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‘$1 million prize intended to fight assimilation’

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on 44 Comments

High stakes. The headline is from The New York Jewish Week:

The Genesis Prize, touted as a “Jewish Nobel Prize” and worth $1 million, was announced Tuesday in a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that included Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky and Genesis Philanthropy Group founder Mikhail Fridman.

…In a phone interview from Israel on Tuesday, Sharansky told The Jewish Week that the prize was two years in the making and is intended to emphasize that people do not have to choose “between universal values and our tribal values.”…

“We consider ourselves as global citizens and see [the need to fight assimilation] as a global issue for the Jewish People,” [Genesis CEO Stan] Polovets said.

P.S. Dennis Ross, the former peace negotiator for the White House, is past and present co-chair of the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem, which also opposes assimilation. For instance, in this publication:

Develop new approaches to limit the erosive effects of assimilation and intermarriage.

And in this mandate:

and reducing obstacles that interfere with the birth of a third and fourth child in Israeli families and developing conditions that may facilitate Jewish family growth in both Israel and the Diaspora.

The Jewish family growth in Israel is specifically aimed at keeping Muslim and Christian numbers low there. Imagine a White House official with links to an organization that speaks about promoting Christian birthrate. Would he last?

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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44 Responses

  1. Shmuel
    June 28, 2012, 11:45 am

    [T]he award … could go to anyone from a scientist to a human rights activist to a Hollywood actor who “creates some great film that wins the Oscar and is an active member of the Jewish community” and supports Israel.

    Damn. I was going to nominate Phil Weiss.

    • OlegR
      June 28, 2012, 11:55 am

      לקקן

      • Shmuel
        June 28, 2012, 12:19 pm

        לא רע, אבל שלי יותר מצחיק

      • Dan Crowther
        June 28, 2012, 12:57 pm

        שמואל מנצחת

      • OlegR
        June 28, 2012, 1:06 pm

        Dan i am pretty sure Shmuel is a guy :)

      • Shmuel
        June 28, 2012, 1:12 pm

        Dan i am pretty sure Shmuel is a guy

        That I am, although I do have my feminine side :-)

      • Dan Crowther
        June 28, 2012, 3:45 pm

        Hahaha Sheee-it. And here I thought I was being clever. see what a trap gender is? :) I thought I had just simply said “Shmuel Wins” – what did I say? I hope nothing inflammatory…..

      • Avi_G.
        June 28, 2012, 7:26 pm

        Dan,

        Did you use an online translation website?

        What you posted in Hebrew was right except you used the feminine version instead of the masculine version of “Wins”.

      • Dan Crowther
        June 28, 2012, 9:49 pm

        Thanks Avi. :)

  2. Kathleen
    June 28, 2012, 11:51 am

    “Develop new approaches to limit the erosive effects of assimilation and intermarriage.” racist!…”erosive”

    great visual up at Prof Cole’s
    Supreme Court declines to take US Health Care in Direction of Sub-Saharan Africa (Map)

    Well, we dodged the bullet of looking like Zimbabwe on this issue. But we still need a single payer system. And the court exempting states from medicaid expansion could leave millions uninsured.
    http://www.juancole.com/2012/06/supreme-court-set-to-take-us-health-care-in-direction-of-sub-saharan-africa-map.html

  3. OlegR
    June 28, 2012, 11:55 am

    The Jewish family growth in Israel is specifically aimed
    at giving birth to more children and to at least restoring the Jewish population of the world to it’s numbers prior to 1939.

    And please do tell me how does more Jewish children mean less Muslim or Christian
    children?

    • Light
      June 28, 2012, 12:58 pm

      OlegR, I know it’s hard to grasp some concepts having grown up in countries that consider racist laws normal but governments are supposed to work for the benefit of all citizens living within the country. Promoting more births within a particular ethnic or religious group is inherently discriminatory and morally wrong.

