A Message From Your Jewish Comrade


Let’s just begin with a few easily accessible statistics from wikipedia:…/History_of_the_Jews_in_the…

Jews are a multi-ethnic group totalling only 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 8 billion worldwide population. Two countries account for 81% of those recognised as Jews: the United States with 51% and Israel with 30%. In the United States, Jews make up about 2% of the population, which is about 5-6 million people. Most of the Jews in the United States are ethnically Ashkenazi (something like 90%), with 12%-15% identifying as Jews of Color. Although Jews have been in the country since the times of Columbus, when Spain and Portugal were expelling them, most of the Jewish population arrived around the turn of the 20th Century.

Ok, so let’s talk about what these numbers mean…

First thing to note is that when we look at the number “6 million” that counts the Jews killed in the Holocaust, we’re talking about a number that totals the number of Jews currently living in the United States. We’re also talking about a number that was almost 40% of the world’s Jewish population at the time. When we talk about the number “2%” that counts the current Jewish population in the United States, we’re talking about a number that compares with people who have extreme personality disorders (borderline, antisocial personality disorder), LGBTQ+ demographics (…/LGBT_demographics_of_the… ), and other such things that we think of as fairly rare. All that is to say that when you think about the numbers in context, Jews are a small minority worldwide and in the United States whose populations were decimated in the 20th Century and who are still the target of a large percentage of growing hate crimes today.

Now, when it comes to how Jews have interacted in US society, there is a lot of history to talk about. As economic agents, Jews are known for their prominence in textiles, furs, and other needle trades, for finance and banking, for medicine, for law, and for entertainment. Mostly, these trades had been the few areas of the economy that Jews were not prevented from entering. Or in the case of the film industry, where Jews were at the forefront of inventing the industry. That is something easy enough for most people to understand, but what most people tend to miss is that as capitalism developed, wealth in land ownership, industrial manufacturing, and other traditional forms stagnated while wealth in finance and entertainment (among others) grew. One of the consequences is that Jews who were pushed into those industries due to prejudices against them became unexpectedly wealthy as capitalism developed into what we have today. This means that although the total population sizes of Jews have always been very small, Jews became prominent in the industries of the relatively new rich even though their forced exclusion from landownership and other forms of old wealth had prevented most of them from rising out of poverty in the past.


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