Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Anti-Semitic Jews ... Who Would Have Thought?

This year was the first year my husband and I sort of celebrated Hanukkah. By sort of I mean we invited some neighbors over to light the first candle, eat latkes and watch Tracy Ullman videos of her imitating a Jewish woman. Ok, so we're not really devout or anything, but it was fun.

To my surprise, when I told one of my close non-practicing Jewish relatives that I had a menorah this year, she retorted "Why would you want one of those?" When I explained that Judaism was part of my heritage and that I wanted my son to be knowledgeable about all parts of his heritage, she told me that she didn't believe that I had a Jewish heritage because neither my grandmother or grandfather had been practicing Jews. She was obviously upset and I couldn't understand why. So I started doing some research to see if I could figure out what could cause her attitude.

I first found the site http://www.adl.org/anti-semitism_survey/... and compared my relative's beliefs with the results of the survey on American anti-Semitism. Apparently anti-Semitism is down overall among Americans but is still elevated among those less-educated (not the case with my relative) or those over 65. Bingo. My relative is in her 80s. Americans of this age group witnessed the formation of Israel with it's early mythic image of a safe haven from religious persecution. They also have lived long enough to see Israel restrict the rights of Arab citizens, mistreat peaceful Palestinian protestors, split into extreme groups that resulted in the assassination of Israeli President Itzhak Rabin by another Jew, and to see the growth of hate politics that has spurred the ugly political atmosphere that exists today. Maybe it's hard to feel proud to be Jewish for some older Americans when they see what they might perceive as Israel's failure. There is a good article on this topic at http://www.business-server.com/nt/specia...

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