      • OlegR
        June 28, 2012, 1:09 pm

        Even if that group was not so recently subjected to genocide?
        I would consider this an affirmative action for the benefit of the Jewish
        people.

      • Light
        June 28, 2012, 3:42 pm

        By recent you mean 70 years. Does this then also apply the Palestinians who were recently expelled from their homes in Palestine?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        June 28, 2012, 5:42 pm

        Oleg – why not convert several million gentiles (preferably Germans) to Judaism, to make up for the lost Jews in the Holocaust?

        I don’t want to be cynical, but wouldn’t that be an alternative “affirmative action for the benefit of the Jewish people”? – I know, there is a drawback.

      • Hostage
        June 28, 2012, 8:07 pm

        Even if that group was not so recently subjected to genocide?

        Over 60 million people were killed in WWII. Some experts estimate that as many as 262 million people were killed by various governments during the 20th Century. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

        Israel, like the rest of the world, is actually overpopulated and is depleting, borrowing, and stealing resources at an unsustainable rate.

        Many Holocaust survivors passed along their DNA to assimilated Jewish descendants. Those individuals have mass and take-up space in this otherwise overcrowded universe. So they still count toward the 2-per family recommended limit on Jewish offspring. Assimilated Jews can be adapted for use in order fulfillment for Muslims, Christians, Jews, or regular people.

      • dbroncos
        June 29, 2012, 12:07 am

        “Even if that group was not so recently subjected to genocide?”

        Recently? The Holocaust ended nearly 70 years ago. There have been more recent genocidal campaigns: Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, East Timor, Tibet, and the ongoing genocide waged on the Palestinian people. These genocides have been largely forgotten/ingnored whereas the Holocaust is still remembered as if it happened yesterday. Indeed the term genocide has been seemingly been co opted by those who wish to make the term synonomous with the Holocaust – genocide=Holocaust. In fact, the term has an expansive definition which was the intention of the man who put it in circulation and of those who have endeavored to give it meaning.

        From Wikipedia:
        Genocide is defined as “the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group”,[1] though what constitutes enough of a “part” to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars.[2] While a precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”[3].

      • OlegR
        June 29, 2012, 2:11 am

        I prefer the old fashioned way
        it’s much more fun…

      • Taxi
        June 29, 2012, 5:45 am

        oleg,

        Forget your tedious explanation – you guys are better off converting others as apparently israeli men’s sperm count is down by some 40%:
        http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/study-quality-of-israeli-sperm-down-40-in-past-decade-1.275772

        Too much sadism in their daily routine I reckon. Never mind the israeli cuisine is one of the unhealthiest in the world, adding thus to the cause. Also note also that other Mediterranean countries don’t suffer from said low sperm count.

      • seafoid
        June 29, 2012, 6:05 am

        “Israel, like the rest of the world, is actually overpopulated and is depleting, borrowing, and stealing resources at an unsustainable rate.”

        Erez Israel /ahla Filisteen can’t support the current population at current rates of consumption. Zionism and hyper consumerism have been very damaging for the environment- cf the Maccabi Games bridge tragedy, the Dead Sea, the Hula Lake disaster.

        It is all very sad and predictable.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        June 29, 2012, 2:02 pm

        – “Israeli men’s sperm count is down by some 40%:
        link to haaretz.com ”

        The concentration of sperm per cubic centimeter doesn’t matter to the Orthodox. – What matters is the concentration of holiness of the sperm (the semen of Abraham).

      • Shingo
        June 29, 2012, 12:14 am

        Promoting more births within a particular ethnic or religious group is inherently discriminatory and morally wrong.

        It’s also antithetical to democracy and human rights. The energy should be invested in welcoming more people to the Jewish fold, not encouraging more inbreeding.

    • Citizen
      June 28, 2012, 2:17 pm

      Understandable, OlegR, and not without precedent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_of_Honor_of_the_German_Mother

    • American
      June 28, 2012, 6:11 pm

      “The Jewish family growth in Israel is specifically aimed
      at giving birth to more children and to at least restoring the Jewish population of the world to it’s numbers prior to 1939″…Oleg

      Well I doubt you’ll ever make it……you seem determined to wipe yourselves out one way or another.

