April 01, 2010
[Previously by Charles Bloch: Human Events vs. Pat Buchanan]
This should not be too surprising. Jews are unfortunately over represented in the Open Borders lobby. Said lobby manages to turn every holiday—both religious and secular—into an excuse for immigration enthusiasm. And unlike say Christmas or Fourth of July, there at least appears to be some semblance of a connection between Passover and immigration.
shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye
were strangers in the land of Egypt." (Exodus
strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall
not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you
shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall
love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the
that the holiday offers some guidance to Jews on how to ethically address the modern question of American immigration." He quotes some of the aforementioned passages and rhetorically asks
"…Can we honestly say to ourselves that we don`t `wrong` the immigrants who are strangers in our land when we allow them to be paid less than minimum wage, or look the other way when contractors fail to provide safety equipment to workers doing dangerous jobs? When families are torn apart? Or when we detain or deport people without the due process that our own citizens would expect if they were faced with losing their homes or their liberty? The Jews are commanded over and over to welcome the stranger, but lawmakers across the country want to make it a crime to provide assistance of any kind to an undocumented immigrant." [Passover and Immigration,
But this is nonsense, as both a literal and metaphorical look at the Torah reveals.
The precise Hebrew word that is used for stranger or alien in the Torah is "Ger v`tohshav", which translates literally into "sojourner". Stephen Steinlight, a former national affairs director with the American Jewish Community, explains why these passages have absolutely no bearing on immigration policy:
"`Ger v`tohshav` is first used in Genesis 4:23 [actually Genesis
23:4] to describe Abraham when he dwells briefly with the Hittites in Kiryat
Arba, what is today
Hebron. Richard Elliot Friedman, a leading authority
on biblical language, translates the term as `alien` and
`visitor.` And every English dictionary defines sojourn
as a temporary stay. Given this translation, this
passage has absolutely no utility to those, including
leaders of mainstream Jewish organizations, who argue
that 12 million illegal aliens should be permitted to
remain permanently in the
It is also wrong to compare the Biblical Jews with modern day illegal aliens, because they immigrated legally.
"And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: `Say unto they brethren: This do ye: lade your beasts, and go, get you until the land of Canaan; and take your father and your households, and come unto me; and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye: take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come." (Genesis 45:17-18)
Beyond this, if one is to use the "immigrants are Israelites" analogy, then Americans must be Egyptians. Then we must ask: were the Israelites good for the Egyptians?
Clearly, Joseph and his small
family helped out economically by advising the Pharaoh
to store grain prior to a famine. While initially only a
handful of Israelites came to
The Pharaoh`s justification for the extreme measures against the Israelis was their sheer numbers:
"Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land." (Exodus 1:9-10)
While the Pharaoh`s measures were draconian, the people of Egypt did not deserve to be filled with locusts, plague, and have their first-born sons killed.
In this respect, the story of Exodus can be seen as a warning against the high costs of cheap labor.
Beyond the plagues set forth on the
Egyptians, the Israelites were not model immigrants.
Before Joseph even came to
The Israelites, hence never considered themselves to be part of the nation they joined, but rather a nation within a nation. Moses` life journey was to bring the Israelites to the promise land so that they could be their own nation.
Beyond these specific passages, anyone who has ever seen the old Cecil B. DeMille movie The Ten Commandments can spot immediately an obvious difference between the Israelites in Egypt and immigrants in America: The Israelites wanted to leave Egypt—while immigrants want to come to America.
The story of Passover is about the Israelites` flight from Egypt. Moses demanded to the Pharaoh "Let My People Go". Today`s illegal aliens are demanding "Let My People Stay"—and even "Let My People Invade".
Charles Bloch (email him) is a Jewish supporter of patriotic immigration reform.