Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Taxonomy of Jews

(fm the BC thread "Sixteen inch Typeface")

The American Jewish community is divided between three groups;
1. the descendants of the great immigration waves from before 1960,
2. those who left Eastern Europe and the (former) Soviet Union after 1974,
3. Israelis who have relocated to America

The first group are overwhelmingly tied to the Democratic Party except for a small intellectual cadre of Neocons who originally were former Leftists. These are the Jews who are well represented in the learned professions, theater, teaching, government work and entrepreneurial industries such as retailing and schmattas, the rag trade. They built the now fading branches of Conservative and Reform Judaism, along with Reconstructionism. Some, mostly descendants of German Jews, remained Orthodox but have not generally absorbed newer arrivals from further East. Their grandchildren have tended strongly towards secularism, assimilation and intermarriage. While criminal elements arose in the early immigrant experience, think of Meyer Lansky and Murder Incorporated, and can still arise, think of Bernard Madoff, as a group they have been highly law abiding and rarely use let alone abuse welfare and other social services.

The second group are more complex. Their general approach, scarred by experience in hostile socialist societies, is cynical. They may reject the Democrats but they may also join it as a means of controlling and associating themselves with what they see as the source of power. Social and political interaction is strongly based on the local Orthodox religious synagogue unit. They will avail themselves of every possible benefit and loophole available for personal gain with an assumption that any inquiry that is not backed by immediate coercive force can be ignored. These are people seen wearing silks and furs shopping with food stamps and then buying caviar with cash.

The third group can consist of various subgroups reflecting the divisions within Israeli society. All identify with Orthodox Judaism although the descendants of the founding Sabras are highly secularized. They as with their American counterparts in group one tend to be politically liberal. Descendants of refugees from Arab countries and Iran tend to be more conservative. Those who came to Israel after the US, with the "Jackson-Vanik Amendment" of 1974, pressured the Soviet Union to release the refuseniks are more like group two as described above but may, and this is highly anecdotal, tend to be more actively politically conservative.

In the meantime consider this tweet from the Israeli foreign minister:
Members of flotilla heard shouting: khaybar khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad Sawfa Ya'ud - זיכרו את ח'יבר, יהודים,...

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