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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘immigrants’

NPR Takes the Side of Multiculturalism

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

From the NPR website:

NPR this week is introducing a new team that will cover race, ethnicity and culture. Code Switch is the name of the new blog. Code-switching is the practice of shifting between different languages or different ways of expressing yourself in conversations.

Honestly folks, do we need more “race, ethnicity and culture?”

Do we need more ethnic politics, based on the proposition that, for example, only a Hispanic person — whatever that is — can understand the concerns of other Hispanics?

Do we need more emphasis on ethnic and gender studies in our schools? Especially when such courses are often presented from a separatist point of view, one which emphasizes the victimhood of a particular group and its need for reparations of various kinds?

Do we need to encourage particular groups to see themselves as separate from other groups and in competition with them?

Do we need to create even more hypersensitivity to the slightest instances of ethnic stereotyping? Do we need for these issues to be uppermost in our consciousnesses at all times? Do we need more restrictions on speech due to political correctness?

Tribalism is a normal human characteristic, which evolved as a response to pressures created when disparate groups encountered each other. Like many aspects of human nature, tribalism can be constructive or it can be destructive. Tribalism is the root of patriotism and nationalism, which I see as generally good things (many will disagree, but that’s part of my point). But tribalism can also lead to conflict, and when multiple groups within a nation give their primary loyalty to their group rather than to the nation, such conflict is unavoidable.

In much of the world this kind of conflict is the rule rather than the exception. Lebanon has been racked by ethnic and religious conflicts for generations; Iraq and Syria can only be held together by totalitarian regimes. The most stable countries in the world are ethnically homogeneous and when this homogeneity is disturbed by an influx of immigrants the result is internal conflict, such as we are seeing now in Europe. Israel faces a tremendously difficult task of finding a modus vivendi among its Jewish and Arab citizens (one could consider the Haredim a separate culture as well).

The U.S. chose a different, but still practical, path. It was intended to be different from ethnically-based nations, following the now-unpopular path of the “melting pot” in which a new, American, culture would be created from people of different cultures who, while retaining some distinctive characteristics, would primarily see themselves as Americans, loyal to the American nation as a whole.

The melting pot was criticized by those who said that it didn’t exist: in fact, they argued, the majority white Anglo-Saxon culture simply erased the others, sometimes brutally. At the same time, disadvantaged status was inherited and didn’t “melt” away, they said. Individuals lost essential parts of their heritage in the process of “assimilation.” They proposed to replace it with a policy of “multiculturalism“:

Multiculturalism is closely associated with “identity politics,” “the politics of difference,” and “the politics of recognition,” all of which share a commitment to revaluing disrespected identities and changing dominant patterns of representation and communication that marginalize certain groups (Young 1990, Taylor 1992, Gutmann 2003). Multiculturalism is also a matter of economic interests and political power; it demands remedies to economic and political disadvantages that people suffer as a result of their minority status.

Multiculturalists take for granted that it is “culture” and “cultural groups” that are to be recognized and accommodated. Yet multicultural claims include a wide range of claims involving religion, language, ethnicity, nationality, and race. Culture is a notoriously overbroad concept and all of these categories have been subsumed by or equated with the concept of culture (Song 2008). Language and religion are at the heart of many claims for cultural accommodation by immigrants. The key claim made by minority nations is for self-government rights. Race has a more limited role in multicultural discourse. Antiracism and multiculturalism are distinct but related ideas: the former highlights “victimization and resistance” whereas the latter highlights “cultural life, cultural expression, achievements, and the like” (Blum 1992, 14). Claims for recognition in the context of multicultural education are demands not just for recognition of aspects of a group’s actual culture (e.g. African American art and literature) but also for the history of group subordination and its concomitant experience (Gooding-Williams 1998). (“Multiculturalism,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Sep. 24, 2010).

Multiculturalism is associated with the academic Left and post-colonialism. An academic fashion, it is a dangerous one. Europe has taken this path, and we can see the results. Much of the criticism of Israel comes from the standpoint of multiculturalism. But Israel’s success is based on the primacy of one culture, the Jewish, Zionist one. It will continue to exist only if it can maintain this. There is no room there for multiculturalism.

Vic Rosenthal

Nadler Reintroducing Bill Helping Elderly Turn US Citizens Faster

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

On Friday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, reintroduced the Senior Citizenship Act in order to help elderly immigrants become citizens. For many older immigrants without extensive knowledge of the English language, the current waiting periods and exams required for citizenship have proved onerous. This legislation would take into account the difficulties particular to older immigrants in regard to waiting periods and exam requirements for citizenship.

