Sydney Levy writes for Jewish Voice for Peace and argues against the issue of Israel facing a “demographic threat” from Arabs discussed here at the J Street conference. That’s called racism, peoples:
The Palestinians are of course non-players in this Jewish democratic drama. At most, they are a threat just for being there. At best, they are a minority that we must keep under demographic control.
Oh, but the Palestinians are playing their part well. You see, in the 1960’s Palestinians had an average of nine children per family. Now they only have four. (Phew).
Four children is a lot, but nine is a lot more, explains the kind demographer in case we cold not do the math. Audience laughs.
Now, I am Jewish and I am also a Latino man living in California–a state where we have a pluralistic demographic composition: not one group, not even non-Latino whites, amount to 50% of the population. If I were to hear white people bemoaning the demographic threat that the rise of people of color in the state represents, I would call it like it is, and that is racism, pure and simple. I have no use for the phrase demographic threat. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a sharp pain in my gut.
What we say matters a lot; that’s what we were told in this workshop. If we need to use racism to message ourselves as Pro-Israel pro-peace, there is something very wrong here.
Is this the best J Street can come up with?