America’s Multiracial Baby Boom, Coming to Israel…Ever?
The NY Times reported this week on a rising demographic phenomenon in American life: multiracialism. One in seven new marriages in the U.S. in 2009 involved members of different races. Multiracial Americans are one the fastest growing groups:
Many young adults of mixed backgrounds are rejecting the color lines that have defined Americans for generations in favor of a much more fluid sense of identity…
They are also using the strength in their growing numbers to affirm roots that were once portrayed as tragic or pitiable.
“I think it’s really important to acknowledge who you are and everything that makes you that,” said [Laura] Wood.
…Optimists say the blending of the races is a step toward transcending race, to a place where America is free of bigotry, prejudice and programs like affirmative action.
Warren Olney’s To the Point covered this story today. A pollster noted that 80-90% of Americans under the age of 30 would have no problem with a close family member marrying someone of another race. Among those 65 or older the level of acceptance was 30%.
This reminded me of a shattering annual survey of Israeli attitudes toward democracy. 46% of Israelis said they would not want to live next door to an Israeli Palestinian. The numbers were only slightly better when you substituted “gay,” “mentally ill,” or “foreign worker.” You can imagine what the number would’ve been had the question asked about a child marrying an “Arab.”
In this country, imperfect as race relations may be, you can see things are generally moving in a positive direction. In Israel, not so much. I don’t recall poll results broken down by age, nor do I recall a specific question about multi-ethnic or biracial couples, but I’d be willing to bet that there is only marginally more acceptance among young Israelis than old of this phenomenon.
And let’s not forget the learned rabbis shreying about assimilation when Arab men steal ‘our women’ and take them back to the village where they’ll be victimized, assaulted, and brainwashed in the ways of Islam. Not to mention all the “Ahmed ben Sarah” babies they’ll be producing.
While I am proud of my Jewish identity, you have to face the fact that if you want Israel truly to thrive there must be lots more Ahmed ben Sarahs. One of the best ways for Israeli Jews to understand their fellow Palestinian citizens is for their children to marry each other. But think about what such couples face in contemporary Israel. Something like the ostracism and outrage that greeted mixed race couples in America in the 1960s.
And let’s face the issue of bi-racialism. Will it harm Jewish or Palestinian identity? Why should it? Not to mention: don’t we want an “Israeli identity” to emerge just as much or more than a purely Jewish or Palestinian one? It is a fatal error to conflate “Israel” with “Jewish.” It is and must be both.
If this troubles you overly or you’re geshreying about the end of the Jewish race, then you must face the fact that Palestinians can have little place in your vision of Israel. Might as well send them away (transfer) as Abraham did Hagar and Ishmael.
Israel and its supporters in the Diaspora must learn to walk the democratic walk and talk the democratic talk. Otherwise, it’s just window dressing.
11 thoughts on “America’s Multiracial Baby Boom, Coming to Israel…Ever? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Everyone who is “progressive” like you is always praising “Ahmed Ben Sarah”. Why don’t you mention “Yaakov Ben Ahmed”? I am sure the Arabs would welcome their women marrying Jewish men. I can’t understand why Arabs don’t encourage their women to marry Jewish or Christian men. I suggest you ask your Arab readers if they would welcome more marriages of this sort.
You’ve just done so. Let’s see what they’ll say.
What you don’t seem to understand is that many Arabs are secular & likely won’t give a flying fig what marital choices other Arabs make. And even those who are religious, if they are tolerant, probably won’t much care.
You seem to project the intolerance of the religious-nationalist community onto all Arabs. Which tells us more about you than about Arabs.
@ bar kochba)
“I can’t understand why Arabs don’t encourage their women to marry Jewish or Christian men.”
Wow, another guy who doesn’t know the difference between ‘Arab’ and ‘Muslim’. Millions of Arabs are Christians . .
The division isn’t even that clear-cut, Deir Yassin. I was talking to a Palestinian Muslim woman who is married to an Israeli Jewish man only three days ago. Of course, under Israeli law they can’t live together – she can’t get a permit to move out of the West Bank, and he can’t settle in her hometown. So he’s here illegally. None of the Palestinian men in the town seem to have a problem with him marrying ‘their women’. An interesting use of the possessive there, bar_kochba. Most people here don’t see a woman as a thing to be owned. Do you?
“The division isn’t even that clear-cut, Deïr Yassin”.
I don’t understand your comment, but anyhow I wasn’t making a division, just pointing out a typical mistake of using ‘Arab’ – which is a linguistic and cultural category – with Muslim – which is a purely religious one.
I thought you were pointing out that some Christian Palestinians do intermarry, and I wanted to add that intermarriage happens in the Palestinian Muslim community as well. Bar Kochba’s conflation of ‘Arab’ and ‘Muslim’ passed me by.
Sharia Law forbids Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men, although the opposite is allowed, and by coincidence, that is the “intermarriage direction” that you are advocating. I’m sure you are aware of the all-too-prevalent “family honor killings” of Muslim women who want to marry someone whom their family does not approve which have followed the Muslim immigration to western countries like Europe and the US. Observant Muslims take this prohibition very seriously If you want Jews to assimilate by way of intermarriage, which Jewish law forbids, then you should advocate that Muslims defy their own religion as well. I challenge you to go to your observant Muslim friends and tell them that you want them to advocate going against Sharia Law. I also challenge you to go to your rabbi in your synagogue and have him or her give a talk advocating intermarriage as well.
Strict interpretations of halacha prohibit the same thing. Yet Jews marry non-Jews just as Muslims marry non-Muslims. So what does this prove? That religious law, whether Sharia or halacha, isn’t always the prime determinant in people’s behavior except among the extremely devout. For every honor killing there are probably 100 Muslims who’ve ‘married out’ and done perfectly well, thank you.
If I’ve suggested it would not be a bad idea for Israeli Jews to marry Israeli Palestinians haven’t I done precisely that?
My rabbi’s views aren’t the determining factor for me in how Israel should best integrate Israeli Palestinians into Israeli society. I didn’t say every Israeli Jew should intermarry. Many won’t & that’s just fine. But there needs to be the same process of de-racializing society that is happening here in the U.S. in order to defuse the powder keg of race & ethnicity in Israeli society.
I don’t care who marries who, but I am quite sick of this emphasize on multiculturalism. By emphasizing or celebrating interracial or intercultural marriages, people are only drawing attention to peoples’ differences, which is the polar opposite of what they set out to do. If we want a truly color blind society, we have stop promoting and celebrating intermarriage. I dream of a day when the ethnic origins of a couple are not relevant to their marriage.
How do Israeli Arabs and Palestinians feel about intermarriage?
This is totally cock-eyed.
Even within the mega-group called “Jewish”, there is still plenty of internal racial tension, not to mention animosity. Would a proud Moroccan boy from Ashkelon marry a “Friedman”? Should an umpteenth-generation Sabra ever lay eyes on an Ethiopian beauty without any tsk-tsks? And let’s not forget the whole conversion crisis and how it ties directly with anti-Russian/FSU prejudice.
Jews are a tribal group, so there’s going to be some tribalism.