Monday, June 14, 2010

Settlers are not all from Brooklyn! (Zvi)

Zvi comments on my posting on Elanor Clift's ignorance:

Mizrachi Jews (Jews from Arab or Muslim countries) make up 52-54% of the Israeli Jewish population. This is a much, much larger group than Jews from the entire western hemisphere, much less Brooklyn.

[Possibly much] more than 1/4 of all Israelis today have multi-ethnic parents and that this trend is increasing over time (a plot of the data would probably resemble an S curve). While this statistic does not seem to be available for settlement towns in particular, this statistic is extremely unlikely to be radically different in, say, Maale Adumim, than it is in the rest of Israel.  
Settlers all from Brooklyn?  
"Settlers" in particular are not a homogeneous group. Neither are settlements. The media knowingly and unknowingly distort the image of settlers. Hard-line settlers with American origins make the most "interesting" interview candidates for foreign TV. This may, in part, drive perceptions of settlers. A news crew is not going to interview a mother of Yemeni descent who speaks no English at all if there is an American who speaks perfect English in the room, especially if he "looks the part" of a settler (e.g. he's wearing a kippah, which as all veteran news watchers know, means he's an extremist << ----- SARCASM ALERT). And if he's an American Israeli, and he's wearing a kippah, what are the odds that he has a New York accent? They're a little better than the odds that he sounds as though he's from Nebraska.

Also, the media tends to define "settler" tendencies based on the extremists rather than the vast majority of law-abiding Israelis - Kahanists on the fringe of the Kfar Tapuach population rather than mainstream residents of Maale Adumim. Case in point: we know that a lot of West Bank Arabs work or study in settlements, and that this has contributed to the economic growth of the West Bank. The number of cases in which West Bank Arabs are assaulted by fringe groups within settlements is vanishingly small. But the media portrays settlers as fringe radicals who go around beating up women, burning mosques and cutting own Arab owned olive trees. "Human rights" groups push this agenda and put out press releases every time an incident occurs. They don't refer to "unknown assailants" or "people from Kfar Tapuach" (I don't mean to pick on Tapuach here) but rather use the generic term "settlers" because this jibes  with their political agenda. The "human rights" groups craft a perception that is very inconsistent with the reality. The media eat it up.

Where have we seen this recently... ?

One thing that you can say about "settlers" as a whole is that they are people who, for various reasons, are willing to move to a new town and make a life there. Most are just young families trying to buy a home, as opposed to radicals. The electoral results for Maale Adumim show that most "settlers" from Maale Adumim vote for mainstream Israeli parties instead of voting for fringe parties or ethnic parties. The security agenda pushes them to the right.

Also, the average age in "settlement" towns is relatively low. Based on the lack of voting for fringe parties, this tendency is not the result of an ideology. It is simply the result of the fact that settlers are usually young families.

If there were vast demographic gulfs between settlers and other Israelis, Israelis themselves would be widely discussing radical differences between the demographics of the "settlement" towns and those of Israel. And they're not.

The media single out Jewish settlers for blame and ignore Arab settlers who are MUCH more intransigent.

And of course it is important to remember that a percentage of Arabs living in Israel, the WB and Gaza, as well as those who are regarded as "Palestinian refugees" by the UN, are likewise descended from people who moved to the area during the last 100 years from some of the same countries and squatted illegally on government-owned land, which they now claim as "theirs" because they have the keys to houses that were built illegally. Helen Thomas and her supporters don't appear to believe that these people should go home to their countries of origin. Only the Jews are supposed to leave, or die.