As a Secular Reform Jew, I was confounded by the addition of “Israeli” as a Middle-Easern-American ethnicity. I give The Office of Management the benefit of the doubt that “Israeli” as a category was added with good intentions. However, I personally do not believe it represents the American Jewish population or me. Most American Jews are of Ashkenazi descent (~90-95%); in Israel, we are a minority and roughly a quarter of the population (~25%). While I love and support Israel as a Jewish state, I would not Identify as (MENA) or “Israeli.” Based on my experiences as a Reform American Ashkenazi Jew. I personally would fill out the form by checking White and filling in the blank part with “Ashkenazi.” Antisemitism is indeed on the rise, though that is not quite a racial issue; instead, religious intolerance. In the realm of race, the families of Ashkenazi Jews haven’t lived in the Middle East for thousands of years. Ashkenazi Jews indeed have Middle Eastern Blood; however, not more than Italians or most Eastern Europeans. The majority of other Reform American Jews I know and I would not be considered (MENA) if passed by on the street. I am very well aware that we, as Jews, faced immense antisemitism in Europe. Regardless, my family has lived thousands of years in Europe, and I feel an ancestral tie to Europe despite the history of discrimination. Israel is more of an archaic connection and the birthplace of my religion. While Europe is where my family comes from and has lived for millennia. The Ukrainian President is Jewish, and I feel incredibly proud to be a Ukrainian-American Jew. The Nazis tried to erase us from Europe and our history. I feel that American Jews, who are majority Ashkenazi, being regarded as Israeli further distances us from our history and where we come from. When people think of Jews in America, they think of the Ashkenazi Jews like Einstein and the Jews who made Hollywood what it is today, not Israelis. What are your guys’ thoughts?
submitted by /u/Runofthemilljacket