As a long-time admirer of Israel, I’ve come to envy especially the freedom of discussion that Israeli culture permits on fundamental questions of demographics.
Consider, for example, the new book 2030: Alternative Futures for the Jewish People [5 megabyte PDF], which makes for eye-opening reading for anyone lulled by the pabulum of the American press. ... An intellectually serious effort, 2030 can serve as a template for all those thinking about improving the demographic prospects of their own peoples or parties.
For example, GOP leaders could read it and consider how its framework of analysis and its policy recommendations could be adapted to the task of growing more Republicans.
Founded in 2002, the Jerusalem-based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute has always been chaired by prominent Jewish-American diplomats. Its 2030 report was begun under Dennis Ross, chief U.S. negotiator at Bill Clinton’s failed Camp David 2 peace talks in 2000 between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Ross left JPPPI in 2009 to run the Obama Administration’s Iran policy. ...
Despite this American participation, the JPPPI is an offshoot of the Israeli government’s immigration arm, the Jewish Agency for Israel. (The JPPPI’s #2 man is a former boss of Israeli military intelligence). It makes an annual presentation to the Israeli cabinet. And, because the JPPPI’s publications are not intended for non-Jewish audiences—this book has not, so far as I know, previously been reviewed in America outside the Jewish press—it suffers less from the timidity that emasculates intellectual discourse in America.
For example, the JPPPI’s 2030 observes:“World Jewry today is at a historical zenith of absolute wealth creation. … one can say that Jewish wealth is higher than almost any other ethnic group worldwide.”
That’s not the kind of thing you read in the U.S. press every day…
It’s also informative to discover that the JPPPI views anti-Semitism at present “as a moral problem and an irritant, but not having any serious consequences.” ...
The 2030 project strives to identify the middle ground between the ephemeral and the permanent.
The JPPPI methodology is to boil the future down to merely A) internal factors (what it calls “Jewish Momentum” -- “quantity, quality, power, structures and leadership”) and B) external factors: “the well-worn notion of ‘good for the Jews or bad for the Jews.’”
This generates four alternative futures: “Thriving,” “Drifting,” “Defending,” and “Nightmare.” The think tank doesn’t try to predict which one will happen, but it does outline the various mechanisms pushing the global Jewish People in each direction.
If in 2030, Jews are self-confidently ethnocentric (have high Jewish Momentum) and the rest of the world loves them, then, according to the JPPPI, the Jewish People will be “Thriving”.
The opposite quadrant is called “Nightmare”—where Jews are both unpopular with outsiders and highly assimilated. Currently, Iran is the best (or worst) example of this.
The JPPPI classifies the American Jewish community as currently “Thriving” due to an extremely positive external climate for Jews in America and moderately high internal Jewish Momentum.
It worries, though, that Jews are so popular with other Americans that Jewish cohesiveness will be sapped over the next 20 years. A high rate of intermarriage could drive the American Jewish community into the Drifting quadrant, where “Demographic shifts including accelerated assimilation of the Jewish community in the US, and its decline relative to other groups in the US leads to decline in its political power.” ...
The opposite of “Drifting” is “Defending”—where Jews are besieged by anti-Semites, yet internally strong as a community. The JPPPI cites France, where Muslim immigration has led to pogrom-like incidents, as currently the closest to this alternative future.
The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute seems to prefer “Defending” to “Drifting”:
“While the Drifting future might be very pleasant and positive for Jews as individuals, it reflects an overall decline of the Jewish People as a whole. … a Defending alternative future demonstrates that even under strenuous external conditions, the Jewish People could become stronger.”