Jewish Identity & American Identity

This morning I read a comment that every time a Jew sees a Christmas tree, he sees a potential Holocaust.

That hit me hard. Initially, I hoped that if I rewrote it to specify a certain type of Jew, I could deal with it more easily, but there’s no getting around the fact that the stronger your in-group identity, whether it as white, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, black, Chinese, Zoroastrian, Armenian, the more likely you are to have hostility towards outsiders.

Now, most Jews I know like Christmas, and they don’t think of the Holocaust when they see a Christmas tree. How non-Jews behave affects how Jews relate to them and American non-Jews have treated Jews well.

Prior to converting to Judaism in 1993, I never saw the Christmas tree as representing anything but a benign symbol of light and goodness (though I may have been infected earlier in my life by a strain of Seventh-Day Adventism that regards Christmas and Christmas trees as pagan).

I became interested in Judaism in 1988 through listening to the pro-Christian Jewish talk show host Dennis Prager. Prager was the dominant prism through which I related to Judaism until about 2000 when I went whole hog Orthodox.

The stronger I’ve grown in my Jewish identity, the more tempted I feel to slur out-groups, including Christians. I no longer even say “Merry Christmas” because it implies that there is some religious validity to Christmas. Not only do I abstain from that blessing, I also like to explain to goyim that I can’t say “Merry Christmas” because it might come across that I think there’s religious truth to Christianity.

I’m obnoxious when I feel righteous.

Christmas is an American holiday, not just a Christian one, which puts the Jew in a pickle. To the extent the Jew is hostile to Christmas (and most Jews are not), he is also likely to be hostile to America and to goyim in general.

Where Jews feel insecure, they’re going to hide their hostility to outsiders. In America today, Jews feel as secure as they have ever felt in history, and so they are more apt to make movies like “Bad Santa.”

Steve Sailer writes in 2005:

And, strange as it may seem during today`s War Against Christmas, a very large fraction of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews.

For example, looking at a fairly recent ASCAP list of the most played Christmas pop tunes, it appears to me that of the top ten songs, Jews wrote five and co-wrote two more. Out of the top 25 songs, Jews were involved with at least 11 and possibly more…

The Christmas songs that Jews wrote seldom involved religion, and some were simply ditties about cold weather, but nobody thought to label them generic “Holiday” tunes…

So it`s hard to tell whether Jews are still willing to write Christmas songs since nobody at all is writing Christmas songs that catch on anymore…

It will be interesting to see if Jews continue to make Christmas movies.

Going back to the 19th Century, German-Jewish department store owners played a significant role in promoting several modern Christmas traditions in America. Some of our more prominent customs, such as the Christmas tree, came from Germany (Franklin Pierce in the 1850s was the first President to have a Christmas tree), and Jews were important purveyors of German culture in America.

But this long, amiable tradition of Jews helping to enliven a Christian feast day seems, sadly, to be drawing to an end. American Jews, those exemplars of successful assimilation now seem to be de-assimilating emotionally, becoming increasingly resentful, at this late date, of their fellow Americans for celebrating Christmas.

Veteran TV writer Burt Prelutsky wrote a column last week entitled “The Jewish Grinch who Stole Christmas:”

“I never thought I`d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word… And I blame my fellow Jews. When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the American Civil Liberties Union, at the forefront.

“Being Jewish, I should report, Christmas was never celebrated by my family. But what was there not to like about the holiday? To begin with, it provided a welcome two-week break from school. The decorated trees were nice, the lights were beautiful, “It`s a Wonderful Life” was a great movie, and some of the best Christmas songs were even written by Jews.

“But the dirty little secret in America is that anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in society—it`s been replaced by a rampant anti-Christianity.”

There`s nothing uniquely Jewish about ethnic groups de-assimilating. Human beings compete for status, and the most natural way to organize groups in this struggle is along lines of family relationship.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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