Meet Jay Shultz, president of the Am Yisrael Foundation and head of seven non-profit organizations serving the international community in Tel Aviv. What opportunities does Tel Aviv offer to immigrants from English-speaking countries and others planning to settle in Israel? Tune into the second part of this week’s Goldstein on Gelt podcast to find out!
Posts Tagged ‘immigration’
Two Jewish organizations have joined the Interfaith Alliance in calling on the U.S. Senate to include a ban on religious profiling in its immigration reform bill.
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Nancy Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, joined other religious leaders in criticizing an immigration reform bill, written by a bi-partisan group of senators nicknamed the “Gang of Eight,” for not including religion or natural origin in its list of items banned as profiling.
“This glaring loophole must be closed,” the Interfaith Alliance wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which currently is reviewing the proposal drafted by the Senate’s Gang of Eight.
“By omitting religion and national origin in this manner, Congress would effectively give law enforcement the go-ahead to target Americans based on these defining characteristics,” the alliance wrote in the letter.
The Heritage Institute report estimates that under amnesty the average legalized illegal household will take in $43,900 in benefits while paying a little over a third of that in taxes. Those numbers are grim from the standpoint of a tottering economy being asked to take on an even bigger pile of debt and they reveal an even grimmer view of the future.
Set aside the political debates, the tensions over multiculturalism, entitlements and the great political divide and those numbers reek of a country whose only future is poverty.
Subsidized poverty, even if we had the ability to continue subsidizing it forever, is still poverty. A Food Stamp Nation made up of slums full of bodegas and check cashing places does not offer any kind of future. Its only growth industries are in expensive government jobs or cheap service jobs leading to an economy of two tiers; one for workers and another for political workers.
“A report came out recently which showed what most Mexicans had long suspected – there is almost no social mobility in the country whatsoever. If you are born into poverty the chances are very high that you will die poor too,” a BBC report from Mexico concludes.
Now substitute America for Mexico. Imagine a society sharply divided between the working class and the government class where political connections mean more than any single other factor.
The report begins with the daughter of the Federal Attorney General for Consumer Protection shutting down a restaurant because they wouldn’t give her a seat and ends with two wealthy women abusing a police officer by calling him “asalariado” or “wage earner.”
Asalariado is becoming an insult in the United States. And the irony is that amnesty for illegal aliens may complete the process through which the people who came here looking to find opportunities that didn’t exist in Mexico will turn America into Mexico.
America hardly had any class issues because both the rich and the poor worked. A Carnegie or a Rockefeller might be able to buy and sell a thousand ordinary men, but still started out at the bottom of the ladder and never stopped working. To have proper class issues, you need a permanent leisure class to create that gap between those who work and those who do nothing.
In a dynamic economy, a leisure class is largely unsustainable. Inheriting a pile of money and then doing nothing is not likely to end well. But a dynamic economy depends on social mobility. An oligarchy regulates the economy into an impoverished predictability in which there is hardly any social mobility and a permanent leisure class. Its permanence depends not on the economy, but on its control.
Or to put it another way, suppose you have X millions of dollars to invest. Do you look for undervalued companies with a future or companies with political connections? In a dynamic economy, you invest based on merit. In an oligarchy, you invest based on political connections because the idea or the model are mostly worthless. The economy is divided up into spheres of influence carved out by interests and guilds.
In the age of Obama, a smart strategy is to invest in politically connected companies with bad business models and then get out before they go down. Nothing of worth or value will be created. Instead the wealth will circulate within the oligarchy and pay out profits with money harvested from the Asalariados, the suckers still trying to claw their way up instead of phlegmatically accepting their plight and cashing their government checks.
Eventually either the checks will get smaller or the price of milk will get higher. The Asalariados may look like suckers in the short term, but they’re still getting ahead in the long term. The grasshopper may shop for groceries without checking prices while the ant grits his teeth at the cash register, but when the economic freeze comes, it’s the ant who has the skills to survive.
