Saturday, February 24, 2007

No Jewish Stereotype

On the same day, the New York Times ran a story about how a Jewish family running a junk business in Michigan is educating and broadening the vision of the Protestants managing the business for them, and this IPS article appeared on the internet about how Elliot Abrams is controlling US foreign policy according to Israel's dictates.

The people who actually started the Iraq war were all Anglo Protestants, as far as I know: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Franks, Powell. But behind them, pushing hard were many Jews: Wolfowitz, Feith, Libby, Perle, Adelman, Kristol, Abrams, and others.

The problem is that the Jews appear to reap benefits for Israel, which calls into question their loyalty to the US. Did they want this war because it was good for America or for Israel? Do they believe that America's best interests are always the same as Israel's? Bush's motives, of course, are questionable: Did he take Baghdad and capture Hussein to show up his father? If so, it was his own hangup; he wasn't doing another country's bidding.

Jews can be a power for good when they have a broader vision of the world, but many of those in power in America seem to have a vision that puts Israel first. Sadly the state of Israel has distorted the role of Jews in America. The fact that Israel seems to be more and more corrupt and unjust, both internally and in its foreign affairs, makes this Israel-first policy more harmful to America's image abroad. Israeli officials are on trial for rape and various types of corruption. It's not a state that I would want to be associated with, but Bush, perhaps under Jewish pressure, has remade the US more and more in the image of Israel, instituting torture, violation of human rights, privacy, etc. On the other hand, other Jews -- Senator Feingold for example -- are in the forefront of the movement to protect citizens from these affronts.

I object that Jews do not appear to be pulling their weight in the war in Iraq, unlike World War II, where they did. But in general the war in Iraq is being fought by poor people from small, rural towns, where there aren't many Jews. Wealthy, big city dwellers aren't fighting the war, whether they are Jewish or Christian.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Religion of Veterans

This information about the religion of military service members in 2001 comes from the Population Bulletin for December 2004, page 25. It states that "Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims are underrepresented in the military relative to their share of the civilian population."


When sociologist Morris Janowitz
reported on the social origins of soldiers
in 1960, he was able to identify
general patterns and trends in their
religious affiliation, albeit from fairly
poor data. He found an overwhelmingly
Protestant majority, disproportionately
Episcopalian, but with an
increasing representation of Catholics
and a small percentage of Jews. Soldiers
were less likely to be Catholic
than the general public, but the military
reflected the general range of
religious diversity in America.33
While Janowitz was writing about
the conscription-era military and his
data on religion were weak relative to
other variables, his findings provide a
baseline for studying the religious
affiliation of today’s volunteer military.
There are few comprehensive
statistics on religious affiliation in the
civilian population, in part because
the principle of separation of church
and state precludes federal statistical
programs, such as the decennial census
and current population surveys,
from collecting data on religion. We
do know the civilian American population
has been moving away from
the traditional Christian religions and
toward other religious groups or
eschewing any religious affiliation.34
This latter trend is particularly pronounced
among young adults, exactly
the age groups most likely to enter
the military. In general, the armed
forces show lower religious affiliation
than the civilian population, even
among civilians ages 20 to 39 (see
Table 5). A larger share of military
than civilians reported they are Christians
but are not Roman Catholic/
Eastern Orthodox or Protestant, or
do not specify a denomination. This
category includes such Christian
groups as Mormons, Seventh Day
Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses,
as well as the Christian and Missionary
Alliance, Church of God, Seventh
Day Adventist, and Assemblies of
God. Smaller Protestant groups have
been increasing since the 1960s,
while the older, larger Protestant
denominations such as Presbyterians,
Episcopalians, Lutherans, and
Methodists have declined. But religious
affiliation data are often inconsistent
because of the different ways
the data were collected and analyzed:
Religious affiliation for military personnel
is recorded regularly by the
Department of Defense, while religious
data for civilians is obtained
from surveys such as the results from
the 2002 General Social Survey (GSS)
conducted by the National Opinion
Research Center reported in Table 5.
About one-quarter of the American
population considers itself to be
Roman Catholic, according to the
GSS survey. Catholics are slightly
underrepresented in the armed
forces, as are almost all other traditional
There have been indications of
increasing religious diversity in the
armed forces, including growing
numbers of Muslims.35 However,
Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims are
underrepresented in the military relative
to their share of the civilian
The number of American
military personnel who claimed to be
atheists or to have no religion was
slightly higher than the GSS estimate
for civilians ages 20 to 39, the age
range for about 80 percent of military
personnel. About 11 percent of military
personnel did not provide religious
affiliation data or claimed affiliation
with other religions, almost
four times as high as the GSS data for
the 20-to-39-year-olds. Other recent
surveys also have reported greater
identification with no religion or
other nontraditional religions than
the GSS, but results vary greatly
depending on how data are collected.
Recent data suggest that military personnel
generally have a lower affiliation
with mainstream religious
groups than the general population."

