April 7, 2006

More on Jews and immigration

A reader writes:

I wanted to see how diverse Jewish opinion is on the issue of immigration. The General Social Survey asked respondents if immigration improves America. Fifty-two percent of Protestants said yes. The numbers for Catholics and those with no religion were both around 61%. For Jews, it was 90%.

A reader who has a degree from an Israeli university writes:

Re Europe/Arab immigration: It's important to note that the Jewish community in France (and other Western European countries) were opposed for many years to the efforts by right-wing political parties to restrict immigration from the Middle East. Ironically, these Muslim immigrants (and their kids) are responsible for almost all the anti-Jewish incidents in Western Europe.

Similarly, I've always thought that there was something very hypocritical about American-Jewish attitudes on the issue of immigration to Israel which is very restrictive (just recently the Knesset passed a law that doesn't allow Palestinians from the West Bank who married Israeli-Arabs to move to Israel) while celebrating free immigration to America (in general).

Even more intriguing is the way heads of American-Jewish organization collaborated with the Israeli governments in the past to restrict the immigration of JEWS from the old Soviet Union to the U.S. As Sheldon Richman recalls in a pro-immigration study published by Cato called "Let the Soviet Jews Come to America:"

"Until 1989 Soviet Jews, who could leave the Soviet Union only if they had Israeli visas, were free to head for the United States after stopping over in Vienna. They did so under an American refugee program designed to help victims of repression who had no other place to go. Israel hoped to stanch the flow of immigrants elsewhere by providing direct flights from Moscow to Tel Aviv or by having immigrants stop in Bucharest, where they could be better controlled. To limit the Jews' options, Israel persuaded the United States to cap the number of Soviet refugees. The Soviet quota was set at 50,000, about 90 percent of whom have been Jewish. Germany also virtually ended Jewish immigration after being pressured to do so by Israel in early 1991. Before then more than 100 Soviet Jews were registering each day for entry into Germany."

(With the collapse of the Soviet Union all of that became irrelevant).

Similarly, the Israeli government has pressed American-Jewish organization to refrain from creating any outreach programs to help absorb (legal) immigrants from Israel to the United States so as not to "encourage" emigration from Israel (no exact figures are available but probably around 500,000 Israeli immigrants live in the U.S.).

I admire how Israel does what's in its own interest. I wish America would follow Israel's example.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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