But the oligarchy is designed to keep the ant from climbing too high. The last time the ants climbed too high, feudalism collapsed and gave way to the free enterprise economy, and most of the thinkers of Europe spent centuries trying to figure out how to put everything back into a neatly controllable natural order with lots of farms and lots of cheerful people working on them without complaint.
What will be the long-term impact of the Apr. 15-19 Boston Marathon attack and the ensuing action-movie-style chase, killing a total of four and wounding 265?
Let’s start with what its impact will not be. It will not bring American opinion together; if the “United We Stand” slogan lasted brief months after 9/11, consensus after Boston will be even more elusive. The violence will not lead to Israeli-like security measures in the United States. Nor will it lead to a greater preparedness to handle deadly sudden jihad syndrome violence. It will not end the dispute over the motives behind indiscriminate Muslim violence against non-Muslims. And it certainly will not help resolve current debates over immigration or guns.
What it will do is very important: it will prompt some Westerners to conclude that Islamism is a threat to their way of life. Indeed, every act of Muslim aggression against non-Muslims, be it violent or cultural, recruits more activists to the anti-jihad cause, more voters to insurgent parties, more demonstrators to anti-immigrant street efforts, and more donors to anti-Islamist causes.
Education by murder is the name I gave this process in 2002; we who live in democracies learn best about Islamism when blood flows in the streets. Muslims began with an enormous stock of good will because the Western DNA includes sympathy for foreigners, minorities, the poor, and people of color. Islamists then dissipate this good will by engaging in atrocities or displaying supremacist attitudes. High profile terrorism in the West – 9/11, Bali, Madrid, Beslan, London – moves opinion more than anything else.
I know because I went through this process first hand. Sitting in a restaurant in Switzerland in 1990, Bat Ye’or sketched out for me her fears concerning Islamist ambitions in Europe but I thought she was alarmist. Steven Emerson called me in 1994 to tell me about the Council on American-Islamic Relations but I initially gave CAIR the benefit of the doubt. Like others, I needed time to wake to the full extent of the Islamist threat in the West.
Westerners are indeed waking up to this threat. One can get a vivid sense of trends by looking at developments in Europe, which on the topics of immigration, Islam, Muslims, Islamism and Shari’a (Islamic law) is ahead of North America and Australia by about twenty years. One sign of change is the growth of political parties focused on these issues, including the U.K. Independence Party, the National Front in France, the People’s Party in Switzerland, Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, the Progress Party in Norway and the Swedish Democrats. In a much-noted recent by-election, UKIP came in second, increasing its share of the vote from 4 percent to 28 percent, thereby creating a crisis in the Conservative party.
Swiss voters endorsed a referendum in 2009 banning minarets by at 58-42 margin, a vote more significant for its ratio than its policy implications, which were roughly nil. Public opinion polling at that time found that other Europeans shared these views roughly in these same proportions. Polling also shows a marked hardening of views over the years on these topics. Here (with thanks to Maxime Lépante) are some recent surveys from France:
* 67 percent say Islamic values are incompatible with those of French society * 70 percent say there are too many foreigners * 73 percent view Islam in negatively * 74 percent consider Islam intolerant * 84 percent are against the hijab in private spaces open to the public * 86 percent are favorable to strengthening the ban on the burqa As Soeren Kern notes, similar views on Islam appear in Germany. A recent report from the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach asked what qualities Germans associate with Islam:
* 56 percent: striving for political influence * 60 percent: revenge and retaliation * 64 percent: violence * 68 percent: intolerance toward other faiths * 70 percent: fanaticism and radicalism * 83 percent: discrimination against women In contrast, only 7 percent of Germans associate Islam with openness, tolerance, or respect for human rights.
These commanding majorities are higher than in earlier years, suggesting that opinion in Europe is hardening and will grow yet more hostile to Islamism over time. In this way, Islamist aggression assures that anti-Islamism in the West is winning its race with Islamism. High-profile Muslim attacks like the ones in Boston exacerbate this trend. That is its strategic significance. That explains my cautious optimism about repulsing the Islamist threat.
