Jews And Immigration: Steinlight Soldiers On
by Marcus Epstein:
“The Price I Paid For Civilization”—Zora Neale
Hurston on Blacks, Brown, And The American Nation-State]
Center For Immigration Studies recently sponsored a
panel in Washington, DC to showcase Dr.
Stephen Steinlight`s latest monograph,
“High Noon to Midnight: Why Current Immigration Policy
Dooms American Jewry.” This follows Steinlight`s
pioneering October 2001 essay, “The
Jewish Stake in America`s Changing Demography“.
CIS has a
silly habit of trying to prove how moderate it is at the
expense of VDARE.COM. But your stoical editors
nevertheless asked me to attend.
podium with Steinlight (e-mail
him) was neoconservative
David Frum, and Joseph
Puder, the director of the Interfaith Taskforce for
American and Israel, and an officer of the
American Jewish Congress. The
event was moderately attended by approximately
two-dozen people, mostly local policy wonks. No members
of the press were in the audience and no accounts appear
to have been published (except in the
blogosphere). CIS is having a lot of trouble
getting this debate started.
think Frum (e-mail
him) or Puder (e-mail
him) contributed very much to the discussion of Jews
and immigration policy. Frum`s remarks were limited to
the virtues of a National ID card and fingerprinting
everyone who breaks the speed limit. But as Frum is
probably the most influential and well-known of the
panelists, it is worth noting that he is beginning to
say that you cannot stop illegal immigration without
lowering the total number of legal immigrants into the
Puder`s comments similarly raised some interesting
points about assimilation and Muslim immigration, but he
did not talk about the link between immigration policy
and American Jewry.
not a monolithic group, American Jews have tended to
support a liberal immigration policy. “The
Melting Pot” and “The
New Colossus“, two of the greatest pieces in the
canon of the American immigration mystique, were both
written by Jews. The Anti-Defamation league and The
American Jewish Committee both played a major role in
promoting the 1965 Immigration Act, as did Jewish
politicians like Representative Emanuel Cellers and
Senator Jacob Javits.
For the past couple of years, Dr.
Steinlight has been urging American Jews to reevaluate
their support for current immigration policy. Perhaps
`reevaluate` is the wrong word, because he is
rather frank about the Jewish role in supporting a lax
immigration policy in the past, and makes no apologies
for it. He referred in his first paper to the 1924
immigration cut-off legislation as “evil” and
“xenophobic.” Although he was admittedly a newcomer
to the restrictionist position, he had no qualms in
asserting that long-term restrictionists, or “classic
anti-immigrant, xenophobic, and racist nativist forces,”
should have no role in shaping the immigration debate:
white `Christian` supremacists who have historically
opposed either all immigration or all non-European
immigration (Europeans being defined as Nordic or
Anglo-Saxon), a position re-asserted by Peter Brimelow,
must not be permitted to play a prominent role in the
debate over the way America responds to unprecedented
There is much that can be said
about the merits of this statement, and many other
historical and moral claims in Dr. Steinlight`s original
paper, some of which were addressed at length by Joseph
The Social Contract and by Sam Francis in
Chronicles, and by
Peter Brimelow and
John White for VDARE.com.
But, regardless of the
merits of the past immigration, the point is that Dr.
Steinlight no longer believes that mass immigration is
in the interests of American Jewry.
One reason is that it will
lead to “diminished Jewish political power.” He
acknowledges that Jews have political influence vastly
outside their numbers and says they should not be
apologetic for that. After the Holocaust, he believes
Jews couldn`t afford to be apolitical.
One manifestation of this
Jewish political influence: America`s support for
Israel. According to Dr. Steinlight, Jewish groups have
succeeded in securing American support for Israel “by
default,” because there was no other group in
America that was as passionate about the issue.
However, as Muslims pour into this country, they are
likely to act as a counterbalance and could possibly
prevent America from supporting Israel.
If current immigration and
birth rates continue, Muslims will eventually outnumber
Jews in America in the next twenty years, if not
sooner. They already outnumber Jews in Canada and every
European country. In France and Britain, the Muslim-Jew
ratio is ten to one.
Steinlight believes that this should trouble Jews—and
all Americans—not just because of potential problems
with terrorism, but also because of anti-Semitic
violence. In Europe, where there is a large Muslim
population, anti-Semitic violence has rapidly increased
in recent years. The EU recently commissioned a study
on anti-Semitic violence that determined that young
Arabs were responsible for most of it. The EU shelved
the report and re-commissioned the study, deciding, as
Steinlight put it,
“rather like the famous lines of Claude Rains in
Casablanca” to `round up the usual suspects.` And
they rounded up the usual suspects: skinheads, the
followers of Le Pen and so on and so forth.”
Similarly, in the U.S.,
at the offices of Jewish organizations where everyone
has to enter through bulletproof glass, metal detectors,
and concrete barriers because of the threat of Muslim
terrorism, the staff devotes their time to
“talking about the
threats posed by evangelical Christians or how they can
increase publicity for Mel Gibson`s film
The Passion of Christ, or how they can castigate
Mormons for converting dead Jews.”
Dr. Steinlight says he has discussed the
immigration question with many prominent Jewish leaders.
Some have privately agreed with him on the problems
posed by increased Muslim immigration, but are hesitant
to say so publicly because open borders has been an
article of faith for many Jews. Dr. Steinlight believes
that it is only a matter of time before more Jews and
Jewish groups begin to support immigration reform.
He reported that, after he addressed the
board of a Jewish organization about the problems of
Arab immigration, one leftist member told him “I`m
proud of my organization`s support for generous
immigration, but why can`t we just not let Arabs in?”
In the question time, CIS executive
director Mark Kirkorian (e-mail
him) asked if, indeed, it was possible or desirable
to stop Muslim immigration without limiting immigration
from Latinos and other ethnic groups.
Dr. Steinlight responded that he did not
believe that it would politically possible to limit
immigration by national origin, so across the board cuts
would be necessary. This would have to be buttressed by
banning certain radical sects of Islam, just as
Communists were banned from immigrating in the past, and
by racially profiling Arabs.
Besides, Steinlight did not think that
Latino immigration was desirable either. The reason is
that, while most white Americans are very sensitive to
Jewish concerns, immigrants from Latin and Central
“steeped in a culture of theological anti-Semitism
that`s defied the post-Vatican II enlightenment of
European and North American Catholicism. Nor have they a
mitigating history of familiarity with Jews, little
knowledge and no direct or familial experience of the
Holocaust, and regard Jews simply as among the most
privileged of white Americans. An ADL study found 47
percent of Latinos hold strongly anti-Semitic
Many VDARE.com readers may not
agree that ensuring American aid to Israel, or the fact
that Latino Catholics are not immersed in the teachings
of the Second Vatican Council, are the most compelling
reasons to support immigration restriction.
But if more Jews begin to support a
more restrictive immigration policy, it will certainly
be a welcome development.
As Dr. Steinlight noted, Jews have
a great deal of political influence that they have
wielded to promote open borders in the past. If they
used that influence to support immigration reform, it
will certainly help the restrictionist cause.
The immigration reform movement is
a coalition. To succeed, it must include groups who
have disparate views on other issues.