“This commonsense bill would remove unnecessary hurdles for elderly immigrants who are seeking to become U.S. citizens,” said Nadler. “The Senior Citizenship Act is designed to make it easier for seniors, who may have trouble learning English or memorizing facts about American history, to become citizens if they are otherwise eligible. In my district in Brooklyn and Manhattan, in particular, there are many elderly immigrants who are unable to attain citizenship though they have thoroughly committed themselves to their adopted homeland.”

In order to become an American citizen, most immigrants must pass an exam on English and an exam on history and civics, among other requirements. However, if an immigrant is over the age of 50 and has been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least 20 years, or at least 15 years if over the age of 55, under current law they do not have to take the English literacy test when applying for citizenship. They do have to take the history and civics test, but it can be done in their native language. Additionally, if they are over the age of 60 and have been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for at least 20 years, they can take a simplified version of the history and civics test in their own language.

Unfortunately, these existing exemptions do not help elderly immigrants who have come to this country recently and speak little or no English. And, in some cases, especially for recent immigrants who are older than 75, it can be extremely difficult to memorize facts in order to pass the required history and civics exam.

The Senior Citizenship Act addresses these two problems by adding two additional exemptions to current requirements:

· First, it would exempt immigrants who are over 65 years old and have been lawful permanent residents of the United States for at least five years from having to take the English literacy exam. They still would be required to pass the civics and history exam, but this could be done in their native language.

· Second, it would exempt immigrants who are over 75 years old and have been lawful permanent residents of the United States for at least five years from having to take the history and civics exam altogether.

Yori Yanover

Jewish Groups Rally for Immigrants with Sign What Would Moses Do’

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Carrying signs reading “Don’t Deport My Bubbe” and “What Would Moses Do?,” Jewish demonstrators representing several organizations participated Wednesday in the Rally for Citizenship in Washington.

The Jewish groups rallied on the west lawn of the Capitol alongside Latinos, Catholics, Unitarians, union members and women’s groups.

Members of Jews United for Justice, HIAS, the American Jewish Committee, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the newly created Jewish Justice Roundtable wore light blue shirts with the slogan “We Were Strangers Too” during the speech- and music-filled afternoon.

On the back of their shirts, in black marker, the marchers listed where their relatives had lived before immigrating to America. The countries varied from Russia, Romania and Poland to the more unusual Newfoundland and Norway.

“Jews are from around the world. We all have immigration stories not so far in the past,” said Hadar Susskind, director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action. “We have personal and communal stories.”

JTA

With an Anti-Semitic Holland, Where Is It Safe for Jews?

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

A few years ago in Amsterdam I was shown the most popular manual published in the Netherlands, in Dutch, on how to raise one’s children as proper Muslims. The book included virulently anti-Semitic passages, based on Muslim holy texts. After the Jewish community objected, the authorities forced the publisher to put white tape over the offending passages. The tape could easily be peeled off by purchases so that these words could be read.

Separately, consider what has just happened. A Turkish-Dutch researcher publicized a record of systematic anti-Semitism among other Muslims in the Netherlands, including a dramatic video that showed teenage boys calling for genocide and praising Hitler.

What happened? The researcher, Mehmet Sahin, had to go into hiding after being accused by others of being a Jew and a Zionist.

The growing anti-Semitism in Western Europe is like that. The European Union, governments, and the media paste a white tape over the problem to conceal it or pretend to do something about it. But when one peels back the tape the hatred is revealed as growing and being passed onto the next generation.

While one doesn’t want to exaggerate rising anti-Semitism in Europe – mostly from Muslim immigrants and their children but facilitated and even reflected by the increasingly intellectually hegemonic left – the growth of anti-Jewish hatred is enormous. Some people view this as fear-mongering, pointing to other developments that show the glass to be half full. Indeed, the hostility of European governments toward Israel has often been exaggerated. The situation is actually better than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

Yet the broader question is one of social trends and the behavior of institutions, especially the mass media and universities, which are generally becoming not just critical but viciously so of Israel and periodically Jews generally.

Take the Netherlands, a mild-mannered country that prides itself on moderation in all things. Traditionally, the Netherlands was friendly to Israel and while it has always had its anti-Semites and even, historically, fascists, it had far less proportionately than other European countries during the last half-century. In other words, if things are bad in the Netherlands, they’re really bad.