Jews Served in Greater Numbers in World War II

Although the above article indicates that Jews currently serve in the military in numbers smaller than their general share of the American population, they appear to have served in greater numbers in World War II.

A Jewish publication,, states that Jews served in World War II in greater numbers than their portion of the general population. The article says:

"Approximately 550,000 Jewish Americans served in the armed forces during World War II, about 4.23 percent of the total number of troops. Both Roosevelt and General Douglas MacArthur praised their bravery specifically. During the war, 52,000 Jewish soldiers received an award or decoration of some kind and 11,000 were killed."

Another article says:

"When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the United States declared war on Japan and Germany, American Jewish men and women responded to their country's call for the armed forces. More than 550,000 served in the Armed Forces of the United States during World War II. About 11,000 were killed and more than 40,000 were wounded. There were three recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, 157 received the Distinguished Service Medal and Crosses, which included Navy Crosses, and 1,600 were awarded the Silver Star. About 50,242 other decorations. citations and awards were given to Jewish heroes for a total of 52,000 decorations.

"Jews were 3.3 percent of the total American population but they were 4.23 percent of the Armed Forces. About 60 percent of all Jewish physicians in the United States under 45 years of age were in service uniforms."

From a JTA article about Jewish veterans buried in Arlington Cemetery:

"Poch, a conference planner who has made it his hobby -- and mission -- to chronicle the cemetery's Jews, has cataloged the location and history of the 2,500 Jewish dead buried at Arlington.
"Poch, who twice crisscrossed the cemetery's 250,000 graves looking for Jewish veterans, frequently returns to the cemetery with interested Jewish tourists.
"For Poch, who performed two years of non-active, stateside duty during the 1960s, this has become an imperative.
"'There's a myth that Jews don't fight and don't serve,' he said during a recent visit to the cemetery.
"'I want to know who these people were,' he said, pointing to one of many graves he has catalogued."

It's not scientific,but 2,500 Jewish graves of 250,000 total Arlington graves is only 1%, half of the 2% of the population that is Jewish.

However, a page on the Arlington Cemetery web site says there are 1996 Jewish veterans buried there; the other 500 or so are apparently family members of veterans. More than 300,000 people are buried at Arlington, according to the web site. Again, it looks like less than the 2% of the general population.

Another Jewish web site lists 1,633 Jewish veterans of World War II buried in American cemeteries overseas run by the American Battle Monuments Commission, and 519 veterans of World War I. The Commission says its cemeteries hold about 125,000 total war dead. This would be almost the 2% general Jewish population (about 1.7% of graves versus about 2.2% of population).

Jews in Congress

I wondered how many Jews there were in Congress, and then I found this nice list on the Internet from JTA, whatever that is. There are 11 Senators and 26 Congressmen. Here is the list:

U.S. SENATEBarbara Boxer (D-Calif.)Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.)Carl Levin (D-Mich.) *Norm Coleman (R-Minn.)**Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) **Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)Arlen Specter (R-Pa.)Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.)Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.).

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESHoward Berman (D-Calif.)Susan Davis (D-Calif.)Bob Filner (D-Calif.)Jane Harman (D-Calif.)Tom Lantos (D-Calif.)Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)Howard Waxman (D-Calif.)Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.)Robert Wexler (D-Fla.)Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)**Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)Ben Cardin (D-Md.)Barney Frank (D-Mass.)Sander Levin (D-Mich.)Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.)Steve Rothman (D-N.J.)Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.)Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)Steve Israel (D-N.Y.)Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.)Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)Martin Frost (D-Texas)Eric Cantor (R-Va.)Bernard Sanders (Ind-Vt.).

However, my Congressman, Ed Perlmutter, is not there. He is an evangelical Christian, but I read that his parents are both Jews and that they helped his campaign by raising a lot of money from their Jewish friends. So, I'm guessing that there are more members of congress who would be listed if "Jew" were defined more broadly, and because of the sympathy of many perhaps secular Jews for the state of Israel, for my purposes, it should be broadly defined.

Forward counts 13 Senators and 30 Congressmen:

Senate (13)
New Members: Ben Cardin (D-Md.); Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Re-elected: Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.); Herb Kohl (D-Wis.); Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Returning: Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Norm Coleman (R-Minn.); Russell Feingold (D-Wis.); Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.); Carl Levin (D-Mich.); Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.); Arlen Specter (R-Pa.); Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

House (30)
New Members: Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.); Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.); Paul Hodes (D-N.H.); Ron Klein (D-Fla.); Steve Kagen (D-Wis.); John Yarmuth (D-Ky.)
Re-elected: Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.); Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.); Howard Berman (D-Calif.); Eric Cantor (R-Va.); Susan Davis (D-Calif.); Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.); Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.); Bob Filner (D-Calif.); Barney Frank (D-Mass.); Jane Harman (D-Calif.); Steve Israel (D-N.Y.); Tom Lantos (D-Calif.); Sander Levin (D-Mich.); Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.); Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.); Steven Rothman (D-N.J.); Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.); Adam Schiff (D-Calif.); Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.); Brad Sherman (D-Calif.); Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.); Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.); Robert Wexler (D-Fla.).
Gary Trauner, the Democratic nominee for Wyoming’s single House seat, narrowly trailed incumbent Rep. Barbara Cubin at press time, and had not conceded the race.