It was an uneventful day at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, in the autumn of 1996. Greg Robinson, a graduate student at New York University, was researching racial issues during the Roosevelt era. While skimming an index to the former president’s papers, Robinson’s eye chanced upon an entry for FDR’s “pre-presidential writings.” Out of curiosity, Robinson ordered the file on his next visit to the library. What he found would change his entire professional life.
It turned out that when Roosevelt was spending time in Georgia in the mid-1920s, he wrote a number of articles about the hot-button topic of the day, Japanese immigration. Robinson was shocked to read these words of FDR in a 1925 column for the Macon Daily Telegraph:
“Anyone who has traveled in the Far East knows that the mingling of Asiatic blood with European or American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results.”
The future president warned that “Japanese immigrants are not capable of assimilation into the American population.”
Not that FDR opposed all immigration; he favored the admission of some Europeans, so long as they had what he called “blood of the right sort.” In his articles, Roosevelt emphasized the need to disperse European immigrants around the country in order to speed up their assimilation – something he had proposed in a 1920 interview with the Brooklyn Eagle: “If we had the greater part of the foreign population of the City of New York distributed to different localities upstate we should have a far better condition.”
FDR’s pre-presidential writings about Japanese immigrants became the centerpiece of Robinson’s critically acclaimed 2001 book, By Order of the President. Historians have hailed Robinson, today a professor of American history at the University of Quebec at Montreal, for showing the connection between Roosevelt’s views about Asians and his otherwise inexplicable decision to intern thousands of Japanese-Americans in detention camps during World War II, even though none of them had been engaged in espionage.
But the significance of the 1920s articles does not end there. It turns out that Roosevelt’s attitude toward Asians also helps explain another inexplicable policy of his: keeping the level of Jewish immigration far below the legal limits.
Why a Ketubah Was Not Enough
The U.S. immigration system severely limited the number of German Jews admitted during the Nazi years to about 26,000 annually – but even that quota was less than 25 percent filled during most of the Hitler era, because the Roosevelt administration piled on so many extra requirements for would-be immigrants.
For example, there were instances in which an applicant showed the U.S. Consulate in Berlin a copy of his Jewish marriage certificate (ketubah) but was unable to secure his civil marriage certificate from an uncooperative Nazi bureaucrat. The Consulate refused to recognize the validity of the Jewish certificate and therefore considered the applicant’s children to be illegitimate. Having illegitimate children disqualified the applicant on the grounds of “moral character.”
Another example: as of 1941, merely having a close relative in Europe was enough to disqualify an applicant. That was because Roosevelt administration officials concocted a theory that the Nazis could threaten the relative and thereby force the immigrant to become a spy for Hitler.
Why did the administration actively seek to discourage and disqualify Jewish refugees from coming to the United States? Why didn’t the president quietly tell his State Department (which administered the immigration system) to fill the quotas for Germany and Axis-occupied countries to the legal limit?
Some 190,000 quota places from Germany and its Axis partners were left unused during the Hitler years. That means merely permitting the existing quotas to be filled would have saved an additional 190,000 lives. It would not have required a fight with Congress or the anti-immigration forces; it would have involved minimal political risk to the president. Yet the president did not do so. Why?
‘Too Many Jews’ at Harvard
Every president’s policy decisions are shaped by a variety of factors – some political, some personal. In Roosevelt’s case, a pattern of private remarks about Jews, some of which I recently discovered at the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem and other sources, are revealing – and they paint a very different picture from the one presented in the new book FDR and the Jews, by Richard Breitman and Allan Lichtman, recently reviewed by Gregory Wallance in The Jewish Press (front-page essay, April 12).
In 1923, for example, as a member of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, Roosevelt became concerned that, as he put it, “a third of the entering class at Harvard were Jews.” He helped institute a quota to limit the number of Jews admitted to 15 percent of each class. Even many years later, FDR was still proud of doing that – and said so to Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. in 1941.
In 1938, FDR privately suggested to Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the era’s most prominent American Jewish leader, that Jews in Poland were dominating the economy and were to blame for provoking anti-Semitism there.
In 1941, Roosevelt remarked at a cabinet meeting that there were too many Jews among federal employees in Oregon.