Last year, the chief rabbi of the Netherlands spoke in a published interview in which he spoke extensively about his love for the country, the good treatment of Jews there, and other such points. Asked at the end, however, whether there was any future for Jews in the country he said, “No,” and advised the community to move to Israel.

That doesn’t mean the Netherlands is a maelstrom of anti-Semitism. It isn’t. But there’s a growing anti-Semitic sector which consists of two parts: Muslim immigrants and their offspring, and the far left that is so often dominant in the Netherlands –as in other Western countries.

The Dutch government, unlike others in Europe, has defined Hezbollah as a terrorist group and while less favorable to Israel than its predecessor remains on good terms with Israel. Yet shocking slanders appear about Israel in the mainstream Dutch media.

To cite just one example, on March 17, 2010, NRC Handelsblad, Holland’s most prestigious newspaper, published a front-page article claiming the “Israel lobby” was threatening to defeat President Barack Obama’s health plan to blackmail him regarding his Israel policy. While statements on other matters by Israel’s government are evaluated in a cynical way, the basis for this story was a single left-wing blogger.

An observer who wants to avoid exaggerating the problem warns about: “A rising tide of anti-Semitism that the top level is unwilling to address out of a fear of being labeled a racist or out of a fear of losing the all-important Muslim vote,” which is vital for the Left in elections. There is no effective opposition in the political sphere. The center dithers; some on the right speak out but do nothing effective.

A Dutch person involved in inter-communal work adds: “I know many upstanding young Muslims who are as appalled by anti-Semitism,” and these voices should not be forgotten. It should also be remembered that there have been attacks on mosques over the years. In contrast, though, a moderate left politician described in great detail how her family was forced to leave their neighborhood by verbal and at times violent harassment by Muslim youths there.

Barry Rubin

Jewish Groups Urge Faster Path to Citizenship for Immigrants

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

In a letter timed for Passover, a broad array of Jewish groups urged President Obama and Congress to facilitate a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“American Jews know too well the impact of restrictive immigration policies, and we have seen how the immigration issue can become a flashpoint for xenophobia,” said the letter sent March 22, spearheaded by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and including signatories representing all four Jewish religious streams as well as the major Jewish civil rights groups and the federation and public policy umbrellas.

“We are concerned the failure of national leaders to fix the broken immigration system has fueled racist, nativist, and extremist groups who blame immigrants for our country’s problems, and has been a central factor in the spread of state and local policies and laws that legalize discrimination against immigrants,” it says.

The letter, signed by 19 national groups and dozens of local groups and clergy, calls for legislation that “brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows by providing a pathway to citizenship, creates safe and legal avenues for future flows of immigrants, reunites families, establishes border protection and enforcement policies that enhance our national security, and accords all immigrants the responsibilities and rights required for full integration into American society.”

It asks that such a system be “realistic” and that citizenship be available “within a reasonable timeframe of years, not decades.”

The letter also urges reform that “fixes the broken system for admitting and integrating refugees and asylum seekers.”

JTA

Please, America, Learn from Egypt’s Experience: Avoid Socialism

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

If America opens its borders without restrictions, more than half the world’s population will come here. It is America’s capitalist system that is still a dream come true to many who are happy to leave their stagnant, dysfunctional economies, burdened with both class envy and the redistribution by government bureaucrats of hard-earned money. Many immigrants risked their lives to trade their substandard, government-run health insurance for life in America, where hard work is rewarded with a better standard of living for most of its people than anywhere ever before.

Immigrants in America today are faced with a dilemma: they are being told that they must deny their appreciation of the capitalist system that brought them here in the first place. Their children are taught to reject their parents’ experience of hard work to get ahead and regard their parents as victims of discrimination and abuse. They are rewarded for complaining and for rejecting free enterprise, self-reliance, assimilation and all the American values that made this country the envy of the world. They are told to look at the half empty glass and are encouraged to throw out their freedoms for food stamps. They are told to hate white people, and those who do not are shamed as traitors to their race.

Today in America, every national origin and race is encouraged to find a minority group to belong to. We are encouraged to get into a system of tribalism that turns us into factions with an “us against them” mentality, something we have suffered from in the Middle East.