    • Shingo
      June 29, 2012, 12:17 am

      The Jewish family growth in Israel is specifically aimed
      at giving birth to more children and to at least restoring the Jewish population of the world to it’s numbers prior to 1939.

      In which case, it would be much more effective to do so by facilitating conversion to Judaism. After all, that’s how most Jews became Jews in the first place.

    • edwin
      June 29, 2012, 7:47 am

      The Jewish family growth in Israel is specifically aimed
      at giving birth to more children and to at least restoring the Jewish population of the world to it’s numbers prior to 1939.

      Ah – Judaism is an obligation that weighs on a person’s shoulder like a millstone. Heaven forbid someone have as few children as they please – or even worse marry someone who is not Jewish.

      Given the global increase in Jewish population 2000-2001 of .3% (whatever Jewish means) “restoring” the Jewish population isn’t going to happen very soon. Perhaps if your goal is increasing the numbers, Judaism should start recruiting converts.

      • Hostage
        June 29, 2012, 9:11 am

        Ah – Judaism

        Yes, we’re discussing metaphysics or racism, not reproduction rates. That’s why it’s necessary to employ all of the hocus pocus and flim flam about “assimilation”.

  4. Sin Nombre
    June 28, 2012, 12:06 pm

    “…In a phone interview from Israel on Tuesday, Sharansky told The Jewish Week that the prize was two years in the making and is intended to emphasize that people do not have to choose ‘between universal values and our tribal values.’…

    ‘We consider ourselves as global citizens and see [the need to fight assimilation] as a global issue for the Jewish People,’ [Genesis CEO Stan] Polovets said.’

    Oh my God how fucking precious: “We don’t have to choose between global and tribal, because we have decreed that for us global is tribal, although of course by definition and cosmic truth everyone else must choose not only because by definition tribalism isn’t global, but because we consider everyone’s tribalism but our own to be filthy racism.”

    Special special special. Oh so special.

    So special, they and they alone determine the very meaning of any words and concepts at any particular time and place or in any particular usage.

    Now … how in the world does anyone *in* the world ever expect to have any dealings with such people in good faith or that have any meaning? People who feel that they can attach whatever meanings or exceptions to words and concepts they want, whenever they want?

    Indeed, talk about removing oneself from any trace of “globalism” whatsoever: How much more tribal can you get (in addition to saying that you shouldn’t marry outside your tribe) than saying that you and you alone have the God-like right to define words and concepts differently than all the rest of the globe does?

    What unbelievably stupid, cow-like, inferior species these folks must believe we all are.

    • Charon
      June 29, 2012, 4:06 pm

      Determining the meaning of words….. lawyer’s rhetoric. A closed system based on loose alternate interpretations of words. Politicians and junk scientists use it too.

  5. Dan Crowther
    June 28, 2012, 12:12 pm

    That’s hilarious.

  6. American
    June 28, 2012, 12:18 pm

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-26/russian-billionaires-fund-1-million-jewish-nobel-with-israel.html

    Russian Billionaires Fund $1 Million ‘Jewish Nobel’ in Israel
    By Jake Rudnitsky – Jun 26, 2012 3:34 PM ET
    Mikhail Fridman, a billionaire shareholder in Russia’s Alfa Group, helped create a $1 million“Jewish Nobel Prize” to be awarded annually with the Israeli government.

    The Genesis prize will be awarded for global achievements in various professional fields, the sciences or the arts to highlight the contribution of Jews to world history, according to a statement e-mailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office today.

    “The prize symbolizes Jews’ great contribution in human development and will be a source of pride for young Jews around the world,” Netanyahu said in the statement. ”

    Looks like another PR and self promotion push to me. Aimed at trying to fight the delegitimation of Israel as a Jewish state by promoting Jews. And to try and inspire more Jews tribal identification thru some kind of ego appeal/connection to Jewish accomplishment.

