Jewish activists urge aid to refugees: Is it good for the Jews?

Because of the executive order by President Trump (what a great feeling to write that!) closing down the refugee industry from seven predominantly Muslim countries, there is an entirely expected outcry from the usual suspects. Quite often the argument reverts to events in the 1930s in which Jewish refugees were prevented from entering the U.S. This article, originally posted in September, 2015, provides some context on those events. The fact that he signed the EO on Holocaust Remembrance Day was particularly galling.

Make no mistake. Pres. Trump is embarking on a revolutionary path here. By banning several (but not all) predominantly Muslim countries, the order avoids the accusation that it is discriminating against a religion. But that will count for exactly zero in how this is perceived by the media and the left generally. In fact, this is about Muslim immigration and that is enough to send the establishment into absolute hysteria.  The idea of any limitation on immigration to the West by a particular racial/ethnic or religious group is completely at odds with the ideology of multiculturalism and diversity, the “we’re all the same” mantra, and the ideology that Western countries are “proposition nations” committed only to abstract ideas like “freedom” and “democracy,” with no ethnic or religious content. This ideology has been promoted by Jewish intellectual movements at least since World War II—a theme of The Culture of Critique. It has been internalized across the elite spectrum—by Republicans and Democrats, Jews and non-Jews alike — so much so that political figures like Chuck Schumer can confidently assert that the executive order goes against the entire grain of American history: “a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon.”

Either Sen. Schumer failed American History 101 or he is lying through his teeth, probably the latter. The idea that “American values” include importing tens of millions of people from different cultures, many with values hostile to America and the West, is a post-1965 creation of the media intent on redefining what it is to be American, nothing more. Until then, U.S. immigration law clearly and unapologetically favored the traditional European majority. Like every non-European country, we were intent on preserving our people and culture.

From the Left’s point of view, this is the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon. I think that a lot of the anger and frustration following Trump’s victory was that the endgame was in sight. Another presidency, either by Hillary or by one of the many Republican cuckservatives who ran against Trump, would have pretty much sealed the deal. The much hoped-for Hillary landslide would have ensured the passage of “Gang of Eight”-type immigration legislation, amnesty for illegals, and endless “refugees.” And a Republican Jeb Bush-type presidency would likely have overcome GOP resistance to the same. The demographic transformation would have been solidified yet further.

It’s very late in the day for a complete turnaround. But Trump’s first week has exceeded expectations. And he is unlikely to be dissuaded by the moral chorus from the media condemning his actions. He’s already well aware that the media is the “opposition party,” as Steve Bannon phrased it.

To be sure, there is much unfinished business, beginning with ending birthright citizenship (probably best put off until after another Supreme Court appointment or two), ending DACA. And the Holy Grail: Repealing the 1965 immigration act.

There can be little doubt that the Jewish community favors very generous policies toward refugees. One reason for this is that Jews tend to see the situation in terms of the Jewish experience as refugees during World War II rather than from the point of view of the present interests of the US and its people. That non-Jewish countries should be open to refugees is widely, if not universally, seen as a basic Jewish interest. Deep in the Jewish psyche is the memory of the voyage of the St. Louis in May, 1939 in which Jewish refugees from Europe were not admitted to Cuba and the U.S. did nothing because of pervasive anti-immigration attitudes at the time.

Indeed, there is no question that Jews were under intense pressure during the 1930s that went well beyond the U.S. In 1936 Chaim Weizmann observed that “the world seems to be divided into two parts—those places where the Jew cannot live, and those where they cannot enter” [1]. Anti-Semitism was pervasive. Jewish pressure groups acknowledged the role of anti-Semitism in motivating the rejection of Jews by, for example, couching pro-refugee advertising in universalist terms and not mentioning that the refugees would be Jews.