In Egypt, we suffered under socialism and the government’s empty promises of equality through seizing wealth from the rich to give to the poor. We ended up with terrible unintended consequences; the rich did get poorer but the poor also got poorer: nobody won. The culture of envy and punishing the rich never brought equality or improved conditions for the poor. The great thing about America is that the poor do not have to stay poor and the rich can lose their wealth if they invest it unwisely. What immigrants see is the high rate of mobility between classes.

Americans are left uninformed by their media on how the rest of the world lives. Try watching “House Hunters International,” where Americans can see for themselves that homes and apartments around the world are both unaffordable to the general public and often unlivable by American standards.

A wonderful, hard working Hispanic family, after years in which the mother worked as a cleaning lady and the father a construction worker, saw all their children graduated from college without ever paying a cent for their education, and now all with wonderful jobs. The children of that family are now are speaking of discrimination, how California was part of Mexico and how it is only fair to redistribute wealth. This was the lesson they learned in college.

It should take just one visit to the Middle East to understand what America is all about. Every American teenager should get a chance to travel and live in a third world country. Some countries might provide government health insurance, but health insurance is a piece of paper; it does not mean good health care. Many countries that provide government health care have high unemployment, terrible shortages of food and apartments and lack many other luxuries Americans take for granted. In America today, politicians are moving in the same direction, possibly deliberately, for votes: high unemployment, less home ownership and more government interference in our lives from cradle to grave.

America is heading towards a society similar to where we immigrants came from, where the government turns into the keeper of a human zoo where we all live in cages waiting for government to throw food at us every day. But even the government will not be able to sustain the zoo expenses. The U.S. government is on its way to becoming the nightmare totalitarian system from which we immigrants tried to escape.

Left on their own, immigrants are grateful to work hard and enjoy the American system, but soon after we are here, we are told by the popular culture that we are victims, must act like ones and we must not accept what America can offer. America wanted more from us when it came time to vote. We are told that the system is rigged and that “whites”, who welcomed us in the millions for centuries, are bigoted and racists. Many immigrants go along with the anti-American propaganda for the sake of approval and benefits. Immigrants are now told to hold on to their old culture, religion, traditional clothes, customs, language, and even some of the brutal, archaic laws and customs that many of us came here to escape from in the first place. The media and “conventional wisdom” now tell us that America is no better than the oppressive systems from which we fled.

Nonie Darwish

The Numbers Game

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

There’s only so many ways to skin a cat or win an election. Like gambling, you don’t just take the easy money, you look for the big score. The Republicans have always taken the easy money, setting up their own dime store New Deal after losing to FDR and Truman, setting up affirmative action and HMOs after JFK and LBJ; scoring short term political victories and long term defeats.

As we speak, a small horde of consultants and would-be consultants is urging the Republican Party to take the easy money of amnesty, tax hikes and anything else that will make them an inoffensive version of last election’s Democratic Party. And if any of that is followed by a victory, then the consultants order an expensive bottle of wine and the left goes on planning another big score.

The key to winning the game is in the numbers. Demographics.

The weakness of the kind of state that Western liberals love to set up, the one with 4-day workweeks where everyone is either in a university or a union, where no one goes to church or synagogue, where having more than 2 kids is frowned on and retirement can be had before your hair goes white, is that it demographically trends conservative. Not necessarily what most conservatives think of as being conservative, but nevertheless those retired 60-year olds who have one daughter named Inga and take four vacations a year, don’t much like change. They don’t like America, Israel, banks, war, monarchy and a lot of the things that the left expects them not to like; but they also form societies that lack the left’s radical appetite for change.

Older societies trend conservative. And a low birth rate means that the society will be old and the growth in children will come from more traditional households. Those children can be broken down in the mandatory public education system and influenced through cultural dementia, but the long run prospects don’t look good for the left. Eventually you end up with a society where everyone expects to retire at 55, even though there aren’t enough younger workers to take their place, and half of those potential younger workers are getting useless advanced degrees or dreaming of moving to America, while the other half are joining some revivalist religious movement. And that’s a bad deal either way.

The left’s utopias are not only economically unsustainable (what else is new) but also politically and demographically unsustainable. The economics can’t be fixed, but the politics and demographics can. As with all of the left’s solutions, they involve finding ways of making things much, much worse. And their answer to the demographic and political problem is immigration. Bring in young people from elsewhere who will have lots of kids and vote the straight slanted ticket. Preferably the kind who won’t get along with the locals and will be taught to constantly complain about racism, even though back where they’re from, racism was as accepted as daylight drug deals and beheadings.

