The spectacle of Congress voting to replenish the Iron Dome funding was heart-breaking. Voting to replenish the interceptor missiles that saved hundreds – if not thousands – of civilians in Israel was a no-brainer, but nine members of Congress thought that any support of Israel was too much.
Democratic leadership noted that their eight anti-Israel colleagues (there was one Republican that also voted to block the funding) were a small minority and the vast majority of Democratic members of congress voted in favor of defensive support. The leadership insisted that those who pointed out the fracturing of the party were trying to inflate the radicals.
But polls of American civilians show that the left-wing has already pulled away from Israel.
In June 2021, a AP-NORC poll showed the left was pushing the administration for greater support of Palestinians over Israelis. Three times as many (47% to 15%) liberal Democrats as Conservative Republicans thought that the United States is too supportive of Israel. Three times as many (61% Conservative to 17% Liberals) thought that the US wasn’t supportive enough of Israel.
The same poll showed the opposite in relation to support of Palestinian Arabs. Eight times as many (58% Conservatives to 7% Liberals) think the US is too supportive of Palestinians, while seven times as many (62% Liberals to 9% Conservatives) thought the US should devote more support to Palestinian Arabs. To lay that out more directly, 62% and 47% of Liberals think the US should be more supportive of Palestinians and less supportive of Israel, respectively. That’s in sharp contrast to 61% and 58% of Conservatives who think the US should be more supportive of Israel and less supportive of Palestinians.
A University of Maryland poll held around the same time yielded similar results with different questions. Regarding the May fighting between Israel and Gazans, ten times as many Democrats as Republicans blamed Israel for the violence (34.8% Democrats to 3.7% Republicans). Conversely, seven times as many Republicans as Democrats blamed the Palestinians (59.1% Republicans to 8.1% Democrats). Not surprisingly, seven times as many Democrats than Republicans (43.7% to 6.3%) want the US to apply more pressure on Israel, including withholding aid. Many more Republicans (49.0%) prefer applying pressure including withholding aid on the Palestinians than Democrats (8.5%). Independents were much more neutral on the issue.
These poll results show a very different dynamic than argued by Democratic politicians. The far-left (and growing) fringe of their party is becoming more anti-Israel. This makes it easier for the leaders of deep blue districts to vote against Israel in concert with their base.
The redistricting that is occurring around the country based on the 2020 census will certainly change Congress at the next election. It will also likely produce a large increase in the anti-Israel voices in congress.
In back-to-back days, The New York Times again proved it knows nothing about Israel.
On September 24, the paper wrote that “progressives” were against Israel repeatedly as it described nine members of Congress who voted against funding Israel’s missile defensive system:
“The episode captured the bitter divide among Democrats over Israel, which has pit a small but vocal group of progressives who have called for an end to conditions-free aid to the country against the vast majority of the party, which maintains that the United States must not waver in its backing for Israel’s right to defend itself.”
“After the vote, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez drew condemnations on social media both from supporters of Israel, who savaged her for failing to support the funding, and from progressives and pro-Palestinian activists, who expressed outrage that she ultimately did not register her opposition to it.”
“The debate on the House floor grew bitter Thursday as some progressive Democrats who were opposed called Israel an “apartheid state,” an accusation that at least one proponent of the bill called antisemitic.”
“The dispute began this week, after progressives revolted at the inclusion of the Iron Dome funding in an emergency spending bill, effectively threatening to shut down the government rather than support the money.”
“Some progressive lawmakers grew furious with Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, who pushed for the swift vote on Iron Dome funding. “
Ocasio-Cortez and many of the other people who are against Israel maintaining a defense program against the thousands of missiles launched by HAMAS, the US-designated terrorist group, are anti-Israel Socialist extremists. Most are members of the Democratic Socialists of America, a group of extremists peddling in anti-Semitic tropes.
True liberal-progressives, like Rep. Ritchie Torres who proudly supports Israel, understand that Israel is a beacon of liberal values in a radical, authoritarian, Muslim Middle East. Whether regarding women’s rights, gay rights, animal rights, climate change, recycling, freedoms of press, religion, assembly or any of a variety of issues, Israel is by far the most democratic and liberal country for a thousand miles in any direction. No liberal-progressive would ever side with the Palestinian political-terrorist group Hamas over Israel.
The New York Times peddled much of its typical inanity on September 23rd but added its own anti-Semitism to the article. It said that Ocasio-Cortez wanted to vote against the Iron Dome funding but the “powerful” Israel lobby made her simply vote “present.”