    • piotr
      June 29, 2012, 10:57 am

      That always brings questions like that: why Michael Bloomberg does not date a Jewish girl? For that matter, one should check tabloid stories on Russian tycoons like Fridman. Sometimes they pay attention to superficial characteristics like good looks (I checked only Abramovich and Berezovsky). Fridman himself seems to be a highly eligible “bachelor from recycling”.

  7. yourstruly
    June 28, 2012, 12:20 pm

    “people do not have to choose between universal values and our tribal values” and “we consider ourselves as global citizens”?

    but would a global citizen occupy someone’s else’s homeland? or is that one of the tribal values that fighting assimilation is supposed to preserve?

    • ColinWright
      June 29, 2012, 12:11 am

      Well, almost every statement an Israeli or a supporter of Israel makes is a falsehood of some kind.

      They really do seem to prize lying: maybe they should offer a prize for that. Perhaps needless to say, it could be called the ‘Truth Award.’

  8. American
    June 28, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Hmmm….then again maybe Nobel preferences are changing so they think they need a separate award system to overcome it. I don’t put much store in Nobels anyway, Obama’s peace prize is a example of the Nobel committee, a Nobel for just a speech? Even in science, if you give someone enough research money and enough time to screw around with their theories and experiments they will eventually hit on something if they’re not total idiots. Frequently it doesn’t even pertain to their original theory, some of the biggest discoveries have been stumbled by accident while pursuing something entirely different.
    Anyway as I said on here before the Asians are coming to the fore in a lot of areas.
    Since the US doesn’t invest the money and promote research like it use to it stands to reason we will fall behind.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/01/nobel-prizes-asian-scientists-us
    Nobel prizes: Asian scientists set to topple America’s run of wins
    Although US is predicted to clean up this year, its 50-year dominance will end, say analysts

    American scientists will again sweep the majority of Nobel prizes at this week’s award announcements in Sweden, analysts have predicted. But they have also warned this dominance may soon come to an end.
    David Pendlebury, a citation analyst who has correctly predicted 10 Nobel winners since 2002, believes that the countries of the east, particularly China, will soon start to rule the awards for science’s greatest prize.
    “In the first half of the 20th century the UK, Germany, and France dominated the sciences. The US emerged as the world leader after the second world war. Now, I believe we will begin to see as many Nobel prize winners from Asia as we do from the US and Europe.” Pendlebury, who works for Thomson Reuters, was speaking on the eve of the announcement of this year’s awards. The prize for medicine will be revealed tomorrow; physics on Tuesday and chemistry on Wednesday. The peace prize will be announced on Thursday; economics next Monday; and literature later this month. A maximum of three individuals will be allowed to share a Nobel, with each prize being worth around £1m.
    Over the past 10 years, 31 out of the 76 individuals who won science Nobels were American-based while 16 out of the 21 economics winners were from the US. By contrast, Britain – a nation with a fair Nobel reputation – won eight physiology prizes, one for physics and one for economics. These overall figures are open to wide interpretation, however. Many winners hold joint nationalities and are often claimed by both their country of origin and their country of affiliation.
    Nevertheless, the figures do give a general indication of the gulf that separates the US from the rest of the world, one that is likely to continue this year according to Pendlebury. He has tipped a number of US teams as possible winners including Robert Langer and Joseph Vacanti, both based in Boston, for their work on tissue engineering; Sajeev John (Toronto, Canada) and Eli Yablonovitch (Berkeley, California) for work on photonics; and Allen Bard (Austin, Texas) for his work on scanning electrochemical microscopy.
    Pendlebury cautioned care about betting on his predictions, however. “If you only consider the top 0.1% of the most cited scientists in the world, that includes more than 1,000 researchers,” added Pendlebury. “You can narrow it down but it gets harder and harder to differentiate their contributions. In the end, it rests with the individual preferences of Nobel committee members. Nobels are currently dominated by US scientists. However, US investment in the physical sciences is no longer as robust as its investment in biological and medical sciences, so I think in the next decade or so we will begin to see many more Nobel Prize winners from Asia.”

