Sunday 3 July 2022

Charlottesville: Jews will not replace us!

Like many on August 11, 2017, I watched the scenes of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, wielding tiki torches while chanting anti-Semitic slogans. An anti-Nazi meme I later saw stated: You don't get to be both a Nazi and a proud American. We literally had a war about this. The whole world was involved.

I was perplexed. It was 2017, 72 years after the end of WWII and the horrors of the Holocaust. Why was anybody bringing this up? The issue had been settled: anti-Semitism bad.

However, the more I thought about it, I had seen a growing number of examples over these past few years of where Jews have been made out to be the go-to group for hatred. Conspiracy theorists loved to formulate all sorts of evil plots around the Jews conquering the world and subjugating all other people. George Soros, being rich, was a well-known target for these tall tales.

I knew that the world population had passed 7.6 billion in 2017 and as of this writing, I've heard the number stands at 7.96 billion. What I didn't know was how many Jews there are in the world. Previously, I had seen pie charts showing the various religions in the world and remembered that the Jewish faith always was part of a very small slice of the pie labelled other. What was the exact number? Was it technically possible for the Jews replace them?

Question: How many Jews are there in the world?

20 million

I fell off my chair. Wait! What? That can't be right. There has to be more of them than that!

I had started with Wikipedia but then moved on to other sources to double check, triple check, and quadruple check that number. I consulted the work of Sergio Della Pegola, an Italian Israeli statistician, specializing in Jewish demography. (World Jewish Population,2020)

As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the "enlarged" Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews. Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million. -Wikipedia

Israel is the number one country with 6.3 million core population and the United States second with 5.7 million. All other countries are measured in less than half a million, most with tens of thousands. (Core = 100% Jewish, no partial connections)

My Background
I grew up in a Protestant family. The family across the street was Jewish. The people up the street were Catholic. Everybody in my neighborhood all seemed to be at the same place in life; all the neighborhood kids were around the same age. We all played together. Adults had cocktail parties together. Every May 24, the entire neighborhood came together to celebrate Victoria Day in Canada in a common park in the center of the neighborhood with Moms dispensing food and Dads lighting off fireworks. My parents went to a bar mitzvah of the Jewish family. I never thought anything of any differences such as religion. It all seemed perfectly normal.

It wasn't until later in life I started running into racism, sexism, antisemitism, etc. These ideas were foreign to me. And perplexing. Just what the heck was the issue? Hate Jews? Why? I couldn't see any justification for such an attitude.

For my entire adult life, Jews have always been around: neighbors, friends, school mates, co-workers, businesspeople, etc. Every major center had a synagogue. For the last 23 years of my career in I.T., I ran the computer department of a small company. One of my best employees was an orthodox Jew who always wore a yarmulka.

It did occur to me that the entertainment industry had its share of Jews. Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld immediately come to mind however, in consulting a list, there are an astounding number of names.

Question: If Jews don't have quantity, do they have visibility?

Although Jews constitute only 3% of the U.S. population, 80% of the nation's professional comedians are Jewish. (Time Magazine, Oct 2/1978)

Wait! What? Hold on here a sec. Why would so many Jews gravitate to such a field?

New York City Psychologist Samuel Janus, who once did a yearlong stint as a stand-up comic, thinks that he has the answer: Jewish humor is born of depression and alienation from the general culture. For Jewish comedians, he told the recent annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, "comedy is a defense mechanism to ward off the aggression and hostility of others." (Time Magazine, Oct 2/1978)

Holy cow!

However, the question of visibility segways into the next question.

Question: Are Jews richer than others?

My father was a dentist. I grew up in an upper middle-class family in an upper middle-class neighborhood. In my own life, I lived in an upper middle class tax bracket. If my impression is that I've always run into Jews, is there a correlation with income?

The median income of the United States in 2020 was around $67,000. (

A study in the United States (based on data from 1985 to 1998), conducted by the sociologist Lisa A. Keister and published in the Social Forces journal, found that adherents of Judaism and Episcopalianism accumulated the most wealth, believers in Catholicism and mainline Protestants were in the middle, while conservative Protestants accumulated the least; in general, people who attend religious services accumulated more wealth than those who do not (taking into account variations of education and other factors). Keister suggested that wealth accumulation is shaped by family processes. According to the study, the median net worth of people believing in Judaism is calculated at 150,890 USD, while the median net worth of conservative Protestants (including Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists) was US$26,200. -Wikipedia: Wealth and religion

The same article has an interesting explanation for this income gap: A study published in the American Journal of Sociology by Lisa Keister, found that "wealth affects religion indirectly through educational attainment, fertility, and female labor force participation" but also found some evidence of direct effects of religion on wealth attainment. Keister notes that certain religious beliefs ("one should have many children", "women should not work") lower wealth accumulation, both on the micro- and macro-scale.

I have to assume that being richer means more important types of work, positions with more power, more authority, and hence, more visibility.

Question: Why are Jews seemingly always picked on?