This charge is a classic anti-Semitic smear, and echoes anti-Semites like Henry Ford and Adolf Hitler who claimed that powerful Jews run the press, politicians, the banks and all of society. It is a line that the former liberal-progressive and now anti-Semitic Socialist extremist newspaper repeats frequently.
True liberal-progressives proudly stand with Jews and Israel both because of their commitment to human rights and that they are the most persecuted minority in the world. It is the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Socialist extremists that are vilifying Jews and the Jewish State, and they must be repudiated completely.
There were three epicenters of the terrorists attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001: New York City; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and a field in Pennsylvania which took the place of the U.S. Capitol Building due to the efforts of heroes aboard an ill-fated flight. The jihadists attacks on the hearts of America’s financial, military and political centers was deliberate, evil and immediate. The ramifications reverberated in the years that followed.
I worked across the street from New York City’s World Trade Centers in 2001 and the impact on me was direct.
I first felt the vocal rumblings of 9/11 during the prior week. I spent Labor Day weekend in New York City while most of the city’s residents were on vacation. As I picked up some late night foods at the Fairway market on the Upper West Side, I stood on line behind a woman who was nearly blind, who I guessed hailed from Pakistan. She talked for some time to the cashier, a much younger man, about how everything was about to change forever and that the world would finally wake up. The conversation made me extremely uneasy and I relayed to my wife how I had suddenly felt like a vulnerable minority in New York for the first time.
That sense of dread gained credence as news trickled in from the weeklong UN-sponsored Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa which ended on September 8. Rather than serve as an opportunity to address xenophobia and racism’s oldest form – anti-Semitism – the conference twisted the notions of “colonialism”, “imperialism”, and rights of “indigenous peoples” as condemning articles against Israel, labeling it as an “apartheid” state, in a slur to resuscitate the UN’s 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution.
On the morning of Monday, September 10th, I boarded a flight bound for Kansas City for business. As the plane pulled away from the gate, it clipped the wing of a plane parked next to it in a freak accident, grounding both planes. Instead of having a full day meeting in KC and then continuing on to a conference in San Diego, I ended up spending the day and the next in New York, and planned on flying out to California late on 11th.
As it turned out, staying home on the 11th allowed me to vote during the New York Democratic primary. I voted for whoever was running against Mark Green and then walked to the Broadway and 72nd street subway station to head to my office downtown. I boarded the number 2 express train which would take me on my regular route to Chambers Street before switching to the 1 train for one stop to Cortland St. That train station was under the World Trade Center and I would normally walk out one of the corridors to my office at 130 Liberty Street, a 39-story tower known as the the Deutsche Bank Building, sometime around 9:00am each weekday. I was running slightly later that day because of my morning visit to the polling station.
A woman on the subway said in a loud voice that filled the subway car, that she heard that a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I worked on the 30th floor of the Deutsche Bank building facing south towards the Statue of Liberty and would often see planes flying up the Hudson River, sometimes seemingly way too low. I assumed one of those flights lost control and hit one of the tall towers. Before the subway doors closed, I switched to the local train to work out of the firm’s midtown office on 52nd street to avoid the craziness of the incident.
When I emerged from the 50th Street subway stop a short time later, a Black middle-aged woman walking on Broadway said to me that she just heard that both towers were hit. I replied that I heard that a plane hit one tower and she said “no, it’s both of them.” I ran to my office where there were a number of colleagues already standing and watching the television screen that was suspended from the ceiling. We would watch it for a few hours as the towers came crashing down to our utter shock. As we stared, people from our downtown office started to arrive in that midtown location. One of them was a former marine who said he had never seen anything like what he had just witnessed as he fell into my arms, exhausted. He said the sound of bodies popping as they hit the pavement as they jumped from the burning buildings would never leave his mind.
By early afternoon people began to head home, if they could, as the transportation system came to a halt. I walked towards my apartment and stopped for lunch at a pizza store named Pizza Cave on 72nd Street between Broadway and West End Avenue. I saw a friend who was shaken up by the events and had no way of getting home to Riverdale in the Bronx. He came to my apartment and hung out until he was able to figure out a way home.
After he left, I grabbed a video camera and headed with my wife and two young kids to Riverside Park. Hundreds of people went out to the pier that stretched into the Hudson River to watch dozens of ambulances race down the west side highway towards the giant cloud coming from downtown Manhattan. People stared overhead to see military aircraft race across the skies of New York City. Some just sat in the warm September sun.
The days that followed in New York were not moments of coming together as described by politicians today but a range of manifestations from post-traumatic stress disorder. I was glued to the television set so purchased a second one so my children could keep watching their kids shows. Everyone in the city talked about taping up their windows as the smell of ash, smoke and unknown scents hung over the city. People put up posters of “missing” family members all over walls of buildings, even though everyone understood they were dead in the rubble.