With that brief historical background, it comes as no surprise that European Jewish organizations are advocating generous policies toward refugees (JTA: “European Jews, mindful of risks, urge aid to refugees“).  Their perceptions are framed by their experiences in the 1930s. As always, the policies advocated for European countries are couched in terms of Jewish attitudes and interests, not the legitimate interests of Europeans to retain their cultures and demographic status:

When he looks into the tired eyes of the Syrian refugees now flooding Europe’s borders, Guy Sorman is reminded of his father, Nathan, who fled Germany for France just months before Adolf Hitler came to power.

“He wanted to go to the United States. Visa declined. He tried Spain, same result. He ended up in France, neither welcome nor deported,” Sorman wrote last week in an Op-Ed in Le Monde in which he argued that Europe should learn from its abandonment of the Jews during the Holocaust and accommodate the stream of migrants pouring through its borders from the war-torn Middle East.

Sorman’s view is not uncommon among European Jews, many of them living in societies still grappling with a sense of collective guilt for their indifference to the Nazi genocide — or complicity in it. At a Holocaust memorial event in Paris on Sunday, French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia urged Europe’s leaders to match the actions of non-Jews who saved Jews from the Nazis by welcoming Syrian refugees.

So once again, the experience of Jews prior to and during World War II is being used as a touchstone for how Europeans should act now. The actions of Europeans should be motivated by guilt over what happened ~80 years ago, and that guilt should trump any concern with the effects of immigration on social cohesion, unemployment, crime, and welfare costs — not to mention the ethnic genetic interests of Europeans.

There is a complete lack of contextualization here. The claim is that Europe has a special obligation to refugees because of past restrictions on immigrants and refugees. But besides the very real anti-Jewish attitudes during the period, the crisis occurred during the Great Depression, a time of very high unemployment throughout the West. The article from the USHMM on the St. Louis affair cited above notes that during this period 83% of the U.S. public opposed immigration, and that unemployment in the U.S. was an issue. Admitting Jews was politically non-viable for President Roosevelt.

But besides unemployment, there were negative attitudes specifically about Jewish immigration motivated by the fact that Jews were widely and correctly perceived to be much more likely to be politically radical as well. Far left radicalism was entirely mainstream in the Jewish community during this period and  was a major factor in motivating the immigration restriction law of 1924. Indeed, Jewish organizations went to great lengths to alter the public stereotype of Jewish subversion and disloyalty, particularly as evidenced by membership in the Communist Party USA and other far left organizations. In the 1920s, the fact that Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe were viewed as “infected with Bolshevism . . . unpatriotic, alien, unassimilable,” contributed to restrictive immigration legislation.[2] Jewish publications warned that the leftism of Jewish immigrants would lead to anti-Semitism. The official Jewish community engaged in “a near-desperation . . . effort to portray the Jew as one hundred per cent American” by organizing highly visible patriotic pageants on national holidays and urging the immigrants to learn English.[3]

In other words, Americans viewed Jewish immigration from the standpoint of their legitimate economic and social interests. There is a sort of reverse analogy going on today, as immigration policy throughout the West has not been geared to the economic benefit of receiving countries — importing millions of uneducated, low IQ people as legal and illegal immigrants who are prone to high levels of welfare use. (Jewish attitudes on immigration at least since the 1950s have rejected economic benefit as a criterion for immigration; see here, pp. 277–278.) It has also included groups that, like radical Jews during the 1920s and 1930s, remain unassimilable and hostile to the people and culture of the receiving countries. The latter is particularly the case with the current Muslim onslaught in Europe.

Contemporary Jewish attitudes also ignore the role of Jewish organizations and the Israel Lobby in fomenting the destabilizing wars in the Middle East that have led to a very real humanitarian crisis throughout the region — a crisis that is certainly not reasonably or fairly solved by giving permanent citizenship in Europe to the displaced millions, with many millions more to come given the chronic instability not only of the Middle East but also Africa — not to mention the simple fact that European countries, particularly many northern European countries (but not Denmark) have generous welfare policies, which provide for a higher standard of living than available for most people in Third World countries.