To understand why anti-Semitic rhetoric is so common among modern conspiracy theorists, we need to go back over 2,000 years. Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University historian and leading expert on anti-Semitism, traces the structure of anti-Semitic ideas back to the very origins of Christianity — specifically, the New Testament description of Jesus’s death.

The early Church taught that “the Jews” conspired to kill Jesus — even though Jesus and his apostles were all Jewish and the Romans who actually executed him in the story were not. This, according to Lipstadt, was in part a strategic choice: Christianity had become a competing religion to Judaism, and its leadership wanted to marginalize the older, more deeply rooted tradition. What better way to do that than to blame Jews for killing the literal savior, casting remaining Jews as Christ-denying heirs to a dark conspiracy?

(Marjorie Taylor Greene’s space laser and the age-old problem of blaming the Jews, Vox, Jan 30/2022)

As I said above, I've always lived with Jews around. I do not understand hatred for them. But I also have to note that I have always been less religious than others. In fact, I would never say I'm Protestant, even though I was supposedly raised as one, and today, I declare myself to be agnostic. Does my lack of religion mean I may have been less influenced by Christianity and potential anti-Semitism?

It's curious to see that Pew Research reports that Jews in U.S. are far less religious than Christians and Americans overall:

12% of U.S. Jewish adults say they attend religious services weekly or more often, compared with 27% of the general public and 38% of U.S. Christians. And 21% of Jewish adults say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 41% of U.S. adults overall and 57% of Christians.

Final Word
I can summarize my findings as follows:
  • There are approximately 20 million Jews out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, representing 0.025% of the global population.
  • While Jews are throughout the world, the two major countries for Jewish populations are Israel (6.3 million) followed by the United States (5.7 million).
  • In the United States, Jews are wealthier than average.
  • Because of their higher income, Jews tend to be in professional positions, implying more visibility in society, and potentially with more influence.
  • Anti-Semitism seems to have its origins in Christianity.
I'm impressed. I stand back and look at the big picture, studying the statistics, and conclude there is something about the Jewish faith which makes them work harder and achieve more. While numerically, they can't replace everybody, they may seem to be everywhere. Certainly, their involvement in the entertainment industry is astounding.

I'm also angry. Over the past ten years in writing this blog, researching articles, trying to determine "the truth", I have constantly run into people voicing opinions which have no basis in reality. Two plus two does not equal five. The Earth is not flat. These people do no research on their own but merely parrot things said by others. It's not about the truth; it's about confirmation bias. And the Dunning-Kruger Effect is on full display. I'm not a genius. I don't know everything. But somehow my critical thinking, my bullsh*t detector ofttimes leads me to question statements made by people, whether in person or in social media. Is such and such really true? Where's the evidence? It's pretty much given that the Right, conservatives, Republicans, and Christian Evangelicals will say things but be unable to prove them. I'm willing to discuss any topic but please, for the love of God, quit telling me I'm a sheeple and that I should look it up, because when I do, I find out you're full of sh*t! I am outraged by the sheer tsunami of unprovable conspiracy theories blindly repeated by people displaying a level of stupidity which defies belief.

I read several articles about Peter Cytanovic, the 20-year-old man in the picture above. He got himself into a lot of P.R. trouble over this picture making him the face of white supremacy. He claims to have denounced the movement but still spouts white nationalistic ideas. If you're white and think your race needs defending, you need to reassess your worldview. We in North American have always lived in a white-dominated culture. Don't tell me you're hard done by. Reverse racism, my ass!

Charlottesville: Jews will not replace you? Fuck off!


Wikipedia: Unite the Right rally
The Unite the Right rally was a white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, from August 11 to 12, 2017. Far-right groups participated, including self-identified members of the alt-right, neo-Confederates, neo-fascists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and various right-wing militias. Some groups chanted racist and antisemitic slogans and carried weapons, Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols, the Valknut, Confederate battle flags, Deus vult crosses, flags, and other symbols of various past and present anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic groups. The organizers' stated goals included the unification of the American white nationalist movement and opposing the proposed removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville's former Lee Park.

Wikipedia: Charlottesville car attack
The Charlottesville car attack was a white supremacist terrorist attack perpetrated on August 12, 2017, when James Alex Fields, Jr. deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, murdering one person and injuring 35. 20-year-old Fields had previously espoused neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs, and drove from Ohio to attend the rally. He was convicted in a state court for the first-degree murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, eight counts of malicious wounding, and hit and run, and was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 419 years in July 2019. He also pled guilty to 29 of 30 federal hate crime charges to avoid the death penalty, which resulted in another life sentence handed down in June 2019.

UnHerd: Should we forgive extremists? - April 20/2022
On August 11, 2017, [Peter] Cytanovic [,a 20-year-old student at the University of Nevada in Reno] travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to attend the Unite the Right rally, a gathering of white nationalists including Klu Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. As night fell, the angry crowd marched and chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Cytanovic was in the thick of it, holding a tiki-torch aloft as he screamed at counter-protesters. A photographer captured the moment. Soon, his picture was everywhere. “I was the face of white terror,” he tells me.

Wikipedia: Jewish population by country
As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the "enlarged" Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews. Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million.


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