Jews make up about 2% of the American population. In the Senate, at 13 of 100, they make up 13%. In the House, at 30 of 435, they make up about 7%.

Now, the question for me is how many of these are military veterans, and of those, how many served in combat?

American Jews' Indifference to Holocaust

An op-ed in the New York Times reveals that as World War II approached, American Jews were often indifferent to the fate of European Jews threatened by Hitler's final solution. Jews often blame gentile Americans and Brits for being indifferent to the fate of Jews in Hitler's concentration camps, but new letters found from Anne Frank's father, Otto Frank, pleading for help from American Jews before World War II, show that they were also indifferent.

The op-ed by Daniel Mendelsohn says that Otto Frank's letters were much like his uncle's. He says that a large number of Jewish Americans "found themselves the often helpless objects of poignant entreaties by old friends and relatives trapped in Europe as the cataclysm approached."

Mendelsohn says that after his grandfather died, he found "a cache of desperate letters from an older brother in Poland, written throughout 1939, begging for money, affidavits for visas, anything to save him and his family.... That my grandfather never mentioned this correspondence to us was an indication of the shattering guilt he must have felt at not having been able to help his family. It is a feeling shared by many Jews in America after the war, who are likely to have kept such feelings similarly hidden from their children and grandchildren."

Of course, Mendelsohn expresses his hatred of gentile Americans toward the end of his op-ed, noting: "the appalling failure by the United States to do more for would-be immigrants. (Among other things, Frank's letters are a concrete reminder of the crushing diplomatic obstacles facing would-be immigrants, a fatal Catch-22 that even American diplomats at the time were shamed by.)" The implication is that Jews, who are always looking for a bargain, would have saved their relatives if the US government had set the price for visa processing at something less than $5,000.

The US government has done almost exactly the same thing regarding Iraqi refugees, until recently making it extremely difficult for Iraqis, even Iraqis who have risked their life to help Americans, to come to America (a total of about 400 up to now, according to the Washington Post). The Iraqi deaths come on neighborhood streets, rather than in Auschwitz and other death camps, but the deaths are just as permanent. Where are the Jewish voices lamenting this immigration policy? They criticize Roosevelt for not invading France earlier, which would have caused the deaths of more Christian soldiers, and they are happy to have Christian soldiers dying in Iraq to protect Israel from Iraq and Iran. You didn't, and don't, see a high percentage of Jewish soldiers fighting for Jewish interests in World War II or in Iraq. They only fight in Israel. It would be interesting to compare the number of American Jews fighting in uniform in Iraq and the number of American citizens in uniform in the Israeli military. This information is hard to come by; I think it's because it would show Jewish loyalty to America and to their own relatives in a harsh light, as the Otto Frank letters do.

An earlier NYT news article on the Otto Frank letters says that he wrote to his college friend Nathan Straus, Jr., who was the director of the federal Housing Authority, a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, and the son of a co-owner of Macy's. He had the money and connections to help Otto Frank if he had wanted to.

The latest example in the news of an American fighting for Israel is Michael Oren, the author of Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present. Born in America, with four degrees from American universities, he was a paratrooper in the Israeli army. I don't see anything in his Wikipedia bio about serving in the US army.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Arabs and Jews Can Live Together

For me, an example of how people of different backgrounds can live together is illustrated by Ralph Nader's appearance with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. Nader is Arab; Stewart is Jewish. They are both liberals, but don't agree on everything. Stewart gives Nader a hard time for helping defeat Al Gore. But they do it in a friendly fashion. If people like them could become Americans, and not Arab-Americans or Jewish-Americans or Anglo-Americans, we could be an example to the world.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jews Accuse Liberal Jews of Anti-Semitism

Just for the record, here's a NYT article about internecine fighting between Jews about whether criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism.

The defenders of Israel have to remember that some people, like me, consider the war in Iraq to be a Jew war started on behalf of Israel, which unlike America, was threatened by Saddam Hussein. The fomenters of the war were almost entirely Jewish: Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Krystal, etc. Granted the people who actually went to war -- Bush and Cheney -- were Christian, but I consider them greedy for Jewish money. While Cheney is not stupid, Bush is, and probably did whatever his handlers told him to do, despite his claims to be the Decider. It turns out that Cheney's main adviser on the War, Scooter Libby, who is now on trial. is also Jewish.

Jews are split, as the article says. Senator Feingold is against the war, but Lieberman is a staunch supporter of it.