The days turned to weeks as people learned who died from their firms and apartment buildings.
The South Tower fell into my office building, shearing the entire front of the building and the debris filled the first floors, killing the security guard. One of the junior people on my team was allowed to go into the building in full hazmat attire to retrieve a handful of items left behind. He brought me back a cookie jar with my kids handprints and footprints which my wife had given me a few months earlier for Father’s Day. The tefillin from my bar mitzvah, which I kept in my desk drawer for situations when I worked late or needed to fly somewhere last minute did not make it out. The building was ultimately demolished in 2011, almost ten years after the attacks because human remains continued to be discovered as they methodically removed one floor at a time.
During those initial weeks, I would stop on various Manhattan streets to watch ceremonies of firefighters honoring the memories of fallen colleagues who died in their attempts to rescue people from the towers. The whole city felt a huge debt to these heroes who did their best to save hundreds of people. I would have personal encounters with some of those people in the following years.
The Diameter of 9/11
The Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s poem “The Diameter of the Bomb,” captures the essence of people and places impacted by destruction beyond those in the immediate vicinity of the blast radius. The diameter of the 9/11 attacks covered the entire planet.
On a personal level, my work relocated to Baltimore for several months after the attacks. The Amtrak train ride to the city was loaded with tension of people shuttling between the epicenters of New York and Washington. I recall the voices of riders expressing their disgust with members of Congress standing on the steps of the Capitol in a canned photo op, as people noted it was those very people who had failed to protect America.
About two and a half years after the attacks, I sold my Upper West Side apartment to a 9/11 widow. She had lost her firefighter husband on that dreadful day, and then married his best friend, also a firefighter. Her new husband divorced his wife a year after the attacks, and this new couple opted to start a new life together in my old home, with the help of millions of dollars she received as compensation for the bravery of her deceased spouse.
Thousands of additional people would die in the “global war on terror (GWOT)” and the “wars of terror (WofT)” in the months and years ahead.
The United States enlisted dozens of countries to help fight the scourge of Islamic extremist violence, principally in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Libya, Nigeria and Somalia. As the GWOT fought on, the WofT hit England, France, Spain and Israel, as genocidal jihadists continued to fight perceived infidels. Sometimes the WofT attacks were on a large scale, like the 2004 Madrid bombings, while at other times it was personal, like the beheading of the Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.
After the relief from the assassination of Osama bin Laden in 2011, the global fear of extremist Islamic terrorism came to the fore again in 2014 and 2015 when a new brand of radicals – ISIS – showed shocking videos of its members burning people alive and decapitating them. It declared a new Islamic caliphate in Syria and Iraq as it sought to reverse “western imperialism” which divided the Ottoman Empire after World War I. Islamic radicals went on to kill cartoonists and Jews in Paris, France in January 2015; celebrants of Bastille Day in Nice in July 2016 and hundreds in London and Manchester, England throughout 2016 and 2017.
While new epicenters emerged, the mayhem largely stayed off of American shores.
Twenty years after the infamous attacks, America pulled its troops from Afghanistan and prays that the silence from the paucity of successful jihadi attacks in the United States, continues.
But in that silence, a drumbeat of new local jihadists on America’s college campuses and the halls of Congress, echo the sentiments of al Qaeda and ISIS.
Professors from Rutgers University and San Francisco State marked the 20th anniversary of the slaughter of innocent Americans with a forum that blamed the original attacks and the responding war on terror on the false idea of “US and Israeli exceptionalism” and promoted the absurd notion that each country needed a new adversary after the fall of the Soviet Union, so they manufactured Islam as the new bogeyman. One speaker said that “For me, the horror wasn’t 911 itself, which I experienced back when I was living in North Carolina. For me the horror was George W. Bush’s speech, I found his speech to be completely horrific, because here he was openly declaring, quote, forever wars.” In short, the murder of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans did not bother the professor as much as the advance of “American imperialism” against Islamic countries, now under the guise of a “war on terror.”
Those same outrageous chants are now heard repeatedly in Congress, with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) decrying the United States’ “western imperialism” and claiming that the U.S. and Israel foster racism for profit. The talking points of the Durban Conference, al Qaeda and ISIS are coalescing and becoming embedded in left-wing America.