Bring them in, run their kids through the same system, add a few holidays to the calendar, enjoy the new ethnic foods and hopefully teach their kids to stop having so many kids if they want to retire at 55 and fill their house with knickknacks from their vacations in Greece and Brazil. And then fill the new gap with more immigrants. It’s a plan that makes as much economic sense as the European Union and is twice as sustainable. After all lots of people in the world want free health care and a passport from a country that won’t collapse into a murderous civil war when the price of bread goes through the minaret.

And if the assimilation program doesn’t work, well then you only have to bring in half as many immigrants next time around, because all those countries you brought those immigrants from are now in your own country. Saves on jet fuel and coast guards. Not to mention language lessons, though it usually turns out that you need them anyway because your excellent schools no longer seem to be doing such a good job of teaching your own language and what used to be your language is now an argot composed of the languages of your immigrants and bits of your own language processed into the fake street slang of rap stars. And before you know it, you’re using it too.

It’s a dead end. It’s Rome with the barbarians sorting through the loot. It’s China when the wall fell. It’s Byzantium when the Bedouin raiders poured through and began the centuries long process of tearing apart Middle Eastern Christianity, that Islam wrapped up. It’s the long fall of civilization into night with a bloody pension and a hell of a retirement plan lost somewhere in the middle of a pile of broken marble columns.

But it keeps the left alive. Without diversity, the left is a bunch of corpulent unions protecting their pensions while the young people look at brochures of London and Los Angeles and finish their fourth degree. Without it, the left eventually dries up, blows away in the wind and dies after running a few protests against austerity and then has to implement it anyway.

Diversity isn’t a moral principle. It’s oxygen for a dead movement. It’s the only way that the left can stay alive long enough to fulfill the accidental mission of every parasite by killing its host. It’s the numbers game and as long as the left can cobble together these coalitions built on the backs of immigrants and tied together with community associations and piles of free stuff, then it can go on squatting on a society, dipping its proboscis in the sweet nectar of wealth and power, and then when the nectar runs out, switching to sipping its blood.

The left needs immigration to run its numbers game. It needs immigration to survive. It needs immigration to force further change on societies that would be static if left to their own devices. It needs immigration to provide it with a permanently disadvantaged working class from an infinite supply of billions. It needs to make its own failed society fail in new ways by injecting other failed societies into it.

Play the diversity of numbers and the kids stop dreaming of London and LA and start hanging out at clubs where diversity seems to make life more exciting. The declining native upper class and the immigrant working class shake hands over the bodies of the native working class and the whole broken train rumbles forward into the night.

But this numbers game depends on no opposition party emerging to represent the people left out of this arrangement. And there are two kinds of opposition parties. The cheerfully capitalist party whose leaders have gone to all the right schools and are obscenely enthusiastic about bringing some fresh blood into the country. And the other kind. The ones who aren’t interested in fresh blood.

The opposition party and its composition doesn’t matter that much until the crunch kicks in. That is what happens when economic unsustainability begins to outrace all the imaginary numbers and the accounting tricks that involve selling debt in exchange for debt and building all the debt into a tall house of debt cards and the knives come out and the sacrifices begin. And like all cannibal feasts, it’s a question of who gets cut and who does the cutting.

The unofficial cutting order on the left, after everything else has been drained, the rich have fled to their tax havens and small businesses sell things that fell off trucks on the way to the government giveaway, is native pensions, immigrant benefits and then their own salaries. The natives will howl, of course, but the question is will they be able to do anything more than howl.

The left can control the table but democracy is also a number. The right amount of votes can change the nature of the game entirely. It’s all a question of thinking long term and planning for the right moment, instead of the right sellout. Compromises don’t win elections, strategic tactical grievances do. And then when the moment comes, the overton window opens, the grievance gets hurled and the game changes.

The difference between the left and the right is that the left has a five-year plan and the right has a five-second plan. The left knows what it’s going to do four years from now when the numbers look even worse than they do today. But what is the right going to do? Run another cheerful capitalist who promises to use his Olympics experience to fix the economy, but never really seizes those grievances and goes for the throat? That’s what the left is counting on.

And until then maybe it’s time to serve up some more amnesty. Because who can have just one portion of a delicious demographic treat like unsustainable economics fused with millions of free votes?

No game is unwinnable. But you have to know the odds and play to win. Demographics, like all other games, is winnable, but you have to know how to play the game.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Daniel Greenfield

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/daniel-greenfield/the-numbers-game/2012/11/14/

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