In May 1943, President Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the White House to discuss the war effort and plans for the postwar era. At one point in the discussion, FDR offered what he called “the best way to settle the Jewish question.”
Vice President Henry Wallace, who recorded portions of the conversation in his diary, said Roosevelt spoke approvingly of a plan “to spread the Jews thin all over the world.”
Wallace added: “The president said he had tried this out in [Meriwether] County, Georgia [where Roosevelt lived in the 1920s] and at Hyde Park on the basis of adding four or five Jewish families at each place. He claimed that the local population would have no objection if there were no more than that.”
Limiting the Jews
The most detailed of FDR’s statements about Jews was made during his meeting on January 17, 1943, in Casablanca, with leaders of the new local regime in Allied-liberated North Africa. U.S. ambassador Robert Murphy remarked that the 330,000 Jews in North Africa were “very much disappointed that ‘the war for liberation’ had not immediately resulted in their being given their complete freedom.”
(Before the war, when the Jews lived under the colonial French regime, they enjoyed rights similar to French citizens. But when the pro-Nazi Vichy French took over the French colonies in 1940, they stripped Jews of those rights. In 1943, upon the defeat of the Vichyites, the Jews had expected their rights would be restored.)
According to the official record of the conversation (later published by the U.S. government in its “Foreign Relations of the United States” series), the president replied that “the number of Jews should be definitely limited to the percentage that the Jewish population in North Africa bears to the whole of the North African population,” which “would not permit them to overcrowd the professions.”
FDR explained that his plan “would further eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany, namely, that while they represented a small part of the population, over fifty percent of the lawyers, doctors, school teachers, college professors, etc, in Germany, were Jews.” (It is not clear where FDR obtained those wildly inflated statistics.)
There is evidence of other troubling private remarks by FDR. He dismissed pleas for Jewish refugees as “Jewish wailing” and “sob stuff.” He expressed (to a U.S. senator) his pride that “there is no Jewish blood in our veins.” He characterized a tax maneuver by the publisher of The New York Times as “a dirty Jewish trick.”
But the most common theme in Roosevelt’s private statements about Jews has to do with his perception that they were “overcrowding” many professions, exercising undue influence, and needed to be “spread out thin” so as to keep them in check.
FDR regarded Asians as having innate racial characteristics that made them untrustworthy. Likewise, he apparently viewed with disdain what he saw as the innate characteristics of Jews. Admitting significant numbers of “non-assimilable” Jewish or Asian immigrants did not fit comfortably in FDR’s vision of America.
FDR’s Other Motives
President Roosevelt’s unflattering private opinions about Jews do not explain everything about his response to the Holocaust. Certainly some of his decisions were motivated by other factors:
• Angering the Arabs – FDR refused to pressure the British to open Palestine to refugees because he was concerned about angering the Arab world. He told his cabinet in 1944 that he opposed a pro-Zionist resolution in Congress because it might provoke Arab terrorist attacks on Allied positions in the Mideast, leading to “the death of a hundred thousand men.” (The resolution eventually passed; it did not provoke any attacks.)
In fact, FDR was so averse to being seen as pro-Zionist that he rejected even a request to permit the Palestine [Jewish] Symphony Orchestra to name one of its theaters the “Roosevelt Amphitheatre.” No wonder Rabbi Wise privately believed FDR was “hopelessly and completely under the domination of the English Foreign Office [and] the Colonial Office.”
• Election-Year Politics: Although President Roosevelt quickly approved a 1943 proposal to create a government agency to rescue medieval art and architecture in war-torn Europe, he fought tooth and nail against creating a refugee rescue agency. Presumably the main reason was fear that helping refugees would be unpopular. In the end, though, pressure from Congress, Jewish activists, and the Treasury Department was about to explode into an election-year scandal over his administration’s sabotage of rescue opportunities. FDR pre-empted his critics by establishing the War Refugee Board in early 1944.
• Indifference: The Roosevelt administration’s rejection of requests to bomb Auschwitz seems to have stemmed primarily from a mindset that not even minimal resources should be expended on helping the Jews.