On 9/11/01, Islamic extremists killed thousands of innocent civilians in the United States, vandalized America’s skyline and instilled a deep fear of their disregard for human life, in what President Obama referred to as an “evil ideology“, copied by a variety of jihadists groups. Those Islamic groups are fighting the wounds from end of World War I, which they perceive as western powers defeating the Islamic Ottoman Empire, carving it up in the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 and inserting a colonial beachhead of Jews in Palestine with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. They are slowly gathering support for their cause against “western imperialism” and “Zionism” as they muster influence in the west.
The scars of 9/11 may have healed for some, making it easier to consider that the need for a global war on terror should come to an end. But the jihadist war is only entering its next phase, as it enlists westerners to undermine its own interests and values.
As Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, I appreciate your involvement in foreign policy and engagement on matters in the Middle East. However, your approach to the region is seemingly a departure from official U.S. foreign policy, at odds with the idea of bipartisanship, belittles the danger of Palestinian terrorist groups and undermines the relationship with Israel.
I note the opening paragraph of the letter your office distributed to people who have written to you about the Arab-Israeli Conflict, about your recent trip to the region, copied here:
“Because you have written to us concerning Israel and Palestine, I wanted to share this important update. Senator Murphy, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, returned from foreign travel this month which included visits to Israel and the West Bank. He led a congressional delegation of his Senate colleagues to discuss regional security and democracy in the region. He was joined by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.).”
To start, the United States does not recognize any country called “Palestine.” As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, it is imperative that you not unilaterally begin to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority.
Please share the reason that you only traveled to the region with fellow Democrats, especially as President Biden repeatedly stated his desire to keep support of Israel a bipartisan matter between Democrats and Republicans. Was Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) or any of the Republicans on the Foreign Affairs committee unwilling to join the delegation?
I have additional questions as it relates to the second paragraph of your letter:
“The delegation’s visit to Israel came after the formation of a new government under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in June, and was the first to travel to the country after President Biden met with Prime Minister Bennett at the White House. The senators also met with President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Ra’am Party leader Mansour Abbas to discuss the priorities of the new government and the path forward to ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians can live safely and securely and equally enjoy freedom, prosperity and democracy.The senators also met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and young Palestinian leaders in the West Bank. In addition, the senators also engaged with USAID partners who are implementing programs on the ground.“
I understand why members of the US Foreign Relations committee would meet with Israel’s prime minister, president and foreign affairs minister. But why would the U.S. delegation meet the head of a small Arab party in the coalition government who is not a member of Israel’s own foreign affairs committee? Do you believe that Israeli Arabs are actually ‘Palestinians’ and wanted to be sure that Israel’s Arab citizens “enjoy freedom”? Or do you think that only an Israeli Arab perspective can shed light on what Palestinian Arabs feel, even though the delegation also met with leaders of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank? If you wanted a perspective of minority groups, did you also visit Israeli Jews living in the West Bank?
I note that you referred to Palestine as a country again when you called Mohammad Shtayyeh the Prime Minister of “Palestine” instead of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Does the subcommittee you head have its own foreign policy apart from the United States?
In your letter’s final paragraph, you decided to gratuitously and falsely accuse the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu:
“Upon his return from travel, Senator Murphy joined CNN International’s Amanpour with Christiane Amanpour to discuss the United States’ role in the world following the withdrawal from Afghanistan. In recounting his visit to Israel and the West Bank, Senator Murphy said: “[I]t is important to note that this government has taken some really important steps: one, to do outreach with the Palestinians, the first government-to-government meetings at the highest levels in over a decade. And they have begun to open up humanitarian pathways into Gaza. They’re trying to relieve the suffering there in a way that the Netanyahu government would have never contemplated. This is obviously a very unique coalition government… but I left pretty impressed with the seriousness of the government, and some of the early steps that they have taken to lower the temperature, both inside Israel and in the relationship with Palestinians.”
I am baffled how your recollection of a visit to America’s strongest ally in the Middle East begins with the “outreach with the Palestinians.” You falsely stated that the meetings were the first held in “over a decade” between the US and the PA, seemingly forgetting the debacle of a flawed 2014 peace process shepherded by the Obama Administration’s Secretary of State John Kerry.
You stated that the goal of the mission was regarding “regional security and democracy,” yet offered nothing on the remarkable Abraham Accords that the Netanyahu government cemented with several Arab nations over the prior year. Instead, you implied that Netanyahu helped create the suffering in Gaza, rather than note that a US-designated foreign terrorist organization launched several wars against Israel, and the Netanyahu government responded in a restrained manner. Further, Netanyahu enabled Gaza exports to hit record levels in the beginning of 2021 and allowed monies from Qatar to flow into the terrorist-run enclave, much more than the current Israeli Prime Minister Bennett.
