web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Stranger Danger


Not since the height of the Cold War has our nation been this wary of foreigners, or this uncertain as to how to best respond to external threats to our national security.

Illegal immigration remains a major concern, both in terms of how to prevent and what to do to with the estimated twelve million illegal immigrants who have already entered the country. According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, the overwhelming majority of Americans think their country’s immigration policies need to be seriously overhauled. And despite vigorous protests against Arizona’s stringent new immigration enforcement law, a majority of Americans support it, even though they acknowledge it may lead to racial profiling.

Still, Americans remain deeply divided about what to do to address the immigration conundrum. According to the poll, the public broadly agrees (78 percent) the country must do more along its border to keep illegal immigrants out. This consensus fractures, however, on the question of the exact role of states in enforcing immigration law, which is normally a federal responsibility.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled said the federal government, not the states, should determine the laws addressing illegal immigration. But 51 percent said the Arizona law, which gives local police officers broad power to detain and check the status of people they suspect are in the country illegally, was “about right” in its approach to the problem. Thirty-six percent said it went too far and nine percent said it did not go far enough.

Another concern for Americans is the scourge of terrorism that increasingly threatens this country. Faisal Shahzad’s near-success in detonating explosives in Times Square was just one in a series of planned and/or executed terrorist plots designed to intimidate the American people. Together, they have reinforced in the national psyche awareness that Islamic militarism is alive and well and carrying out its insidious agenda.

Apparently even our government officials do not have much confidence in our ability to address this pressing issue. House Republican leader John Boehner recently accused the Obama administration of not having a good plan to prevent domestic terrorist attacks. “Frankly most of us believe that the strategy ought to be preventing such attacks,” said Boehner, “not counting on our luck to catch them at the last moment.”

And even when we are fortunate enough to have averted tragedy, we cannot seem to agree on how to treat the suspects once they’re in custody. Civil libertarians continue to insist that suspected terrorists be read their Miranda rights like all other miscreants, despite the fact that this protection will typically keep law enforcement officials from gaining valuable intelligence about terrorist operatives.

Thankfully, even the Obama administration is waking up to the realization that individual rights sometimes must be pushed aside when public safety is at risk. Attorney General Eric Holder recently told ABC’s “This Week” that while “the [Miranda] system we have in place has proven to be effective,” the Obama administration is open to modifying such protections to deal with the “threats that we now face.”

Clearly, a more coherent legislative strategy is needed to address this growing problem. However, we as American Jews must be hopeful that such legislation will not co-opt extremist positions such as the recent proposal by Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman that American terrorists be stripped of their citizenship.

The concept is inherently flawed because it supposes that naturalized terrorists will be deterred from their ideological mission by the prospect of losing their American citizenship. Such an assumption is highly questionable, particularly when their missions are designed to result in their own deaths. And even if such a threat did concern them, they could rest comfortably knowing it is quite difficult for law enforcement officials to identify the next would-be American terrorist (officials say there was nothing in Shahzad’s background check that would have raised any red flags).

More significantly, Lieberman, as a Jew, should be wary of introducing any such legislation. After all, it wasn’t such a long time ago that the Nazis decried German Jews as enemies of the Fatherland and stripped them of their citizenship, a major step in achieving their answer to the Jewish Question.

And while we understandably bristle at any comparison between this historically benevolent and hospitable country and Nazi Germany, apparently not everyone sees it that way. In the words of Los Angeles councilman Paul Koretz, “We can’t let this advance any further. It is absolutely dangerous.”

The U.S. has seen its fair share of discriminatory xenophobes who at different points in time went to great lengths to keep foreigners far from American shores, from the 19th century Know Nothing Party and the KKK to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Most damaging for Jews desperately seeking asylum from abject poverty, persecutions, the ravages of war-torn Europe and Nazism were the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 and the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924. These laws slowed Jewish immigration down significantly.

Jews who did manage to reach America during this period, like those who had arrived earlier, were subjected to virulent anti-Semitism as showcased during the Leo Frank trial, in Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent, and on Father Charles Coughlin’s popular radio program. They were also forced to endure a quieter but no less damaging anti-Semitism that expressed itself in the marketplace, in social clubs, in universities admissions offices and in residency restrictions. It took several decades for many of those anti-Jewish attitudes to begin to dissipate.

Let us hope our legitimate security concerns will not make it all too easy for fear and paranoia to replace fact and civility.

About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting (ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at 212-470-6139 or at president@impactfulcoaching.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Stranger Danger”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PA's soccer chief Jibril Rajoub, a member of the Fatah Central Committee.
Mass Arrests of FIFA Officials Omit PA Terrorist Rajoub
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

Abbas and Obama

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel to on peace process

Ronal Shoval Voting

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Ayelet Shaked

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

Rabbi Naphtali Hoff

We must create an atmosphere of complete intolerance for such conduct, while reminding our children that we can take pride in our unique and distinctive purpose without knocking others.

In which specific respects are we to attempt to “relive” yetzias Mitzrayim?

Until recent times, every powerful nation that has ever ruled the world has been fundamentally anti-Semitic.

The Holocaust was the latest attempt of Amalek to destroy the special bond that we enjoy with God.

A central concept in any discussion about happiness is achieving clarity. “Ain simcha ela k’hataras hasefeikos” – there is no joy as that experienced with the removal of doubt.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

He ruthlessly crushed the revolt, and, despite lacking official Roman sanction, ordered the rebel leaders put to death without trial.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/stranger-danger/2010/05/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: