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Immigration Myths (contd.): Zangwill and The Melting Pot
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April 25, 2001, 09:00 AM
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Israel Zangwill`s The Melting Pot was the hit of New York`s 1908 season. It has provided a metaphor for immigration enthusiasts ever since. (Not original with Zangwill, of course. Emerson had earlier used the term "smelting pot" for the same idea, and there are many other examples.)

The Melting Pot is available on the web, but there are some typos in that version, so VDARE has provided its own copy as a text file, based on Volume II of Zangwill`s works.

Here are some points of interest to VDARE`s readers:

Firstly, the book is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt, "in respectful recognition of his strenuous struggles against the forces that threaten to shipwreck the great republic which carries mankind and its fortunes."

Roosevelt was indeed opposed to pointless racial bigotry, and attracted a lot of criticism by asking Booker T. Washington to the White House for lunch. But he also made a famous speech to the Knights of Columbus telling them that America had no use for Americans who still clung to their allegiance to the old country.

Secondly, David Quixano is a refugee from Russia, which conducted vicious pogroms against its Jewish population under the Czar. (Russia was an Evil Empire even before Communism.) He has post-traumatic stress as a result. In America, he meets Baron Revendal, who ordered the massacre in his home town, and the Baron threatens to shoot him. 

Immigration reform moral: immigration can bring in the persecutors as well as the persecuted. If America wants to shelter people from persecution, the Government will have to take sides in every conflict in the world.

In a similar incident 81 years later, a Ukrainian immigrant murdered Ennis Cosby. Cosby`s mother blamed America.  She believed that Russia couldn`t be racist, when there were no blacks there. In fact, Russians, like most foreigners, are more racist than Americans. So people who don`t like hate crimes should rethink their enthusiasm for immigration.

Thirdly, The Melting Pot shows the way in which foreign governments rely on America`s open arms:

The wicked Baron shares his program for the Jews of Russia:

"One-third will be baptized, one-third massacred, the other third emigrated here."

His American interlocutor says: "We`re going to stop all alien immigration."

The wicked Baron: "To stop all alien–? But that is barbarous!"

So foreign despotisms can solve their internal problems by forced emigration.

This is more or less the position of the Mexican Government, which has always claimed the right to be moderately despotic, and run its economy into the ground, but wants the United States to provide a haven for refugees from Mexico`s political and economic policies.

Fourthly, Zangwill, long before The Melting Pot was written, had examined the problem of Arab-Jewish tension in what is now the State of Israel.

His conclusion: Israel would have to be a nation-state (i.e. more or less exclusively Jewish) if it wanted to be a democracy.

It`s probably best if you click on this article to read about his suggestions, lest VDARE be accused of anti-Arab racism just for quoting it.

To be fair to Zangwill, I should point out that he didn`t mean to cause the present Palestinian refugee crisis; he couldn`t have predicted that after Palestinian Arabs left for what he called the "million square miles" of Arabia, that the Arabs wouldn`t let them in.

Fifth,a  final quote from The Melting Pot should appeal to VDARE`s readers:

DAVID

A fig for your feuds and vendettas! Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians-into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American.

MENDEL

I should have thought the American was made already--eighty millions of him.

April 25, 2001