    • ColinWright
      June 29, 2012, 12:09 am

      “…Over the past 10 years, 31 out of the 76 individuals who won science Nobels were American-based…”

      Mildly amusing. As it happens, I am convinced genetic differences are genuine — but can we use this to argue Americans are inherently more intelligent than other nationalities? Other evidence notwithstanding…

      • American
        June 29, 2012, 11:09 am

        “can we use this to argue Americans are inherently more intelligent than other nationalities? Other evidence notwithstanding…”…Colin

        LOL…I don’t think so.
        When doing a bit of research on the Nobels I saw that in science some of the awards are given for ‘theories”, something not even proven yet..and also a good bit of the time the ‘discoveries’ Nobels have been given for are the ‘tail end’ of some research, iow, years of research begun by someone different or some different group years or even decades earlier that someone “built on” and finally succeeded with.
        Another thing is all kind of nationalities are involved in many research projects in a country, particularly medicine, they go to where the money is for grants and where the work is being done. In the US there are French, German, Swiss, Indian, science and medical researchers from all over the world, either working together or individually on some project.

  9. Nevada Ned
    June 28, 2012, 2:18 pm

    If some people want to discourage intermarriage in the US between Jews and gentiles, they’re taking on an impossible task. The decline of anti-Semitism has meant that the daily life of American Jews does not differ very much from the lives of their gentile neighbors. That’s why the intermarriage rate is so high. These days, when a American Jew walks down the aisle, it’s to marry a gentile about half of the time.
    The only real way to stop it would be to pass a law forbidding intermarriage.
    Laws like that have been on the books in the US, but not involving Jews. When Obama was born, marriage between blacks and whites were banned in about half of the US states. California also had a law forbidding marriage between whites and asians.

    There is precedent, outside the US, for laws forbidding marriage between Jews and non-Jews: in (Nazi) Germany, the Nuremberg laws (1935). So there is a precedent for the quixotic campaign against intermarriage being waged by Dennis Ross, although I doubt that he welcomes the precedent.
    In recent decades, the Israeli right wingers (I think it was the Kach party, lead by Rabbi Meir Kahane) introduced a bill into the Knesset that would have made sex between a Jew and a non-Jew into a criminal offense. The bill didn’t pass, but it came surprisingly close to passing. (Surprising to me, anyway). Israel is so tightly segregated by race – very different from the US – that there’s hardly any intermarriage.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      June 28, 2012, 5:18 pm

      There is no civil marriage in Israel. Marriage and divorce are at the discretion of the various religious authorities. So a mixed marriage requires conversion (not so easy). Some mixed couples go abroad to marry, usually to Cyprus. And being married doesn’t automatically give people the right to live together.

    • doug
      June 28, 2012, 6:38 pm

      Jewish Israelis that wish to marry non-Jewish Israelis must leave Israel to do so though it is recognized when they return.

  10. Les
    June 28, 2012, 5:14 pm

    The prize will go go the discoverer of the Jewish gene, provided that gene is a distinct trait of white Europeans, no matter that some might have no memory of Jewish ancestors.

  11. ritzl
    June 28, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Without assimilation (isn’t intermarriage assimilation?), Dennis Ross wouldn’t exist.

    Maybe he and the JPPI have a narrow point.

  12. ColinWright
    June 29, 2012, 12:04 am

    ‘[T]he award … could go to anyone from a scientist to a human rights activist to a Hollywood actor who “creates some great film that wins the Oscar and is an active member of the Jewish community” and supports Israel.’

    That last does kinda narrow the field. I’m particularly intrigued by the concept of a ‘human rights activist who supports Israel.’ Sounds kind of like super-heavyweight gymnastics or something.

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