Senator, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, Americans expect you to call out the evil of the US-designated terrorist group Hamas, to not upgrade the PA to a state, to acknowledge the expanding circle of diplomatic relations Israel recently forged in the region, and to follow protocol in regards to visiting Israel, America’s strongest ally in the region, without gratuitously bad-mouthing the prior government. Your approach simply leads Americans to believe that the Democratic Party is pulling away from Israel.
A new U.S. government report noted that the birth rate continues to fall, now with a fertility rate of just 1.6 children per woman. That rate is considered “below replacement rate” meaning that the next generation will be smaller than the current one and that the overall population will grow older on average.
According to the World Bank, the overall percentage of the global population under 14 years old in 2019 was just 25.6%. It was just 18.5% for the United States, down significantly from 30.8% in 1961 in the post-World War II boom years.
There is a meaningful divide between the western world and the rest in terms of the number of children and how it relates to household wealth which will be reviewed here.
Children and Household Wealth around the World
There are three parts of the world which have a very young population, with over 35% of the population being 14 years old or younger: sub-Saharan Africa, several Muslim countries, and the islands of the Pacific.
Roughly 42% of sub-Saharan Africa is under 14 years old. Most of the countries are very poor, with a GDP per capital under $2,000. Outliers like Seychelles (with a relatively low 24% of the population under 14 y.o.) and Mauritius (17%) have much higher GDP per capita (GDP/C) of $17,448 and $11,099, respectively.
The other regions have a more scattered correlation between GDP per capita and high percentage of children as seen in the chart below.
The blue dots represent Pacific island countries and the yellow dots correspond to Muslim countries. Pakistan, Tajikistan, Yemen and Afghanistan have GDP/C of around $1,000 or less. The two subsidized Muslim economies of Iraq ($5,955) and the Palestinian Authority ($3,562) are outliers in their relatively higher income levels and young population. Only Tonga and Samoa have similar around $4,000 GDP/C outside of Africa.
The United States
The GDP per Capita in the United States crossed $65,000 in 2019 while the fertility rate plummeted. The country has a diverse population so a deeper review of the drivers of the fertility drop as well as the dynamics of household wealth are worth exploring to appreciate the underlying causes.
As seen in the US Fertility Rate table above, the fertility rate for women of all races declined significantly between 2008 and 2016. The drop was greatest for Hispanic women (-26%) and Native Americans (-24%), followed by Whites and Blacks (-12% each).
The census data on average household income by race and status adds further color.
White alone, not Hispanic
Hispanic (any race)
With children <18
Married no kids
Married with kids
Unmarried, no kids
Unmarried with kids
Male, no kids
Male with kids
Female, no kids
Female with kids
Household income for various US groups in 2019 according to the U.S. census. Too small a data set for unmarried Asian households with children at home.
There’s a lot of data here, so some observations:
Households headed by married couples with children at home make more money. Households (HH) with children under 18 at home make more money than those without, but that is purely driven by married HH. Asian married HH that have kids at home make an average of 26% more than married Asian HH without children. For Blacks the difference was 24%. Meanwhile, Hispanic married HH – and only Hispanics – without children make slightly more money than those with kids.
“Non-traditional” HH with no kids make more money. Unmarried HH and those headed by either a single father or mother have greater wealth if there are no children. The difference is the greatest for Black HH headed by a woman, where average HH income is 48% higher if there are no kids at home, and for HH headed by Asian men, who make 39% more money on average if no kids are at home. Only HH headed by Asian women have virtually no difference whether there are kids at home or not.
Asian and Blacks have dramatically different household wealth. Not only do Asians make significantly more money than Black HH (86% more in HH with no kids at home and 109% more in HH with kids at home), the biggest drivers were in unmarried HH without kids and woman-headed HH with kids.
The change in household income adds additional color, with the table below showing the change from 2012 to 2019.
White alone, not Hispanic
Hispanic (any race)
Married no kids
Married with kids
Unmarried, no kids
Unmarried with kids
Male, no kids
Male with kids
Female, no kids
Female with kids
Change in household income between 2012 and 2019 for various groups in the United States according to US Census
Households with kids have income growing faster. Income grew faster for households with children relative to those without kids between 2012 and 2019 for every type of household. Income grew fastest for those households headed by unmarried couples. Minorities faired better than Whites for female-headed homes with kids and married homes.
Hispanic households seeing the biggest gaps to an increase in income between having kids and not having kids. While Whites, Blacks and Asians mostly followed the averages or had mixed results, the Hispanic community saw big advances among those families which had children at home relative to the more modest gains among those with no children at homes.
