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Jews are members of an ethnoreligious group linked by shared history, culture, civilization, ethical values and experiences arising from Judaism. The Jews are depicted in the Holy Bible as a people who, after being chosen by God,[1] entered into a cycle of disobeying God, being punished by God, repenting, being forgiven by God, and then going back to their old ways of disobedience. This rebellion involved killing their own prophets and, according to the New Testament, their Messiah.[2] In the epistle to the Romans, Paul of Tarsus states that the zeal of the Jews toward God is "not according to knowledge."[3]

Jews and the Jewish nation, Israel, have been the subject of much controversy. For many centuries, Jews have been accused of undermining the good of the societies in which they have lived, and have been ordered or pressured to leave various countries. A notable example was the Edict of Expulsion, issued by Edward I of England in 1290. Although Jews are only 2 percent of the U.S. population,[4] they are a politically and economically influential group; for example, three of the nine current U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan, are Jewish. It is generally considered politically expedient for U.S. politicians to pledge military and other support for Israel, an important ally of the United States in the Middle East. Most Jews have a right of return to Israel; this rule, and the Israeli state, were set up after World War II and the Holocaust largely to provide a refuge for Jews fleeing persecution.

Some notable Jews who were important in the history of the libertarian movement were Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, and Milton Friedman. Many Jews have been active in the civil liberties movement, including Alan Dershowitz and Julian Heicklen. Alfred Jay Nock was accused of antisemitism, or at least of failing to adequately denounce antisemitism, because of an article he wrote, The Jewish Problem in America.[5][6]

Various people and organizations within the Jewish community have made a rather impressive prison solidarity effort of visitation and newsletters to the incarcerated. Like Muslims, Jews tend to be a highly visible subgroup in the prison systems, a notable difference between that the Jewish groups are significantly less likely to organize as violent gangs for self-protection. Many non-Jewish prisoners have attempted to pass themselves off as Jews in order to obtain kosher food;[7] the expense of providing these meals has often prompted prison officials to degrade the quality of the kosher food below that of the regular meals.


  1. {{#bible: Deuteronomy 14:2}}
  2. {{#bible: Acts 7:51-53}}
  3. {{#bible: Romans 10:1-3}}
  4. Zeveloff, Naomi (17 January 2012). "U.S. Jewish Population Pegged at 6 Million". The Jewish Daily Forward. 
  5. Nock, Alfred Jay (July 1941). "The Jewish Problem in America". The Atlantic. 
  6. Marshall, James (August 1941). "The Anti-Semitic Problem in America". The Atlantic. 
  7. Zeveloff, Naomi (30 April 2012). "Not Just Jews Eat Kosher Food in Prison". Jewish Daily Forward.