourages most groups to express pride: in writings, public celebrations, etc. There are endless events and media celebrating Blacks, Latinos, women, LGBTs, etc. When was the last time you heard of a Jewish-pride event. Affinity groups focus on their group’s contributions and on advocating for their group. But many Jewish groups focus on The Other. For example, here’s the list of coming events for the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco. There’s much celebration of African-Americans and women while Jews are tertiary. In my synagogue, there’s focus on the problems of Africans in Darfur and yes, the Palestinians, and an unabashedly pro-Israel adult-education teacher was fired for “being divisive.”

As a result of all this, many Jews have become embarrassed to support Israel, admit they’re Jewish, practice Judaism, and raise their children Jewish. In light of all their accomplishments relative to their failings, Jews should not be ashamed to be Jewish. Here on PsychologyToday.com, guilt and shame are among the most widely written-about psychological afflictions. Jews have been led to feel more than their share.

Should we not all ask ourselves if we’re holding Jews and Israel to a different standard than we apply to others, including to ourselves?

Create New Israel?

Should we encourage a New Israel? The age-old enmity between Arabs and Jews is more likely to result in more bloodshed than in a permanent peace in the Middle East. In retrospect, it was perhaps foolish to place Israel where it’s surrounded by its long-time enemies.

Rather than the U.S. continuing to give Israel largely military aid, might that money be better spent by subsidizing an Israeli purchase of a New Israel on low-cost land near a major pocket of American Jews, perhaps an Israel-sized sliver of the massive unused land just north of New York City?

Many Israelis will object, for example, asserting that Old Israel is their biblical homeland, which they’ve worked so hard to build. That’s true but the price of continuing to defend it in the face of the differential birth rates, external pressures, and continued commitment of Arab countries and terrorist groups to Israel’s destruction, argues for a U.S.-led worldwide coalition facilitating Israelis’ voluntary migration to a New Israel.

Of course, many Israelis would choose to remain in Old Israel--their practical and psychological connection to their homeland is too strong--but their numbers would be small, mainly older people, and grow ever smaller as the high Arab birth rate demographically buries the Israeli Jews. Old Israel would, with far less bloodshed and cost, quickly become Palestine, while New Israel would soon grow to become a permanently vibrant, physically and psychologically safe haven for the Jews, and facilitate the Jewish people’s continued contributions to the world.

The takeaway

The lack of a safe Israel and our double-standard toward Jews and Israel portend a “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” Will the world be better for it? Hitler thought so.

You can reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at mnemko@comcast.net