In summary, the Hispanic community which accounts for 16.7% of the US population is having a steep decline in the number of children which is driving the overall low US fertility rates. While this is happening, the wealth for Hispanic households without kids is growing at a much slower pace than those HH with children. This is creating a gap in the Hispanic community between the wealthier HHs with children and the poorer ones which are having no kids.
Possible Reasons for Fertility Rates and Changes
There is clearly a correlation around the world that poorer countries have more children than richer countries.
The Guttmacher Institute estimates that 93 out of 1,000 pregnancies are unintended in poor countries compared to 66 in middle income and 34 in wealthy countries. Abortions are also more prevalent in wealthier countries with 40%, 66% and 43% of such unwanted pregnancies ending with an abortion in poor, middle and wealth countries, respectively. The net result is a higher fertility rate in poorer countries.
Religion should also be considered as a factor as many devout Muslim countries do not promote contraception and abhor abortions.
The low fertility rates in the United States goes beyond income and abortions.
Minority groups have the highest rates of abortion in the US. In 2016, 28% of abortions were by Black women even though they account for just 13% of the population. Hispanics accounted for 25% of abortions while they make up 17% of the population. This is in contrast to the global trend where poorer segments had fewer abortions.
In the US, Hispanics and Blacks still have higher fertility rates (2.1 and 1.9, respectively) than Whites (1.7) but the trends are much steeper for Hispanics as they are quickly adopting the more prevalent fertility rates found throughout America.
The lower fertility rates may seem strange relative to Pew Research which shows that women in America are having MORE children, albeit later in life as they prefer to pursue advanced degrees and build their careers. Pew notes that their work looks at the lifetime fertility rates of women whereas the standard definition of fertility is based solely on that one year’s accounting of births.
The Pew report also noted that one of the biggest changes in fertility is among women who were never married having children, where 55% of women aged 40-44 have had a child in 2014, up from just 31% in 1994. Incorporating the data above, this suggests that unmarried women are having children despite the fact that they are likely to be poorer for doing so, but the income level for this segment (unmarried moms) is growing the fastest.
One country seems to be defying the trends in fertility, with a higher fertility rate and a high level of wealth: Israel.
From 2000 to 2019, Israel’s fertility rate stayed relatively constant, growing from 2.95 to 3.01. With a GDP/C of $43,600, this is a remarkable achievement.
The country’s ultra-Orthodox and Bedouin communities continue to have large numbers of children and the number of abortions in the country continues to hit new lows every year.
A quick read of the low and declining fertility rates in the US is certainly reason for concern, but a deeper dive into the numbers reveals some important facts. 1) Women are extending the period of time in which they have children to later in life so the total number of children they have is actually rising. 2) The drop off in fertility in the US is mostly due to the Hispanic community moving quickly towards the societal average. 3) The average income for the growing “non-traditional” households (unmarried, single parent) with children is growing faster than the rest of society.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to absolve Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after Omar lumped the United States and Israel into the same basket as the terrorist groups of the Taliban and Hamas. Pelosi said “We did not rebuke her. We acknowledged that she made a clarification.”
“Clarifications” on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish comments have an interesting history.
Progressive professor and CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill offered a clarification after he quoted the tagline of the Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorist group, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which calls for the eradication of Israel. Hill “clarified” his comment that he was actually seeking a “radical change within Israel, not a desire for its destruction,” to convert the Jewish State into a bi-national state. He implied he wants a purely Arab state of Palestine and the end of Israel as a Jewish State. That was clarity enough for his to keep his job at Temple University.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has a similar view about Israel and she tied it to the Holocaust. She told an outright lie that Israel was established in “trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust” at the expense of her Palestinian Arab ancestors. People criticized her remarks in failing a basic truth that the land of Israel has been center of Judaism for nearly 4,000 years and modern Zionism predates the Holocaust by many decades. The whitewashing of the active role her ancestors played in blocking Jews from entering Palestine in fleeing Europe – killing over 100,000 Jews – was beyond insensitive. Tlaib remained defiant tweeting “I will never allow you to take my words out of context to push your racist and hateful agenda,” in an attempt to invert her vile anti-Semitism as a charge against others who note basic facts.
Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan was a little less elegant in asking people to stop saying he’s an anti-Semite, clarifying “I’m anti-Termite.” That seemed to be enough for him to remain in a vaunted position with numerous politicians and celebrities quoting him.
The “clarifications” of anti-Zionists and anti-Semites like Omar, Tlaib, Hill and Farrakhan are additional opportunities for them to spew venom. Their desired absolution cannot be granted by leaders like Nancy Pelosi, and each and everyone of us must hold the bigots to account.