That said, the revelations about FDR’s personal prejudices do help explain key questions such as why he suppressed immigration far below its legal limits; why he turned away the refugee ship St. Louis; and why he created only one token haven, for just 982 refugees (in Oswego, NY) when there was plenty of room where refugees could have stayed temporarily until the end of the war.
Of course Roosevelt is not the only American president to have been revealed to have made unfriendly remarks about Jews. A diary kept by Harry Truman included statements such as “The Jews, I find, are very, very selfish.” Richard Nixon’s denunciations of Jews as “very aggressive and obnoxious, “ among other anti-Jewish statements, were belatedly revealed in tapes of Oval Office conversations.
But the revelation of Franklin Roosevelt’s sentiments will shock some people. After all, he led America in the war against Hitler. Moreover, FDR’s entire public persona was anchored in his image as a liberal humanitarian, his claim to care about “the forgotten man,” the downtrodden, the mistreated. All of which compounds the tragic irony of his woefully inadequate response to the Holocaust.
Two out of three governments agree that dealing with terrorism is all about having the right attitude. That, “Yes, we’ve been bombed, but we’re ready to pick ourselves up and get on with our lives without drawing any conclusions from what happened,” attitude that politicians patriotically advocate as soon as the carnage is over.
“Americans refuse to be terrorized. Ultimately, that’s what we’ll remember from this week,” Obama said in his radio address.
But of course Americans were terrorized. Obama’s message is that in response to the terrorism, Bostonians won’t spend the rest of their lives locked in their homes, at least not until the next time there’s a terrorist on the loose. But then again neither are Rwandans or Sudanese. This isn’t so much an inspirational message as a pat on the back from a government that once again failed in its duty to keep Americans from being terrorized.
If America had refused to be terrorized, the Tsarnaevs would not have been admitted to this country or would have been shown the door once they started adding terrorist videos to their playlist. Instead Tamerlan Tsarnaev was free to slap around his girlfriend while his brother Dzhokhar was adding classic hits to his YouTube playlist like “We Will Dedicate Our Lives to the Jihad.”
That ditty, from the hit-master behind “Hey, Shahid,” “The Holy Jihad (Rise Muslim)” and “Insallah, We are Waiting for Paradise” contains lyrics like “Paradise’s rivers softly chime/The 72 virgins lovingly whisper” and “Infidels rule the earth/for the faithful life is torture.”
But while infidels might still rule the United States, though there are serious questions to be raised about who is ruling Michigan or New Jersey, life was hardly torture for the Tsarnaevs who drove luxury cars, attended good schools and got good media coverage. The good media coverage continued even after their bout of mass murder as the New York Times feature story on them was headlined, “Far From War-Torn Homeland, Trying to Fit In.” And who can blame them for trying to fit in by practicing some of their native customs of mass murder.
At some point refusing to be terrorized looks a lot like refusing to pay attention to what terrorism is. After September 11 the government encouraged everyone to get back out there and shop. The message now is take in an interfaith service and then visit your local mosque for a sanitized tour that explains how peaceful Islam really is. There’s a lot of talk about finishing the marathon and MoveOn.orging on our way past the unpleasantness.
But there are two standards on being terrorized: When a mentally ill man shoots up a school, then everyone is obligated to be terrorized all the time. Children can be seized for chewing a pop tart the wrong way and the leading leaders tow around selected parents of victims to demand that the pesky Bill of Rights take a back seat to a special moral superiority vote from a former Democratic member of congress whose great achievement in life was getting shot in the head by another mental patient.
The next Adam Lanza is just around the corner. But the next Tamerlan Tsarnaev isn’t worth bothering with. Gun control is an urgent issue, but mass immigration from terrorist countries isn’t.
Talk of refusing to be terrorized smacks of governments handing out coping mechanisms for preventable acts of terror. And once we start going down that road, it’s worth remembering that the timeless coping mechanism for that sort of thing is Stockholm Syndrome. Indeed the old Stockholm cure is popular in the media which is already beginning to disgorge explanations of alienation that will show that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev didn’t kill on their own, we made them killers by not showing them enough love.