And finally, there is no mention of the policy of Israel which has been to build a wall with Syria and deport migrants while claiming that, as a small country, there is no room for refugees. In fact, Israel has admitted hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees and immigrants over the years, including 29,500 immigrants in the past year alone. Surely these very empathic Jewish activists should pressure Israel to do the same. Helping refugees is not a “Jewish value” independent of time and place, but very specifically tailored to meet Jewish interests in particular contexts.

From the perspective of Jewish organizations and most Jews, Israel, but not Europe, is absolved from pathologically altruistic behavior toward refugees — pathological in the very real sense that this behavior compromises their legitimate long-term interests. For Europe to insist on any sense of ethnic or cultural integrity is seen as the epitome of evil, a shirking of moral obligations to “humanity,” and tantamount to endorsing the Holocaust, a message that constantly rains down from the elite media throughout the West. But retaining the ethnic and cultural integrity of Israel as a Jewish state is the first and foremost priority of Israel’s leaders and diaspora Jews as well.

The JTA article portrays Jewish concern for refugees as especially selfless because Jews are aware that many of these migrants have anti-Jewish attitudes.

“As Eastern European Jews, we carry the knowledge of how it feels like to flee our homes,” said Zoltan Radnoti, the newly elected chairman of the rabbinical board of the Mazsihisz umbrella group of Hungarian Jewish communities. “Still, I help the refugees with fear that I am helping send danger to other Jews in Europe. I know some of the refugees may have fired on our [Israeli] soldiers. Others would have done so in a heartbeat. I know. But I am duty bound to help.”

Another interviewee is

aware that statistically, Middle Eastern immigrants are responsible for most of the violence driving French Jews to leave in record numbers — nearly 7,000 in 2014 alone. But “when you look into their eyes, the refugee issue stops being a demographic issue,” she said.

But is admitting these people as European citizens really opposed to Jewish interests? As often stated here, Jews in the diaspora tend to see their interests in terms of their perception of European history, and first and foremost is the perception that racially conscious, racially homogeneous Germany turned against Jews during the National Socialist period. Lack of racial/ethnic homogeneity in diaspora countries is therefore seen as making Jews safer in the long run (see, e.g., here, p. 246), and Jewish intellectual movements have successfully portrayed ethnocentrism among Europeans as a pathology.

The fact is that Jewish organizations in the West have been aware for some time that many non-White immigrants have anti-Jewish attitudes or are at least likely to be far less sympathetic to Jewish issues, such as Israel and the Holocaust (see “The ADL: Managing White rage“). But these organizations have universally continued to advocate for high levels of immigration and altruistic refugee policies while simultaneously advocating intensification of police-state type controls on thought and behavior to ensure Jewish security (see Andrew Joyce’s “On the return of the protected Jewish minority in Europe“). Having your cake and eating it too.

In short, the mainstream view among Jews is that the transformation of Europe is manageable for Jews. And if some non-elite Jews, like the 7,000 who left France for Israel in 2014 noted above, are motivated to emigrate to Israel because of street-level hostility toward Jews by Muslims, this will not impact Jewish elites in Europe who are not at all likely to leave and will continue to be a critical force in favor of the dissolution of traditional European cultures and the displacement of European peoples. Jewish power and influence in the West has never rested on numbers.

Moreover, the most important components of Jewish intellectual and political activism in the West beginning early in the twentieth century have been opposition to nationalism and populism and displacing previous elites in European and European-derived countries like the U.S. Admitting non-European immigrants to Europe is thus part of that overarching Jewish strategy.

The strategy is working very well and will not be abandoned by our hostile elites unless Europeans stand up and demand change in the face of elite opinion.

  1. Abella, I., & H. E. Troper (1981). “The line must be drawn somewhere”: Canada and Jewish refugees, 1933–1939. In The Canadian Jewish Mosaic, ed. M. Weinfeld, W. Shaffir, & I. Cotler. Toronto: Wiley, 51.
  2. Neuringer, S. M. (1971). American Jewry and United States Immigration Policy, 1881–1953. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms; reprinted by Arno Press (New York), 1980, 165.
  3. Ibid., 167.
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