After the Palestinian political-terrorist group HAMAS launched 4,000 rockets into Israel most recently, Omar pointed the finger at many groups she felt committed human rights abuses and war crimes, tweeting “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” lumping leading democracies with terrorist groups. The condemnation from Jews and American patriots was swift. As was the defense from fellow Muslim Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who tweeted:
“I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics.“
Tlaib has no such courage.
In December 2019, after two Black people shot up a kosher store in Jersey City, NJ killing two, Tlaib tweeted “This is heartbreaking. White supremacy kills,” pointing the finger at White people whom she assumed committed the anti-Semitic murders. When Tlaib found out that the killers were actually Black, she deleted the tweet and then generically condemned anti-Semitism but not from Black people.
For Tlaib, the murderers and anti-Semites should only be called out if they’re White.
Ilhan Omar remarkably admitted that Hamas and the Taliban commit atrocities. Rashida Tlaib can do no such thing, as she fights to defend Hamas terrorists who kill Israeli Jews and shields Black anti-Semitic murderers from public condemnation.
There is a growing movement for the U.S. Congress to look much like America. The argument goes that a representative government should resemble its constituents which would be better able to incorporate their perspectives when passing laws.
In the early years of American democracy, the halls of government were populated by White Christian men. Over time, women and Blacks were given the right to vote and ultimately began running for and winning seats in government.
The tapestry of America can be seen in a picture of the 117th Congress.
In addition to outward appearance is the lived realities of people’s experiences, feelings and emotional state.
There are Americans who are mentally unstable. Who are racists and misogynists. Who are psychopaths, anti-Semites and abusers. These individuals are represented by members of Congress and are also members of Congress. It was true when America was only governed by White Christian men and is true now with people with a spectrum of backgrounds.
America’s government looks and thinks more like swaths of America.
Some of today’s notable anti-Semites in Washington, D.C. are Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). While the passions of Jew haters have representation in government, are there enough people to properly represent Americans’ animosity towards Jews?
According to the Anti-Defamation League 2015 poll, 10% of Americans hold anti-Semitic beliefs. With 100 senators and 435 members of the House, the right number of anti-Semites in government should be 53 politicians. The three infamous anti-Semites may stand out because they have to pull above their weight. Americans may crave more voices disparaging Jews. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) seemingly know as much, and are leaning in to be carried by the tailwinds of hate.
A Congress that speaks and votes like the worst parts of America thinks, is being showcased by Representatives Omar, Tlaib and Greene today. They are a mirror of the ugliest parts of our society. That frame will only widen and darken should we fail to collectively change course.
Freshman Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) whose South Bronx district is the poorest in the nation, came up to Westchester shortly after a mini-war between Gaza and Israel and a spike in anti-Semitism in June 2021. He spoke passionately to the crowd of 100 about both topics.
The Afro-Latino gay congressman made clear that he strongly objected to the direction of many progressive politicians in actively defaming Israel, in what he called the terrible “Corbynization of progressive politics,” after the British Labour Party leader who frequently attacked the Jewish State and was often accused of anti-Semitism.
Torres noted that the various smears against Israel are patently untrue. He railed against the charge that Israel is “an apartheid state” where Arabs have more rights than in many neighboring Arab countries. He said the claim that Israel is committing a “genocide” against Arabs is absurd when the Arab population in Israel has skyrocketed. To label Israel with such charges is either a boldface lie or demands new definitions of apartheid and genocide.
He added that the number of United Nations resolutions against Israel “boggles the imagination.” He questioned why there was no B.D.S. (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against China, Myanmar, Turkey or Iran for their actual human rights abuses and attacks against minority populations.
Torres said his only conclusion for the double standards and demonization of Israel is gross anti-Semitism. He thought it was horrible and wanted to have absolutely nothing to do with such sentiments. He declared that it was appropriate to claim support of Israel as a liberal priority and wanted to become the “poster child for progressives for Israel.” It was time for “visibly pro-Israel voices to be heard in the public square.”
He then paused for questions from the enthusiastic Orthodox Jewish audience.
When asked about the rise of the anti-Israel voices, Torres discussed two principle sources: education and social media.
Torres pointed out that many schools have been indoctrinating students with anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Most people in the United States don’t know about the actual rights of Arabs in Israel, the cleansing of Jews from Arab lands or even much about the Holocaust in Europe.
