Tuesday, April 22

Jewish Intelligence and Race, the debate continues

Jews are an extraordinarily amazing people, the more I read about them, the most amazing I find them and their history. For example, they are admired for their intelligence. We have email after email going around praising them and wanting to copy their intelligence and smartness based upon some weird relationship between being Jews and say Nobel Prize winners or scientists (see here for a previous treatment of this topic). Then we have people who claim that Jews are responsible for Porn. (I got to read it via an email on a yahoogroup - I have it stored, so if you cannot access it, let me know and I will paste/send). So on one hand, one wants to copy the Jews and on the other hand, they are bad as evidenced from the increasing levels of anti-Semitism.

But to go back to the argument, the UK has been debating the benefits of immigration for a long time and it has become quite heated recently. (See here, here and here for example) Whether they are beneficial or not, whether they add value or not, whether they are benefit scroungers or not, etc. etc. It is good to see that this kind of debate has not changed for decades.

See this paper for example about immigration and Jews. The paper talks about comparative intelligence of Jews and non-Jews, and all this to influence the debate over the level of immigration of Jews into the United Kingdom (one of the crucial aspects to remember is the last line of the abstract, for those who try to use ethnic or religious exclusivity as a way of defence actually end up making things worse as I pointed out in my essay on Islamophobia, I quote: He also considers the role of the British Jewish community in funding and challenging studies of Jewish intelligence, arguing that the community's defensive strategy against negative racial labelling was the cause of discord and change during this period.). While the paper actually is talking more about Racial Science and how it developed, the patterns of prejudice that it throws up is clear.

But given the unique nature of the Jews, they created problems with this emerging field of Racial Science or the future of Anthropology. See this article about how race was determined as a theory in anthropology and how it tried to fit Jews into the picture in the late 19th century. Are Jews white? or are they a minority? Are they an oppressed minority? Or a majority? Which race do they belong to - Caucasian, Mongolian, Negro or Amerindian? Almost two centuries later, and we are still seeing debates about these issues.

There is serious confusion about race, nation, ethnicity and religion (some of which I explored in the Islamophobia article) and the various dimensions of anti-Semitism, dealing with Jews and emergent fields of study are curiously fascinating.

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