It’s not the role of governments to tell people how to get over a terrorist attack. Nor is it the role of government to violate the Bill of Rights using the act of a lone madman as a pretext. But it is the role of government to stop an international campaign of terror by a fanatical ideology from reaching these shores using the blunt tool of immigration.
Refusing to be terrorized is as simple as refusing to accept more immigrants from Muslim countries. It’s not the least repressive measure ever, but it beats interfering with the civil rights of hundreds of millions of Americans who are not members of terrorist groups.
Obama’s Priorities: Immigration, the Economy, Energy, Taxes; Hagel Still Front Runner for Defense (Video)Sunday, December 30th, 2012
Because we’re the Jewish Press, we’ll start with the Chuck Hagel nomination for Secretary of Defense, and move down from there. Speaking with David Gregory on Sunday’s Meet the Press, President Barack Obama voiced strong support for the former Republican Senator from Nebraska. The president insisted, however, that he was yet to make the final decision on the nomination.
In preparation for the nomination dance, Hagel released a statement Friday apologizing for comments he made in 1998 about a gay ambassadorial nominee. Hagel had come under fire in recent days for calling James Hormel, President Clinton’s nominee for ambassador to Luxembourg, “openly, aggressively gay.”
Hagel’s statement was published by the Washington Post: “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”
Emphasis on “military.”
Last week, Miami Beach’s Jewish elderly population’s favorite presidential candidate Pat Buchanan endorsed Hagel’s nomination.
Among Hagel’s many qualifications, Buchanan wrote, are his views on Iran, and if the president himself decides against going to war, he’ll have to make the case regardless of whether he nominates Hagel: “If Obama does not want that war, he is going to have to defeat the war party. Throwing an old warrior like Chuck Hagel over the side to appease these wolves is not the way to begin this fight. Nominate him, Mr. President. Let’s get it on.”
Buchanan admitted that Hagel had a few Jewish skeletons in his closet. Like when he told author Aaron David Miller that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up” on the Hill. Or when he urged the U.S. to talk to Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. Or when Hagel said, a few years back, that “a military strike against Iran … is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.”
Both Buchanan and Hagel have been accused of anti-Semitism, Hagel for saying the Jewish lobby wields too much influence on Capitol Hill and Buchanan for—oh, take your pick…
He’s how the president approached the subject of Hagel nomination on Meet the Press, courtesy of policymic.com:
GREGORY: “Former Senator Chuck Hagel has come under criticism for some comments he’s made including about a former ambassador nominee during the Clinton years that being gay was an inhibiting factor to being gay to do an effective job. Is there anything about Chuck Hagel’s record or statements that’s disqualifying to you, should you nominate him to run the Defense Department?” …
OBAMA: “Not that I see. I’ve served with Chuck Hagel. I know him. He is a patriot. He is somebody who has done extraordinary work both in the United States Senate. Somebody who served this country with valor in Vietnam. And is somebody who’s currently serving on my intelligence advisory board and doing an outstanding job.
“So I haven’t made a decision on this. With respect to the particular comment that you quoted, he apologized for it. And I think it’s a testimony to what has been a positive change over the last decade in terms of people’s attitudes about gays and lesbians serving our country. And that’s something that I’m very proud to have led.”
* * * And now, because there are other things of concern happening in the world other than the question of whether a non-ally of Israel replaces Leon Panetta, here are some quotes from today’s interview:
GREGORY: “If you go over the cliff, what’s the impact in the markets?”
OBAMA: “Obviously, I think business and investors are going to feel more negative about the economy next year. If you look at projections of 2013, people generally felt that the economy would continue to grow, unemployment would continue to tick down, housing would continue to improve. But what’s been holding us back is the dysfunction here in Washington. And if people start seeing that on January 1st this problem still hasn’t been solved, that we haven’t seen the kind of deficit reduction that we could have had had the Republicans been willing to take the deal that I gave them, if they say that people’s taxes have gone up, which means consumer spending is going to be depressed, then obviously that’s going to have an adverse reaction in the markets.”
* * * GREGORY: “How accountable are you for the fact that Washington can’t get anything done and that we are at this deadline again? … You’ve had a tough go with Congress.”