He called Twitter the “new guillotine.” He claimed that social media poisons the narrative as people with certain agendas feed fanaticism to millions of followers. Torres thought it was hard for the “center” to have a voice in social media as the entire business model rewarded extreme sentiments. He wants to hold those tech-media companies accountable for their spread of hate.
In searching for a new direction, Torres said it was time for progressives to “expand the scope of intersectionality to include Jews.” An average Jew suffers the greatest number of hate crimes in the United States and it was time to include the Jewish community in reciprocal allyship.
Torres recounted how the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists for America questionnaire asked that its candidates not visit Israel and to support the B.D.S. movement. He pondered whether some progressives had somehow turned on the Jewish State for having the chutzpah to progress from being victims to being empowered. “Isn’t that our goal?” he asked aloud rhetorically.
The pro-Israel crowd wanted to better understand how this young politician became a self-described “unicorn” as staunchly pro-Israel in an increasingly hostile anti-Israel progressive world. He pointed to his trip to the Jewish State.
He emotionally recalled his trip to both Masada and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. In those two stops he understood both the long history of Jews in the land of Israel and the painful destruction of Jewish communities in Israel and around the world. He connected how people in his district fear gunfire while Israelis fear rocket fire. He internalized how the United States has only two neighbors with which it coexists peacefully, while small Israel has multiple the number of neighbors which are hostile to the country’s basic existence.
Torres concluded that it is important for people to mobilize: to push for changes in education and social media; to build an infrastructure to help get pragmatic pro-Israel politicians elected; and to make sure to vote and get the constructive voices for peace elected.
The attendees were thrilled to take pictures with this “unicorn,” while simultaneously bemoaning that indeed he is unfortunately one-of-a-kind. At least, for the moment.
In the wake of the Palestinian terrorist political party HAMAS firing 4,000 rockets into Israeli towns and the subsequent spike in anti-Semitism in the United States, freshman Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) came to the home of a Westchester rabbi to talk to his constituents.
One would imagine that Israel and anti-Semitism would have been at the top of the agenda considering recent events. But that is fanciful thinking and detached from the reality of much of the non-Orthodox liberal Jewish community today.
The rabbi’s husband welcomed the crowd of roughly 40 people to his home. He began with the importance of combatting climate change as he introduced the congressman. Jones then spoke about his “lived experiences” and need to have an economy that worked for everybody and that combatted police violence. He discussed initiatives which he was advancing such as the America Rescue Plan and the child tax credit. He emphasized that government can be “transformative if the right people are in power.”
He then took questions.
The Jewish crowd began with a question about funding libraries. It then moved to immigration and how people can get more Democrats elected. Jones touched upon how things really move in Washington and the problem of the filibuster. Voter suppression, the infrastructure plan which included “human infrastructure” like childcare was discussed passionately. Jones suggested targeting Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (one of the most pro-Israel senators) and others on the next election cycle.
Far advanced into the meeting someone asked a question about foreign policy. They wanted to know about Afghanistan. Well, not really Afghanistan and terrorism. The question was will the U.S. provide immigration for Afghanis who provided assistance to the American war effort all these years.
With five minutes left in the hour meeting, someone brought up Israel.
Jones said he supported Israel’s right to defend itself and would oppose any conditioning of aid to Israel. Moreover, we would support funding the restocking Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system which is important for its security.
He then launched into a series of worries, such as his discomfort with Israel’s leadership. He was concerned about discussions about annexing parts of the West Bank. He was upset about Arabs being forcibly evicted from their homes and the dignity of Palestinians. He concluded by saying that Israel has to stop treating Palestinians as though they are not human beings.
No one said a word or batted an eyelash at his contention that Israelis don’t think of Arabs as human. Instead, they moved on to the final question and then asked for money to support Jones’ reelection campaign.
The host concluded the talk with noting that the attendees (White Jews) were very happy with the replacement of Rep. Nita Lowey in their district and Rep. Eliot Engel just south of them – two White Jews replaced with Black non-Jews – as the ceding of power to another minority group was in order and appropriate for the times. In any event, all liberal priorities seemed to remain in place. [Note to reader: Rep. Jamaal Bowman who replaced Engel could not be more to the opposite extreme of Engel’s strong pro-Israel positions].
So a progressive Black gay freshman congressman came to address liberal Jews immediately after a mini-war from Gaza and a terrible spike in anti-Semitism in the U.S., and the crowd focused on a host of liberal issues over and above Jew-hatred and Israel.
If a congressman sees that Jews in his district do not prioritize anti-Semitism or the Jewish State, why should he?
Perhaps it is time to reintroduce some basic principles to parts of the liberal Jewish community such as from Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14: “Hillel says, ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?‘”